The house of Christian Dior has deep established ties with India’s artisanship. The brand’s Pre-Fall 2023 collection, unveiled in Mumbai last week, was an ode to celebrating the textiles and embroideries that silently grace the Paris catwalks each season.
With a backdrop of the landmark Gateway of India and a visceral multi-colour floral runway heavy with marigold and dreamy lighting, the handicrafts of the Chanakya Ateliers, where age-old techniques of embroideries decorate garments from Fendi to Valentino to Dior, could be seen up close and personal.
The show, which drew an international audience of 850 people, including actors, celebrities, editors and influencers, was less Haute Bollywood than an acknowledgment of India’s savoir faire as a contribution to the House. Dior’s artistic director Maria Grazia Chiuri incorporated traditional textile techniques into her designs, without resorting too much to 'homage styling', as is often the case when designers openly reference geographical craft. Ms Chiuri embraced not just embroidery but also weaving and beadwork on intricate patterned garments like tunics, saris and Nehru collared shirts, accessories, and jewellery.
With a casting that featured mostly local models, the show was more than an ode to Indian artisanship, with a dual purpose to also bring the business of Dior to a country with an ever-growing middle class. Here the growth opportunities in India's home market are proving to be a land of opportunity for luxury brands. With rapid urbanisation comes a rising disposable income, which jumped 24 percent between 2019 and 2022, said CNN. E-commerce is also booming, with sales forecast to reach 24 billion dollars by 2025, according to Bloomberg Intelligence.
French luxury houses have long brought India’s craft to France’s ateliers. This time they came to Mumbai.