The Dior haute couture spring 2022 fashion show took place yesterday beneath a grand tent in the garden of the Musée Rodin in Paris. The walls were covered floor to ceiling with bold works of art, which appeared to be murals.
It turns out they are actually oversized, hand-embroidered reproductions of artwork by legendary Indian artists Madhvi and Manu Parekh. Each of the 21 embroidered panels was created by 380 female students at the Chanakya School of Craft, a non-profit organization founded in 2017. Each panel took between 500 and 2,800 hours to create. In all, it took 280,000 hours to embroider the 340-square-meter installation.
The Chanakya school’s goal is to empower women in local communities and preserve global crafts such as hand embroidery. Students at the school learn 700 craft techniques of crafts, which are required to become a master artisan—a position typically held by men in India.
“Their work differs from a formal point of view but is incredibly akin because of their common cultural roots and figurative tradition,” Chiuri said on her Instagram page. “The set is entirely created by the Indian @chanakya.school of embroidery, alternating Madhvi’s embroidered works with those of Manu, adapted to an environmental dimension, creating a narrative suspended between myth and realism that unfolds along the set walls like a film.”
The collaboration was also inspired by Judy Chicago’s iconic feminist work The Dinner Party.
“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,” Swali said in a statement.
My mind is officially blown by this stunning and meaningful display. Hats off to Chiuri and the women of the collective for connecting so many humans in a powerful way to create something so breathtaking.