DIOR CRUISE 2020
Grace Wales Bonner and Mickalene Thomas reinterpret the iconic New Look silhouette for Dior’s Cruise 2020 collection
Last week’s Dior Cruise 2020 show presented in Marrakesh, paid homage to the the richness and heritage of African cultures. Inspired by the landscape of Morocco, at the crossroads of the Mediterranean, Europe and Africa, Maria Grazia Chiuri imagined this collection as a “common ground” which brings together the traditions, sentiments, savoir-faire and collective heritage of Dior and Africa in a multilingual artistic dialogue. Chiuri’s vision came to life through the creative exchange with African artisans and collaborations with creative voices from the diaspora. Chiuri invited Grace Wales Bonner and Mickalene Thomas to reinterpret, through their combined creative vision, Christian Dior’s emblematic New Look silhouette.
African-American contemporary artist Mickalene Thomas’ work focuses on representations of feminity and beauty through the black female gaze. And last year she already reinterpreted the iconic Lady Dior bag. While Grace Wales Bonner is the British-Jamaican designer, whose eponoymous label Wales Bonner blurs the boundaries between ethnicity, gender and the representation of masculinity and identity. Both women are esteemed for addressing issues of race, identity and gender in their work. Through this collaboration they added a different point of view to the iconic silhouette of Dior’s Bar jacket.
The New Look silhouette – composed of a Bar jacket, a skirt and a hat – was first designed by Christian Dior in 1947. For her reinterpretation, Thomas added a fun twist to the sophisticated silhouette, using colourful patches and embroideries. She creates a look that is both art and fashion, drawing inspiration from French impressionists like Monet to create beautiful, abstract landscapes on the pieces.
Chanelling the hybridity that she is so well known for, Wales Bonner created a new form of luxury, by mingling European notions of luxury with Caribbean and African inspirations. She reintrepretted the New Look pieces using crochets and embroidery techniques, reminiscent of Afro-Caribbean craft traditions.
Words SARAH OSEI