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Dior Pre-Fall 2023 Collection: A Celebration of Indian Heritage at Mumbai's Gateway of India

French luxury fashion house Dior has made waves in the fashion industry with their pre-fall 2023 collection showcased at Mumbai's Gateway of India on Thursday. This marked the first time the brand has ever presented a full collection in India, a country with which Dior has had a longstanding history of collaborating, dating back all the way to the 1950s when Christian Dior Himself created the ‘Soirée de Lahore’ for his 1955 FW collection.

Soirée de Lahore  Dior AW 1955
Soirée de Lahore Dior AW 1955

The pre-fall 23 show featured close to 100 models, with a vast majority being Indian, highlighting Dior's appreciation and affinity for Indian culture. The collection pays homage to India's rich heritage and craftsmanship, with a focus on intricate embroidery and century-old techniques.

Dior Pre-Fall 2023 Mumbai
Dior Pre-Fall 2023

Dior's creative director, Maria Grazia Chiuri, showcased her love for embroidery and craft through a collaboration with Mumbai's Chanakya atelier and the Chanakya School of Craft. Karishma Swali, who directs both the ateliers and the school, worked with Chiuri on the choice of color palette, motifs, mirror work, sequins, and crafts, bringing the designer's vision to life.

Dior pre-fall 23 Mumbai
Dior pre-fall 23 Mumbai

The symbolic location of the Gateway of India served as a metaphor for the intimate collaboration, referencing cross-cultural influences, heritage, and traditions. A 46-foot "Toran," a site-specific artwork below the Gateway, was created via collaboration between the Chanakya Ateliers and the Chanakya School of Craft. The Toran was a communal activity, drawing on the artisans' own design vocabulary and each choosing which symbols of good fortune to integrate into the piece. The toran took 35,000 hours of handwork to complete, employing 25 craft techniques, including phulkari, mirror work, French knotting, and kantha.

gateway of India x Dior
Dior x gateway of India

The collection itself showcased a mix of simple silhouettes in monochrome and neutral palettes, transitioning into a riot of color as models strutted down the runway in chartreuse coats, purple and yellow sequined dresses, and sari-inspired silk skirts in rich purples and fuchsia pinks.

The show was attended by several celebrities from across the world, including 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, Anushka Sharma, and her husband, cricketer Virat Kohli.

Sonam Kapoor - Anushka Sharma and Virat Kohli.
Sonam Kapoor - Anushka Sharma and Virat Kohli.

As India's economy continues to soar, the country is becoming an increasingly attractive market for luxury brands. The Indian middle class is expanding rapidly, with one in every three Indians currently considered middle class and this number is projected to double by 2047, according to a new survey by the Times of India. India's luxury market is projected to reach $200 billion by 2030, fueled by a rising number of ultra-high-net-worth individuals (UHNWIs) and a growing middle class. Given India's economic growth and the projected expansion of its luxury market, Dior's pre-fall 2023 show in Mumbai may be seen as a strategic move that positions the brand to capitalize on India's rising affluence and growing demand for luxury goods.

In this context, Dior's decision to present its collection in India makes strategic sense, as the brand taps into the country's appetite for luxury and its growing consumer base. The collaboration with Indian artisans and the celebration of Indian culture and craftsmanship showcased in the collection could also help Dior establish a deeper connection with the Indian market.

The fashion industry can expect to see more cross-cultural collaborations and celebrations of heritage and craftsmanship from Dior in the future, as they continue to explore and honor the incredible knowledge that India offers to the international world of fashion.


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