Last fall, Maria Grazia Chiuri presented the Dior 2022 collection in Seoul, blasting a "skate or die" attitude with models rolling down ramps in skate-forward garments that spoke of rebellion. Once again, the creative director has made the decision to leave France and travel abroad to unveil her fall 23 collection for Dior. This time, however, the backdrop is Mumbai’s Gateway of India monument. Yet, its role in the collection is so much more than simply a pretty city to stage a show. In fact, the French Maison's special relationship to India tracks back to Monsieur Dior, himself.
For over two decades Maria Grazia Chiuri has fostered a relationship with Indian crafts supplier Chanakya International and the creative director used Dior Fall 2023 as an opportunity to collaborate with its Chanakya School of Craft. The nonprofit institution, which was founded in 2016 by Monica Shah and Karishma Swali, boasts over 700 female students carrying out an embroidery curriculum that focuses on more than 100 different types of stitching, including hand woven and handspun textiles like the madras check and block prints.
The fruits of their labour can be found on the intricately embroidered jewel-tone silks and textiles, which have been fashioned into sari and lehenga-inspired gowns, evening jackets and sun suits, all with simple lines and fused with a 1920s sensibility we expect see more of in the upcoming seasons. More than anything though, what pierces through is the dedication to sturdy craftsmanship emblematic of Dior.
Pearls glistened elegantly and high on the necks of the models, their eyes lined in thickly applied kajal. Despite the saturation of evening wear, simple sandals stood in as the footwear of choice, maintaining an earthiness within the collection. Hundreds of polished brass candle holders created a pathway for each model – including RUSSH cover stars Hannah Wick and Zinnia Kumar – as they exited beneath a huge tapestry at the mouth of the Mumbai landmark.
You may not be in Mumbai, but you can experience the Dior Fall 23 collection for yourself through the livestream below.