Dior Cruise 2020 Fashion Diary

Dior Cruise 2020 Fashion Diary

V Magazine and VMAN's Contributing Fashion Director, Gro Curtis, chronicles the Dior Cruise 2020 show in Marrakech, Morroco.

V Magazine and VMAN's Contributing Fashion Director, Gro Curtis, chronicles the Dior Cruise 2020 show in Marrakech, Morroco.

Text: Gro Curtis

On Monday night in Marrakesh, close to 800 guests gathered at the El Badi Palace to experience the Dior Cruise 2020 Collection show. Relive the moments of cultural appreciation through detailed craftsmanship of local artisans to private views of the famed Villa Oasis.

Landing in Marrakesh

Just like the devil, luxury is in the details. No one can exercise this idiom better than LVMH, or in this particular case, the legendary Maison Dior. As soon as we landed in Marrakesh for Cruise 2020 festivities, we were greeted by the army of Dior handlers. They escorted us discretely but firmly through each step of the way. From passport control to baggage claim, and they even walked us through customs. In the matter of fifteen minutes from landing, I was already sitting in my carefully cooled Mercedes with a driver in a perfectly cut suit. I can only dream about this scenario at JFK. In the era of megalomania ruled by social media in fashion where everyone is “something”, Dior knows a thing or two about what true luxury represents. The essence of luxury is not the most expensive hotel suite or bottle of Château Pétrus. Good, old luxury is what you experience, such as this seamless airport arrival courtesy of Dior.

Invitations and Dior blanket

Call me old-fashioned, but I’m all about proper protocol and details, such as carefully designed hard copy invites that were waiting for us in our rooms surrounded with beautiful flowers and the must-have item of Cruise season: Dior blankets. What’s the story with Dior blankets? Back in 2017, when Dior was showing in Calabasas, more precisely in the Santa Monica mountains, each seat had a dedicated blanket to protect guests from chilly desert evening. But even before show started, everyone was eyeing how to get more blankets. When the show ended, it was like Manolo Blahnik sample sale in 90’s where you could see all the posh Upper East Side mums going crazy and fighting for two left pairs of different shoes. To prevent “blanket wars”, Dior is now providing them as a welcome gift.

Selman Hotel

The most iconic Marrakesh hotels such as Selman, La Mamounia and Royal Mansour were occupied by celebrities and fashionistas from all around the world. I was lucky enough to stay in majestic Selman. Security in these hotels was striking. Before entering the complex, every car was strictly checked by professionals. Not to mention door detectors when you reach the entrance.

Welcome dinner performance

Welcome dinner was organized in stunning Palais Bahia. The name itself means “brilliance” and we are talking about 2-acre of stunning gardens with rooms opening onto courtyards. Around almost every corner, we were greeted with new group of traditional artists performing songs and dances showcasing the powerful history of Morocco. In several of rooms Dior exhibited designs from the archive inspired by Morocco, primarily with the signature of Yves Saint Laurent.

Welcome dinner set design

Set design organized by Dior’s internal events team was breathtaking. Even fashionistas of old school caliber who don’t want to be caught dead on Instagram were clutching their phones.

Welcome dinner Sumano plates

Goodbye “blanket wars” and hello “tableware battles”! For this Marrakesh adventure, everything was carefully planned by creative director Maria Grazia Chiuri and her team. For pottery and fabrics Dior collaborated with Sumano, an association that aims to revive the traditional women’s craft of Moroccan tribes. For the welcome dinner, Sumano created painted ceramic plates and cushions. The brief our beloved PR’s received was simple: “please tell your guests not to steal the plates on the first night”. That basically meant we can take them, but not during the welcome dinner because we had more activities following day. But this is the thing: when you tell fashion people not to do something, rest assured we will do the opposite. As many of us didn’t have bags we had to find creative ways to “borrow” the plates. I was fairly modest with borrowing a small one but some of my brave colleagues ended up with the whole set of three plates underneath dinner jackets or even dresses. The only thing we love more then free stuff is forbidden free stuff.

Villa Oasis gardens
Villa Oasis

Connection between Yves Saint Laurent’s Marrakech and Dior is so strong and important that they decided to give us unprecedented treat: private visit to Villa Oasis otherwise forbidden zone. Inside the private home of Yves Saint Laurent and Pierre Berge time has stopped. It’s the most beautiful and poetic interior design I ever saw. Writing desks are still full of details such as framed photos, original pens and CD’s that Yves and Pierre were enjoying. Not a single item has been moved since the death of Pierre Berge. We were allowed to take photos of the exquisite gardens but any interior photos were strictly forbidden. It went to such an extreme that one guest who was caught taking photos had to delete them on his phone in front of the security personal. After otherworldly experience at Villa Oasis we were escorted to public part of the estate Jardin Majorelle. From heavenly serenity we jumped into touristic mania with children screaming while their parents were running in plastic flip-flops. As one prominent fashion figure said out loud while we were fighting our way out: “this is like going from first class to cargo”. Vogue’s Mark Holgate and I commented the difference in gold fish at Villa Oasis and Garden Majorelle. While at Villa Oasis they are cute and tiny ones; at Majorelle, they are the size of salmons. Perfect example of what mass tourism does.

Lunch at Villa Addi
Lunch at Villa Addi

Lunch was served at breathtaking Villa Addi Ou Addi under the ruthless Moroccan sun. Highlights of the menu were octopus and citrus carpaccio and grilled spiny lobster. Dior went extra mile with providing us with locally handmade hats and fans just in case if we were not well equipped. Must have at the American press table? Urgent dose of caffein via Coca-Cola. But served in crystal goblets, bien sûr.

Venue at Palais Badi getting ready
Venue at Palais Badi
My seat
Performance during the show at Palais Badi

Show venue was at Palais Bahia, a ruined palace commissioned in 1578. With elements of fire and water in set design by Betak, African dusk and traditional music in the background, this was surreal experience for all of us. Every single detail from rugs to pillows were custom handmade specifically for this event by numerous African artists.

After party scene

After we all saw Diana Ross attending the show, we knew that after party was going to become legendary. Crowd was patiently waiting while enjoying in countless trays of champagne and moroccan dishes.

Diana Ross performing

The queen has arrived! Ms. Ross gave us a proper little “best of” concert. It started, of course, with “I’m Coming Out” while the climax happened during her performance of “I Will Survive”. If there was a roof, it would be on fire. But who almost outshined disco diva? Believe it or not, it was Jessica Alba’s make-up artist Daniel Martin who showed some outstanding dance moves onstage. Even Ms. Ross was impressed. Runner up was British Vogue’s Edward Enninful, who also joined at one point. It was the perfect ending of perfect Marrakesh adventure.

P.S. Pillows started to disappear at one point and I swear I saw a lady on her knees in Dior couture gown trying to grab one of the rugs around midnight.

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