It’s no news that is India is home to countless embroideries, surface embellishments and textile treatments. Bandhani, kalamkari, kashida and rabari are literally the tip of the iceberg – there also lies an uncharted pandora box housing lesser known techniques from quaint little parts of our nation. Given the rich textile legacy, it’s but natural for the west to turn to our centuries spanning heritage for designing collections that pay homage to our motherland.
Apart from a few ill-researched and boorish interpretations by some folks here and there, we can always look up to artists who possess the maturity, respect the nuance & are sensitive to differences between cultures. Spotlight on design biggies like Dior, Louis Vuitton & Chanel, who’ve tried incorporating desi elements whilst steering clear from the appropriation mandate.
There are some that are doing right and here’s a list.
Louis Vuitton’s India ‘Rani Pink’ Shoe Collection
The limited edition collection launched by the LVMH owned company was an attempt to break into the competitive Indian wedding and festive market, the launch date was proof. Featuring rani pink and metallic gold block heels, mules, sneakers and the slingback pumps, the condensed lineup stayed true to the LV’s prototypical sensibilities.
Although a little heavy on the pink, the gold did balance things out. Would’ve loved some creative exploration with an Indian motif or a jutti variant to diversify the collection.
Michael Kors’ Diwali Collection
Inspired by the Festival of Lights, Michael Kors launched its exclusive India Capsule Collection, exclusively for sale in India, back in 2022. Featuring the American brand’s beloved carryall Sullivan tote, Jet Set Charm pouchette & the staple Heather shoulder bag, it was the singular floral motif that gave away its ‘Indian-ness,’ we reckon.
Overall verdict: nicely done on the commerciality aspect and not at all over the top. Sometimes less is more.
Jimmy Choo’s Shaan Capsule
Launched only a few months ago, Jimmy Choo’s India exclusive collection ‘Shaan‘ tried propelling their bestselling styles in shades of red, pink & gold in order to tune into the desi crowd’s preferences. High on gloss and glamour, the stilettos and pumps, aka the classic Choo territory reigned supreme with ample backing from their potli-like handheld clutches in the lineup.
A swarm of SOBO folks going gaga over this collection seems certain.
Dior Women’s Pre-Fall 2023
Having partnered with the Chanakya School of Craft periodically, Dior’s creative tryst with India has been a long-standing one. For their Women’s Pre-Fall 2023 collection, creative head Maria Grazia Chiuri strategically tapped into India’s subtleties – demure cuts, embroidered borders & occasional sightings of the back-of-the-truck like typography. All in all a very contained & smart collection whilst melding 2 polar opposite aesthetics together.
Chanel Pre-fall 2012
Deserving an honourable mention on this list, Chanel’s Pre-fall 2012 collection titled ‘Paris–Bombay’ was a major game-changer & is celebrated to this very day for the well executed mélange of Indian sensibilities coupled with the house’s own interpretation. Drapes aplenty were spotted alongside embellished jackets, reformed saris & heaps of body jewellery.
This decade old collection by the French maison is truly a moment in time.