THE MEETING OF CULTURES

Considered a symbolic "gateway" into the country, The Gateway of India* – the iconic monument chosen for this défilé – is in itself a metaphorical embodiment of this plural encounter, drawing on cross-cultural influences and ancestral heritage to celebrate Karishma Swali and Maria Grazia Chiuri's shared love for Indian savoir-faire.

Like an emblematic symbol, this majestic arch is adorned with a toran highlighting its essential history. The making of such decorative hangings is an age-old tradition perpetuated by Indian women who embellish local fabrics with embroidery and patchwork to welcome their guests into their homes. Drawing on their various techniques, the Chanakya School of Craft artisans, alongside the master craftsmen of the Chanakya workshops, have handcrafted the toran according to the codes of this unique collective art, while infusing contemporary social and cultural inspirations, allowing them to put forward their vision of the world in a deeply nuanced and sensitive way.

    Made of natural fibers, this textile script captures the purity of their message: a joyful encounter between crafts and communities. More than 300 master-artisans from the Chanakya workshop and the Chanakya School of Craft worked together for several months to complete this piece, which required 35,000 hours of labor and concentrated no less than twenty-five artisanal techniques such as phulkari, mirror embroidery, knot stitch and kantha. The iconography intrinsically linked to the craft traditions is revealed throughout the composition, which features elephants, mandalas, lotuses, kamadhenu, tigers and peacocks. An outstanding and plural celebration of the priceless wealth of Indian culture and the incredible diversity of its exceptional savoir-faire.

    THE MAKING-OF

    *With the support of Directorate of Tourism, Government of Maharashtra and the Indian Authorities in Mumbai.

    © Chanakya School of Craft
    © Chanakya Atelier
    © Taj Mahal Palace and Towers, Mumbai