By now, every dedicated follower-of-fashion has seen the extraordinary Dior Pre-Fall show images from Mumbai that flooded social media with the iconic Gateway of India as backdrop. Having spent seven years working/designing in India, the Dior show was of particular interest to our founder Francesca Sterlacci (FYI-the Taj Mahal hotel is across the street from the Gateway). Francesca’s love of Indian handicrafts, the preservation of those crafts, and female empowerment within the fashion industry are all missions she shares with Dior’s creative director Maria Grazia Chiuri.
The March 23rd Dior show was not only a celebration of Indian culture and craft, but of its women and its commitment to diversity and inclusivity. Created by women for women, the show reinforced India’s long-standing role in manufacturing European high fashion and the growing power of its luxury consumers. The Dior/India collaboration was a showcase for all the ways the French Maison is interlinked with the artisanship of Mumbai, specifically the Chanakya School of Craft.
Behind the scenes of the Dior and Chanakya School of Craft collaboration. (Photo Credit: WWD)
Originally founded in 1986 by their father Vinod Shah, daughters Karishma Swali and Monica Shah established the Chanakya School of Craft (CSC) in 2016; a foundation and non-profit school dedicated to craft, culture and women’s empowerment and whose mission is to preserve and promote the age-old heritage of hand embroidery.
Today, the school has educated over 700 women providing them with employable skills and autonomy over their lives and their future, making embroideries for international labels such as Dior, Fendi, Gucci, Valentino, Lanvin and Prada. An immersive one-year program on master crafts covering over 300 techniques is taught, while also covering modules on business acumen, basic finance and starting new ventures. The beneﬁt is twofold: ancient techniques and skills are revived while also being rejuvenated by the joy and ambition of those who have ﬁnally been empowered. Women of all communities in India can now create their art safely, transforming not just their own lives but the lives of those around them.
“The highest education is that which does not merely give us information, but makes our life in harmony with all existence.” ~Rabindranath Tagore
The show was a testament to Chanakya and Dior’s shared commitment of promoting female empowerment, diversity and inclusivity. In addition to the beautiful embroideries made by women, Dior’s casting of models for the show were a mix of Indian and Western models in a diverse range of body types and skin tones.
Dior’s landmark Pre-Fall 2023 collection was also a celebration of the luxury house’s commitment to sustainability. The brand has been making a concerted effort to reduce its carbon footprint and promote sustainable fashion and the show featured pieces made from sustainable materials such as organic cotton. Dior announced its commitment to using only sustainable cotton by 2025.
The Dior collection was a beautiful tribute to India’s vibrant and colorful culture and its women. It was also a perfect example of how fashion can be a powerful tool for cultural exchange. Models walked down the historic square dressed in sari-inspired drapes, kurta shirts, Nehru jackets, sherwanis and lungi skirts in a color palette of rich reds, blues, greens, and golds, featuring intricate embroidery work created by hand, by female artisans from Mumbai.
Maria Grazia Chiuri took the final bow in the presence of a bevy of movie stars, influencers, royalty and, of course, the Ambanis (children of Mukesh Ambani, the richest person in India and Asia and the world’s ninth richest person). India has officially secured its place on the luxury fashion map!
OTHER LUXURY BRANDS THAT HAVE SHOWN IN INDIA
While in the past other luxury brands have held shows in India (Chanel, Gucci, Louis Vuitton, Pierre Cardin, Yves Saint Laurent, Valentino and Prada), Dior was the first European luxury brand that held an official calendar show in India with their Pre-Fall 2023 collection.
WHAT DOES THE DIOR SHOW MEAN FOR INDIA’S LUXURY MARKET?
Dior’s Pre-Fall 2023 show in Mumbai was quite a success. The turnout of boldface names across industries was high, including India’s leading celebrity Virat Kohli and Bollywood stars such as Deepika Padukone and Priyanka Chopra Jonas. The event was significant as it signaled India’s growing luxury status.
As luxury brands tap new markets in a hunt for their next billions, Dior became the first fashion house to unveil their latest collection in India. The strategic and symbolic value of Dior’s staging their show at Mumbai’s Gateway of India monument is akin to when Fendi staged a fashion show on the Great Wall of China in 2007, a move that foreshadowed the importance of Chinese consumers to the luxury industry over the next decade.
The event was significant as it marked Dior’s entry into India’s luxury market which has been growing rapidly over the past few years. According to a report by Deloitte, India’s luxury market is expected to grow at a CAGR (compound annual growth rate) of 10 – 15% over the next five years. This growth is being driven by an increase in disposable income among India’s middle class and a growing appetite for luxury goods among younger consumers.
To learn more about the types of handicrafts used in the Dior collection, view our Tambour beading and hand embroidery lessons taught by Hand & Lock Award winner Silvia Perramon:
DO YOU BELIEVE INDIA WILL BE THE NEXT LUXURY MARKET HOT SPOT?
Sign-up for our newsletter
Join our newsletter to receive updates on future blog posts, special deals, and new lessons. Also visit the main webpage to check out all of our video lessons.