Maria Grazia Chiuri satisfies her life–long dream: to walk the runway in India. For the Fall 2023 fashion show, she celebrates the Indian culture and his incredible traditions in embroidery through a collaboration with the country that has been going on for many years. The Creative Director feels the need to find the right way to talk about feelings and emotions, highlighting the beauty of coming into contact with a new place and its values. Dior’s relationship with India began in 1962 with designer Marc Bohan, who, after a trip to the cities of Mumbai and Delhi, became passionate about the colors that characterize the landscapes, their local embroidery, and the careful and meticulous way in which clothes are made, establishing a new departure for the brand based on a more dynamic and contemporary approach to fashion. Chiuri continues the bond that has been created by collaborating with Karishma Swali on the founding of an embroidery school for women, the Chanakya School of Craft: a strong understanding and a close friendship was immediately forged between the two, emphasizing the connection between France and India even more. The school’s goal is to create a multidimensional learning platform focused on arts and crafts while providing equal opportunities to a pillar of Indian communities: women. Dior wants to celebrate embroidery as an art form, embracing creativity in a broader sense and giving greater importance to the crafting of clothes, often considered only as a decorative detail.
“It was my life-long dream to parade in India. A very complex dream but one that was born out of a desire to celebrate this country’s culture.”
The collection is developed around Indian traditions, echoing the shapes and colors that characterize the country. Maria Grazia Chiuri wants to emphasize the strong spirituality and the great sense of welcome that one feels once in India: the inhabitants make guests participate by making them feel at home, accompanying them toward the exploration of their values and sensitivity to Indian culture. The Dior collection lights up: the bright hues are reminiscent of the powders used for Holi, the religious festival during which it is custom to get dirty with colors to pay homage to an Indian ritual that symbolizes rebirth and reincarnation. The fashion show opens with a sense of order and rigor expressed by black and white, then veers into a series of bright garments, which through the vivid hues of yellow, green, fuchsia, blue and purple, instill a certain cheerfulness and serenity in the audience. Chiuri celebrates the savoir faire by combining Indian tradition with the elegance and sophistication of the French brand: short round-neck jackets with geometric shapes are embellished with classic gold embroidery on the shoulders and along the edges of the garment, while dresses turn into long tunics that glide over the body and skim the floor giving class and sophistication to the figure. Long raincoats and quilted jackets alternate with mini dresses studded with sequins that light up the entire runway. The sari, a traditional Indian women’s dress that gently wraps the body, forming directly over the wearer’s form, is renewed for Dior’s collection, transformed into corsets and long dresses, covered with embroidered capes and coats. On the dresses, an ensemble of flowers is unleashed among the colors, creating rich patterns that faithfully echo those used daily by the Indian population. The models almost all wear a pearl necklace that hugs the neck and rests on the dresses, emphasizing their infinite elegance.
“With this collection I would like to celebrate embroidery as an art form. I see it as a collection dedicated to métiers d’arts, as they are called in France.”
Maria Grazia Chiuri chooses the Gateway of India in Mumbai as the location to highlight the local openness to visitors, who happily are welcomed and blessed by receiving from the Indians a necklace of flowers, the same ones that define the set up of the catwalk. The homage to the country continues with the soundtrack choice: the live musical performance is a magical experience that fully immerses the audience in the mantras of the ancient Sanskrit language, formulas that in the Hindu religion are repeated over and over again to encourage meditative practice and draw closer to the deity Shiva. The collection is an expression of a shared territory that celebrates Indian culture in all of its form through a creative dialogue that perpetuates exceptional craftsmanship, confirming the strong bond between France and India.