From Dior's Maria Grazia Chiuri to Jacqueline Fernandez: JADE by Monica and Karishma's 10th anniversary celebration was magical


From Dior’s Maria Grazia Chiuri to Jacqueline Fernandez: JADE by Monica and Karishma’s 10th anniversary celebration was magical

Plus, Jade unveiled its new couture collection

By Shweta Gandhi  October 24th, 2018

You know you’ve arrived when the artistic director of the world’s most famous and sought-after fashion label agrees to fly across continents to celebrate your work. That’s right, we’re talking about the living legend that is Maria Grazia Chiuri — the first woman artistic director of Dior — who was the chief guest last night at JADE by Monica and Karishma’s couture show, which celebrated ten years of their brand.

Jacqueline Fernandes in JADE2
Jacqueline Fernandez was the showstopper for the couture show

Maria, who has been a mentor to Monica and Karishma for the last 20 years, met them when she was working as an accessory designer for Fendi. “I was looking for somebody skilled to work on embroidery. I was told there was a man from India who had some samples to show me. [Upon meeting him] I was very excited, not because he was showing me samples, but because he spoke Italian. We clicked immediately and that was the start of our collaboration. He was instrumental in helping me create embroidery for the now-iconic Fendi Baguette by mixing Italian and Indian techniques,” Maria says. The man was Karishma’s brother, Nehal Vinod Shah, who along with Karishma and her sister-in-law Monica handle the teams of hand embroiderers for their family company, Chanakya.

jade 1
JADE’s couture collection featured lightweight ensembles with intricate embroidery work 

“For my first collection at Dior, I wanted a dress made with a specific technique. And I knew that Chanakya could do it… the only thing was that I needed the dress in one week. I was assured that it could and would be done. And true to his word, the dress was delivered to us as it was expected,” Maria fondly remembers.

For Monica and Karishma, the respect is mutual. Karishma says, “For us, it’s about coming together and supporting the artisan and the craftsmanship. Our couture collection is called Oneness because it’s about bringing together our love for the arts, and who better a chief guest than Maria Grazia, who happens to champion workmanship.”

jade 3
JADE collaborated with PAIO for the footwear

But that isn’t all. The three designers — apart from bonding over design, art and fashion — also believe in giving back to the society by empowering women artisans. “Italy and India are lucky to have so much of tradition and rich history, and it mustn’t go to waste. I spoke with Monica and Karishma on how we could maintain and pass on the knowledge of traditional artisanal craftsmanship to the next generation with a strong belief in creativity, craftsmanship and the human touch. And we came up with the idea of a school that trains women in embroidery techniques. Karishma came to Paris six months later to tell me that the school was ready. I was so touched; I think this is the defining point of my career,” Maria says.

The Chanakya School of Embroidery and Centre for Research is an initiative by the Chanakya Foundation set up by Monica and Karishma to commemorate their anniversary. Maria will be visiting the school before heading back to Paris.