Nothing could fall short when the lights spotlighted India’s legacy with the Gateway of India at the country’s first-ever presentation from Dior. The European luxury fashion house’s Pre-Fall 2023 Show kicked off in Mumbai on March 30, 2023. The show represented a designer’s vision as an ode to India’s phenomenal legacy of artisans and their impeccable craftsmanship. The fashion show came as a collaboration between Maria Grazia Chiuri, the creative director of Dior and Karishma Swali-lead, Mumbai-based Chanakya School of Craft, to raise proceeds for charity. Though this was Dior’s first runway in India, it has recently come to light that a show was held in 1962 at the lawn of TIFR (Tata Institute of Fundamental Research) in Mumbai itself under Marc Bohan, as per the book titled “Homi J Bhabha: A New Life”.
The location served as a prominent inspiration for the show, with a 12-foot-tall embroidered door hanging used to greet visitors, customarily covering the archway. Several sparkling lamps and thousands of marigolds and roses formed a patchwork that resembled a massive magic carpet and divided the runway. Models wearing pieces from the pre-fall ready-to-wear collection of Christian Dior walked the runway as the live band played songs that best exemplify Indian musical culture. Nehru collars, block patterns, mirror work, Madras check, Banarasi brocade, tie dye details, and fitted kurtas played part of the haute couture in a variety of neutral colours before gently shifting to a shade of forest green and finally bursting into a blaze of vibrant hues and patterns.
Dior’s red carpet was jewelled with several Indian and International luminaries adorning Dior creations. Major fashion highlights included the fashionista-actor Sonam Kapoor Ahuja putting her best fashion foot forward, wearing a pink Dior ensemble with traditional Indian jewellery. Supermodel-actor Cara Delevingne showcased her love for the brand by donning a multi-coloured cotton coat with a warp print together with a white top and shorts. She added a braided leather waist belt and glittering silver ankle-tie pumps as accessories. Thai actors well known for their show ‘KinnPorsche’, Nattawin Wattanagitiphat wore a black suit with a high neck in a contrasting colour, and Mile Phakphum Romsaithong opted for white trousers with a white sweater that had red details to it. The limelight of the event was stolen away by actor Rekha’s appearance on the occasion with her traditional elegance. She was the only celebrity in the event who chose to stick with her six yards of elegance rather than wearing anything from the Dior collection. A day prior to the show, the veteran actor met the creative director of Dior, Maria Grazia Chiuri, who wrote in a picture post on social media, “I was so touched to meet the iconic Rekha gi last night for the first time. India’s most iconic woman and an incredible actress. I am so grateful you have joined us last night; it was a true honour.”
Other A-listers that graced the event included Freida Pinto, Maisie Williams, Radhika Merchant, Isha Ambani Piramal, Karlie Kloss, and power couple Virat Kohli-Anushka Sharma.