Art in the DNA of… is a series exploring collaborations between art and fashion. Two worlds that are intrinsically linked. From fashion design to the art direction of catwalk shows, emerging high fashion brands to old school couture ateliers, the fashion world is looking to work with a diverse range of the visual arts, now more than ever before. It comes as no surprise; high fashion is basically wearable art!
For this installment of Art in the DNA of… we are looking at Dior’s latest collaboration with award winning contemporary Indian artists Madhvi and Manu Parekh.
On January 24th 2022, the spring-summer 2022 Dior haute couture show in Paris presented its latest collection against the backdrop of epic artworks by award winning contemporary Indian artists Madhvi and Manu Parekh, born in 1942 and 1939, respectively. The theme behind the collection was a celebration of the multi-faceted expertise of artisans and petites mains around the world. Inspired by exceptional techniques, it exalted a collective effort in the name of excellence. Celebrities including young royals Pierre Casiraghi and Beatrice Borromeo posed for photographs in front of the panels, which were decorated in vivid and surreal drawings, inspired by Indian spirituality and folktales – rendered stitch by stitch.
The works on show were textile interpretations of paintings from across Madhvi and Manu Parekh’s long careers, executed and art directed by Mumbai based Chanakya’s Karishma Swali.
The works portray traditional Indian motifs and spiritual abstractions that celebrate the dichotomy between male and female, real and surreal, action and stillness. This new conversation is the result of a long collaboration between Creative Director of Dior women’s collections Maria Grazia Chiuri and Karishma Swali, whose Mumbai-based Chanakya ateliers and Chanakya School of Craft created the artworks. For this installation, Chiuri worked with art historians and curators Maria Alicata and Paola Ugolini.
“I am honoured to bring to life our collective vision with Maria Grazia Chiuri, Madhvi Parekh and Manu Parekh for this immersive experience, which frames the Dior haute couture presentation. Maria Grazia has always been a true champion for craft excellence, fostering and preserving indigenous master techniques from around the world, and we are so grateful for her collaboration and mentorship.The collective vision for this collaboration was to create an immersive experience that celebrates the culture of craftsmanship and the interconnection between us all. This collaboration with the artists aims to overcome the division between art and craft, invoking a shared language between the two.” Karishma Swali.
Since her arrival at Dior, Maria Grazia Chiuri has sought to collaborate with numerous women artists from around the world. With this latest immersive experience, which interprets the artists’ paintings and renders them in exquisite embroidery and textile techniques, it nods to the couture lineage of Dior in parallel with the rich heritage of Indian craftsmanship.
This exceptional installation was created by 320 master artisans who worked for more than three months, embroidering 340 square metres (3,600 square feet) of work entirely by hand. The combination of contemporary artistry, couture techniques and textile excellence culminate in this dynamic commissioned presentation that reinvents the role of the atelier, of the artist, and of the couturier. The dimension of the Atelier that Maria Grazia Chiuri wished to explore for this new haute couture collection is one in which art and craft meet through a shared language: the creation of these exceptional pieces questions the notions of work and savoir-faire.
Find out more about the collaboration here.
Leading image: © Laura Sciacovelli