For Dior Fall 2023, Maria Grazia Chiuri set out to find a new, ingenious way to speak about feelings and emotions that also has the ability to connect us with a country and its culture – in this case: India. Linked to the lively landmass by years of collaborations, work relations and friendships, Chiuri tapped Karishma Swali, the director of Mumbai-based export atelier and hand-embroidery experts Chanakya International and the Chanakya School of Craft – a place of exchange, study and emancipation for many women – to bring her ideas to life. Alongside Swali, a variety of techniques used by the Chanakya ateliers and school were blended and made radiant, navigating sartorial savoir-faire practices that Dior has long adored.
A silk colour block series explodes with greens, yellows, pinks and purples, paying homage to former Dior creative director, Marc Bohan, who ventured to India in April, 1962, to unveil 100 or so silhouettes across Mumbai and Delhi. With sophisticated evening coats, sari-inspired straight skirts and traditional Indian cuts, as well as pants, little boleros, puffer jackets, pyjamas and brassieres, the collection makes sense of a sartorial genealogy formed from a variety of fashion heritages.
Amid the Jardin Indien florals, animal prints, toile de Jouy and striking silhouettes, embroidery plays the protagonist, coming forth as geometric shapes that frame gold and silver sequins or strass. Dior’s traditional toile de Jouy is enhanced by elements of Indian scenery, punctuating straight-legged trousers, shervani-style shirts and tailored skirts. The collection is a complex and tri-dimensional interweaving of plural cultural legacies.
Photography by Laura Sciacovelli.