Stars Turn Up and Diana Ross Takes the Stage at Dior's Cruise Show in Marrakesh

Pascal Le Segretain/Getty Images for Dior (3)

Lupita Nyong'o, Jessica Alba, Shailene Woodley and Karlie Kloss were in the front row at the El Badi Palace presentation.

For the Dior spring-summer 2020 cruise collection, creative director Maria Grazia Chiuri traveled to Marrakesh, Morocco for a presentation of looks inspired by African cultures and created in collaboration with local artisans. The show, held at the 16th century El Bashi Palace, was also a nod to Christian Dior’s first successor Yves Saint Laurent, who hailed from nearby Oran Algeria; a version of his Marrakech coat is included in the line.

Several stars turned up front row, wearing pieces from the fall 2019 Dior collection. Lupita Nyong'o showed up in a black silk wrap-front bodysuit with a sheer floral-print tulle skirt and a black Dior Saddle bag. Jessica Alba donned an ethereal floral-printed tulle bodysuit and matching floor-length skirt, while Karlie Kloss wore a black silk dress with a plunging neckline and Shailene Woodley donned a print cotton voile dress in earth tones from the spring 2019 line.

Wax print fabrics were key to the cruise 2020 collection and Chiuri partnered with textile manufacturer Uniwax, located in Ivory coast, to weave fresh special-edition takes on toile du Jouy and landscape prints evocative of Africa. Ivory Coast-based fashion designer Pathé Ouédraogo (known for creating many of former South African President Nelson Mandela’s colorful shirts) created an exclusive shirt for the collection that features Mandela’s face on the back.

Chiuri also tapped LVMH prize-winning fashion designer Grace Wales Bonner (whose designs are often inspired by African cultures) and African-American artist Mickalene Thomas (whose work examines concepts of femininity, gender, race and diversity) to reinterpret the iconic “New Look” Bar jacket and a skirt. And Dior milliner Stephen Jones created turbans and headpieces for the collection in partnership with Afro-Caribbean designer Martine Henry and Nigerian milliner Daniella Osemadewa.

This season’s slogan T-shirt (a Chiuri signature) bears a quote from Tahar Ben Jelloun’s book Racism Explained to my Daughter: “Culture teaches us to live together, teaches us that we’re not alone in the world, that other people have different traditions and ways of living that are just as valid as our own.”

To set the scene at the palace, Chiuri worked with Sumano (an association with a mission of reviving traditional women’s crafts of Moroccan tribes such as pottery painting, weaving and vegetal dyeing) to create pottery and textiles for the backdrop. And legendary singer Diana Ross, wearing a glittery silver gown with a sweeping shawl to match, surprised guests with a performance at the afterparty.


Singing in Marrakech, Morroco for @Dior

A post shared by Ms Ross (@dianaross) on

The globe-trotting resort presentation is a growing trend. Prada and Louis Vuitton will present their cruise collections in New York in May (the latter at the TWA Flight Center on May 8). Jonathan Simkhai is showing in Australia on May 13; Alberta Ferretti will show in Monaco on May 18; Giorgio Armani is headed to Tokyo on May 24; and Gucci will touch down in Rome on May 28. In June, Max Mara will present in Berlin on June 3 and Chloe will show in Shanghai on June 5.