Dıor Makes Hıstory Wıth Pre-Fall 2023 Fashıon Show Set Agaınst Mumbaı’s Iconıc Gateway of Indıa
It was clear that Maria Grazia Chiuri, Christian Dior’s artistic director of women’s collections, has kicked off a new dialogue with the brand’s historic pre-fall 2023 show at the Gateway of India.
This dialogue resonated immediately in Mumbai with the familiarity of what was shown on the runway, in terms of color, technique, styles and silhouettes, all of which showed Chiuri’s affection and appreciation for India.
This also was apparent in the collaboration between Dior and Karishma Swali, who directs the Chanakya ateliers and the Chanakya School of Craft in MumbaI, which brought to life Chiuri’s love for embroidery and the craft of India.
The show — massive in featuring 99 styles — was unique in that many of the styles were created in collaboration concerning the choice of color palette, motifs, mirror work, sequins and crafts.
The models also had been chosen carefully, with 23 Indian models, 33 Indian models with international backgrounds and 43 international ones.
The choice of India for the show was the latest in Dior’s string of major undertakings, from the takeover of the facade of Harrods in London last holiday season to the men’s pre-fall show that illuminated the Pyramids of Giza last December.
“The choice of this destination is deeply linked to our shared history and passions,” said Delphine Arnault, chairman and chief executive officer of Christian Dior Couture. “Our unwavering affinity with India, woven from the very beginnings of the house in 1947, and through the shows of Monsieur Dior’s various successors — from Marc Bohan to Maria Grazia Chiuri — has constantly been deployed in numerous creative dialogues combining innovation and ancestral heritage.”
That the dialogue opening up new spaces was also apparent in the symbolic location: The Gateway of India, which overlooks the Arabian Sea, is one of the city’s best-loved landmarks; the beautifully lit, iconic Taj Mahal hotel is across the road.
The symbolism of a new doorway was creatively taken a step further with the 46-foot “Toran,” a site-specific artwork just below the Gateway itself that was realized via a collaboration between the Chanakya Ateliers and Chanakya School of Craft. Women in India have crafted torans for centuries, decorating local fabric by using embroidery and patchwork as a way to welcome guests into their homes.
It is also 60 years after Dior models traveled to Mumbai for the brand’s spring-summer 1962 couture show in collaboration with Air-India. It was sponsored by the Time and Talents Club, Femina and the Alliance Française in Mumbai in April 1962 when Dior was being designed by Marc Bohan.
While Chiuri took inspiration from those files, this show brought in different elements from her own life — the love for peplum, and the drape of the fabric around the body, knotting at the waist. Madras check and block printing made it to the runway, as did tigers, elephants and peacocks.
Celebrities from across the world attended the show — Hollywood actors Yara Shahidi, Cara Delevingne, Freida Pinto, Maisie Williams, and Simone Ashley; Thai actors Mile Phakphum and Apo Nnattawin, and Bollywood stars including Sonam Ahuja Kapoor and Anushka Sharma with her husband, well known cricketeer Virat Kohli, as well as sitarist Anushka Shankar.