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June 21, 2024

Dior’s monumental showcase at Mumbai’s Gateway of India

Schenelle Dsouza 
Dior’s pre-fall collection show at the Gateway of India is a moment that will go down in history. A moment of greatness for both the global fashion industry and Indian culture, the showcase was a knitting of a love story between continents and cultures that began with a longstanding friendship between Karishma Swali – Artistic Director of Chanakya, and Maria Grazia Chiuri – Creative Director of Women’s Collection, Dior.
Maria Grazia Chiuri and Karishma Swali
Photo Courtesy: Dior / Instagram
Dior and Chanakya 
Having been friends for more than 30 years, Swali and Chiuri’s friendship stemmed from their shared taste for excellence, craft and fashion, which paved the way for the two-decade-long association between Dior and Chanakya International. The opening of the Chanakya School of Craft in India in 2016 was a crucial moment that further strengthened the relationship between Chanakya International and Dior. Maria Grazia Chiuri credits the Chanakya School of Craft for its level of haute couture savoir-faire while stressing the importance of celebrating a craft when it is discovered.
Maria Grazia Chiuri – Creative Director of Women’s Collection, Dior
“The Chanakya School of Craft has the best level of haute couture savoir-faire. You may find this precision in craft anywhere, in Paris, Italy or in Chanakya, but it is important to celebrate where you find them,” said Maria Grazia Chiuri during a press conference held a day before the grand show.
Heritage setting
Dior x Chanakya
Photo Courtesy: Dior
Celebrating the unique collaboration between Chanakya and Dior, the pre-fall collection show was as glamorous as one can imagine. And the location could not be more perfect! The heritage backdrop of the Gateway of India backed with the regal Taj Mahal Hotel, overlooking the pristine Arabian Sea, the set up for the show was grand.
Dior x Chanakya
Photo Courtesy: Dior
While the wonders of Indian craft were showcased through the ensembles, Dior ensured it moved beyond the outfits and onto the ambience. And so, there was an expansive rangoli made using different coloured flowers tracing large elephant motifs. A cluster of brightly lit diyas lined the rangoli panels. The highlight, however, was the massive backdrop. A 24-metre tall installation of toran, the backdrop was handcrafted by the women artists of the Chanakya and featured a total of 1,008 patches displaying about 300 different forms of craft. The toran is used in India to welcome people for celebrations and otherwise, Swali shared at the press conference, and so the toran at the show was Chiuri’s way of expressing how welcomed she feels in India.
Dior x Chanakya
Photo Courtesy: Dior
A final touch to the setting was the soft, melodious tunes of Indian classical music with hints of contemporary rhythm played live as the models strutted down the runway.
A tribute collection
Dior x Chanakya
Photo Courtesy: Dior
Coming to the main aspect of the show, the collection did not fail to impress! A representation of both, Maria Grazia Chiuri and Karishma Swali’s influences, each piece in the collection highlighted elements that defined both their works, right from the colour palettes chosen and the materials incorporated to the design and silhouette of each outfit.
Dior x Chanakya
Photo Courtesy: Dior
“We tried to explore the various genres of craft that exist across the country,” Karishma Swali said at the press conference held on Wednesday. “We have worked with handweaving and handspun textiles like Madras check and crafts like block print. We also worked with different schools of hand embroidery, and brought a language that is more fragile and contemporary, and also in alignment with the vision of Maria and House of Dior.”
Dior x Chanakya
Photo Courtesy: Dior
The timeless silhouettes were chosen by Maria, ones that she believes remain unchanged through the decades. She then enhanced these with her own creativity. The colour palette chosen incorporated vibrant hues of green, yellow, pink and purple paying homage to Dior’s previous Creative Director Marc Bohan, who visited India back in April 1962. However, the colours are also a wholesome tribute to India, the vibrant landscapes and colourful celebrations. Silk fabrics were used to enhance the timelessness of the design and create a series of sophisticated silhouettes.
Dior x Chanakya
Photo Courtesy: Dior
These included as many as 99 different styles comprising evening coats, sari-inspired straight skirts and traditional Indian cuts as well as pants, boleros, jackets and tops. The pieces showcased traditional glam details such as mirror work, sequins and crafts in gold and silver. The collection also brings back the iconic toile de Jouy pitted against a palate of green to create a camouflage of design inspired by the Indian landscape.
Dior x Chanakya
Photo Courtesy: Dior
A star-studded evening
Sonam Kapoor Ahuja
Photo Courtesy: Dior
As one would expect, the show featured many of the who’s who of Bollywood with a notably large crowd of international celebrities. Actors Sonam Kapoor Ahuja, Karisma Kapoor, Anushka Sharma, Shobhita Dhulipala, Athiya Shetty and Ananya Panday attended dressed up in Dior’s newly unveiled collection, along with Rekha dressed in her signature red-golden Kanjivaram silk sari.
Rekha
Photo Courtesy: Dior
Cara Delevigne
Photo Courtesy: Dior
A host of international celebrities too flew down for this special showcase. This included names like Cara Delevigne, Freida Pinto, Maisie William, Simone Ashley, and Poorna Jagannathan. Other popular faces included Shweta Bachchan, Isha Ambani with to-be sister-in-law Radhika Merchant, Virat Kohli, Masaba Gupta, Ananya Birla, Ujjwala Raut, Anaita Shroff Adajania, among others.
Maise Williams
Photo Courtesy: Dior
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Schenelle Dsouza

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