Creative Director Maria Grazia Chiuri greets the crowd after the Christian Dior’s Fall 2023 collection fashion show in Mumbai on March 30, 2023. (Photo by Indranil MUKHERJEE / AFP) (Photo by INDRANIL MUKHERJEE/AFP via Getty Images)
Luxury fashion brand Dior recently hosted a spectacular fashion show in Mumbai, that saw the iconic Gateway of India transformed into a runway. The show, held on March 30 evening, was a celebration of Indian art and culture, with the ramp lined with traditional floral designs inspired by Indian craftsmanship.
During the show, pink was prominently featured in various forms, from intricately embellished tees paired with plain full skirts to casual co-ords in easy-breezy tie-dye or intricate toile du Jouy. This echoes the famous quote from Diana Vreeland, the former editor of Vogue, who once said, “pink is the navy blue of India,” The Sunday Times informed.
The front row was graced by British Asian stars Simone Ashley and Charithra Chandran from Bridgerton, as well as Bollywood superstars Anushka Sharma and Sonam Kapoor.
The creative director of Dior, Maria Grazia Chiuri, showcased her latest collection in the heart of Mumbai, blending traditional Indian textiles and craftsmanship with Dior’s signature style.
The location, Gateway of India comprises of a grand arch that overlooks the Arabian Sea. Its terraces were adorned with thousands of marigolds and roses, creating a tapestry that resembled a colossal magic carpet. The French house delivered an imaginative display that matched the setting perfectly.
Chiuri has collaborated with the Chanakya atelier in the city since 1992. The atelier offers an impressive range of 300 textile-related specialisations, from lacemaking to block printing and a variety of embroidery techniques.
Chiuri expressed before the show that this collection was her “love letter to India”.
The collection seamlessly blended intricate craftsmanship with a laid-back aesthetic, drawing inspiration from two of India’s most recognisable sartorial inventions – the sari and pyjamas.
According to the designer, collaboration is essential in the fashion industry, and the dialogue between Paris and India is just one example of many similar conversations taking place around the world.
In the case of Dior, this conversation began decades earlier than one might expect. Pinned on Chiuri’s mood board were photographs of models arriving from France for the first Dior show in Mumbai back in 1962.
A new book reveals that Dior had previously held a fashion show in India, dispelling the popular belief that their recent show in Mumbai was their first.
The show, which featured Parisian models showcasing the luxury giant’s products, took place in 1962 at the lawns of Tata Institute of Fundamental Research (TIFR) in Mumbai as a charity event.
This interesting piece of information is mentioned in the upcoming book “Homi J Bhabha: A Life,” written by Bakhtiar K Dadabhoy.
This fashion event served as a reminder that Dior has always been a brand with global appeal. However, in recent years, the luxury fashion house has taken things to a new level.
Along with other luxury heavyweights like Chanel, Dior now supplements its regular show schedule in Europe by presenting additional annual collections in more far-flung destinations. These shows are designed to appeal to an increasingly diverse global consumer base.
Bain & Co predicts that India’s luxury market will reach $200 billion by 2030, 3.5 times its current size. Given this projection, it was only a matter of time before Dior made a return to India, and other luxury brands are likely to follow suit.
To Chiuri, India holds much more value than just its potential for commerce. Since her time at Fendi in the 1990s, she has recognised the skill and talent of India’s artisans and has incorporated their work into her collections, even during her tenure at Valentino.
In 2017, shortly after joining Dior, she spearheaded the French fashion house’s funding of Chanakya, which is a school that teaches embroidery, lace-making, appliqué, and block printing to underprivileged youth, particularly women who may otherwise struggle to find work.
Most luxury brands that work with Indian workshops tend to downplay their involvement.
However, in a time when ethics and community outreach are increasingly important, Dior has come to realise that its Mumbai-based school and associated atelier of around 1,000 artisan graduates is not only a source of beautiful appliqués and intricate crochet work but also a priceless asset to its corporate social responsibility efforts.