Every season, Maria Grazia Chiuri, Dior’s creative director, places iconic women, culture, and craftsmanship at the center of her collections. Following this tradition, the Italian designer took the brand’s Pre-Fall 2023 presentation to Mumbai. The unprecedented show celebrated Indian savoir-faire, partnering with long-time collaborators: Chanakya ateliers and Chanakya School of Craft. As it happens every season, the event was a star-studded affair. World-class celebrities such as Rekha, Sonam Kapoor, Yara Shahidi, Simone Ashley, Mile Phakphum, and Nattawin Wattanagitiphat were in attendance.
Celebrating Indian Craftsmanship
Helmed by Maria Grazia Chiuri, Dior has grown to be recognized for its continuous collaborations with artists and artisans from around the globe. Last summer, the French Maison made waves with a Cruise collection in Seville that displayed the craftsmanship and talent of the Andalusian region. Now, Dior celebrates its long-time ties to India, taking the Pre-Fall 2023 collection to The Gateway of India, in Mumbai.
For the show — a first of its kind in the country — Chiuri collaborated with the Chanakya ateliers and the Chanakya School of Craft. Highlighting Indian textile traditions, the collection featured silk fabrics woven with ancient techniques still practiced in the South of India. Handsewn techniques like patchwork and embroidery took center stage in relaxed outfits and evening wear.
Color palettes and materials were chosen to celebrate Chiuri’s common fashion influences with Karishma Swali — Artistic Director of Chanakya — and pay homage to Dior’s history. The color block sequence of bold green, yellow, fuschia, and purple, for example, paid tribute to Dior’s former creative director, Marc Bohan. Meanwhile, some looks were inspired by Indian garment construction and traditional clothing, nodding at the country’s heritage and fashion culture.
Photos courtesy of Dior
Partnering with Chanakya
This is not the first time Dior has collaborated with Chanakya. The French house has often tapped into the ateliers’ know-how to bring Maria Grazia Chiuri’s creations to life. Additionally, Dior’s creative director — a self-proclaimed feminist — has supported Chanakya School of Craft since its foundation in 2017. In a press release, Dior explained that the institution “assists and accompanies Indian women while offering them new autonomy in local communities and promoting priceless processes such as hand embroidery. The students then practice the many techniques required to become master craftswomen.”
Flaunting these valuable skills, the people at the Chanakya ateliers and the Chanakya School of Craft have been responsible for iconic pieces of work, including The Tree of Life that served as a backdrop for the Dior FW22 Haute Couture show.
Star-Studded Front Row
Just like every Dior event, the Pre-Fall 2023 presentation in Mumbai reunited some of the biggest names of fashion and entertainment. Local celebrities like the legendary actress Rekha, Sonam Kapoor, and Anushka Sharma attended the show dressed in looks ranging from richly embroidered saris to brightly colored dresses.
Meanwhile, international stars and Dior ambassadors such as Cara Delevigne, Yara Shahidi, and Camille Cotin opted for embroidered jackets, printed outerwear, and patchwork pieces. Other celebrities like Simone Ashley, Laetitia Casta, and Athiya Shetty sported total-white outfits.
On the other hand, the Thai leading men Mile Phakphum, and Nattawin Wattanagitiphat, stars of the KinnPorsche series, went for contrasting black and white looks, respectively. The actors drew large crowds of Indian fans, causing an uproar upon their arrival at The Gateway of India. Both stars generated great anticipation with their visit to India, with fans and media documenting their trip since their departure from Thailand.
With one of the largest economies in the world, India is a growing force in the fashion industry. As both a textile provider for the biggest fashion houses and as a spending force, the country is a key region for business. With a budding fashion scene, incomparable craftsmanship, and a rich heritage, it only makes sense that the world of fashion is turning its attention to the South Asian powerhouse.
Dior’s Pre-Fall 2023 collection celebrates the cultural wealth of the country but also serves as an opportunity to take Indian savoir-faire to the global stage and spotlight the work of local artisans. “Perpetuating the pioneering vision that preserves and promotes these virtuoso skills, the House is firmly devoted to paying homage to the wonders of India’s heritage, both architectural and artistic.” the brand shared.
As eyes turn to the Asian continent for its exciting fashion scene, revisit the best moments of Rakuten Fashion Week TOKYO here.