Set in the groundbreaking landscape of Mumbai, Dior redefined savoir-faire in its Fall 2023 presentations. A fantasy partnership between both artistic director Maria Grazia Chiuri, and long-time collaborator Karishma Swali, intricacies of the collection reflected intercontinental artisanship of extreme precision and craft. A display of the fashion house’s Pre-Fall ready to wear collection, the collaboration recalled India’s influence on former artistic director Marc Bohan’s vision, upon his visit in 1962. Where the archive presentations of Dior then were historic in sizing up the brand for a younger, more dynamic approach to fashion and ready-to-wear, the Fall 2023 showcase looked to the past for curated techniques and a history lesson on artisanship.
Enter the Swali-led Chanakya School and Ateliers—a local home ground of exchange, study, and emancipation for many, and a laboratory to echo India’s way of technical savoir-faire. In other words, posse of fashion-freed virtuosos, trained for Dior-level exactness, took the brief and made it their own.
Most impressively was the Toran, a 12-foot-high feat of embroidery, traditionally used in Hindu cultures to welcome guests into homes. Standing before the Gateway of India, the piece took 300 master-artisans from the Chanakya workshop and the Chanakya School of Craft, and 35,000 hours of handwork.
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The collection itself borrowed from cultural conventions, as Chiuri selected colour palettes and materials that crystallised key influences from the South Asian subcontinent. Adapting silhouettes from the traditional Indian dress, saris and Indian cuts inspired straight skirts and evening coats. Invention and technique, again, were the highlight of the seasonal showcase, local models strutted down the floral-lined runway in embellished ready-to-wear couture.
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For a full recap of the Dior Pre-Fall 2023 show, catch the Mumbai presentation below.
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