Finding a new ingenious way of talking about feelings and emotions that can connect us with a country and its cultureis precisely what Maria Grazia Chiuri wished to accomplish in this Dior Fall 2023 collection, with a view to explainingthe collaboration, work relations and friendship linking her for many years to India and Karishma Swali, who directs theChanakya ateliers and the Chanakya School of Craft, in Mumbai. A place of exchange, study, and emancipation formany women, a laboratory to explore different types of savoir-faire that the Creative Director of Dior women’s lines haslong celebrated, highlighting thus the visionary spirit of the founding-couturier.
The archives reveal Dior models created by Marc Bohan, the then Artistic Director, who traveled to India in April 1962,notably to Mumbai and Delhi, initiating conversation between France and India. For Marc Bohan, these presentationswere significant events, heralding a new departure under his artistic direction: younger customers, and a more dynamic,contemporary approach to fashion and ready-to-wear.
Maria Grazia Chiuri has chosen color palettes and materials that crystalize key influences shared with Karishma Swaliof Chanakya. The Creative Director of Dior women’s collections works on timeless clothing forms that have stayed intactthrough time, allowing her to (re)design her favorite models. A color block sequence dedicated to silks – in shades ofgreen, yellow, pink and purple –, in homage to Marc Bohan, is embodied by sophisticated evening coats, sari-inspiredstraight skirts and traditional Indian cuts, as well as pants, boleros, jackets and tops: a veritable sartorial genealogydefined by different heritages and fashion cultures.
The embroidery – both protagonist and search engine, opens up all the possibilities of this craft – and becomes a toolfor appraising, through the relationship between Dior and the Chanakya ateliers and the Chanakya School of Craft, themultiple landscapes of India: this cartography mixes and spotlights the various techniques which, via the School’s workprocesses, become the realm of a woman’s legacy and an instrument at once of inventiveness and empowerment.
Geometric shapes frame in gold the silver sequins and strass; bewitching decorative motifs come forth in this kaleidoscopeof colors on the silk of pajamas, blouses and dresses. The revisited toile de Jouy stands out in a vaporous palette of green,much like a camouflage magnified by elements of Indian landscapes populated by talismanic animals dear to this pluralcivilization.
The collection, presented in Mumbai*, is the expression of a shared territory thanks to this project, which fully celebratesthe collaboration between Dior and Chanakya. This creative dialogue perpetuates precious illustrations of exceptionalsavoir-faire, confirming the unfailing bond between France and India.
*With the support ofDirectorate of Tourism – Government of Maharashtra and to the Indian Authorities in Mumbai
SCENOGRAPHY Photographer : Gupta Niveditaa
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