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India in Fashion: The Impact of Indian Dress and Textiles on the Fashionable Imagination

It’s an exciting time for Indian fashion. From Dior holding its first ever calendar show in the country to the grand Met Gala-style opening of the Nita Mukesh Ambani Cultural Centre (NMACC) in Mumbai that had Zendaya, Tom Holland, Gigi Hadid and Emma Chamberlain grace the red carpet, India has been having a fashion moment for the books. The country’s unique design sensibilities and exceptional craftsmanship are making waves on a global stage and ‘India in Fashion’ at NMACC is a fine example of that. Touted as the first-of-its-kind, the exhibition, showcases India’s sartorial legacy in vivid, expansive and captivating form.

Abu Jani Sandeep Khosla

Rahul Mishra

Curated by fashion editor and costume expert Hamish Bowles and designed by Patrick Kinmonth and architect Rooshad Shroff, the exhibit has over 140 pieces on display, some of which have been loaned from the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, Victoria and Albert Museum in London and other such remarkable galleries. The show tells an elaborate story of beauty and influence, spanning hundreds of years and thousands of miles. It’s an escape for an hour (or more, if you really immerse yourself!) where you can get happily lost in this journey through the 18th century to the contemporary world, underlining India’s influence in fashion.

Sabyasachi

‘Soiree de Lahore’ by Dior

From 1750 to 2023, from Balenciaga to Givenchy, from Naeem Khan to Manish Malhotra, from Maharajas to Michelle Obama, the exhibition is a confluence of the best of Indian and international fashion. Spread across ten zones, a series of deep red arched gateways lead into the rooms housing these conversations between eras, cultures and crafts, with the works of international designers like Alexander McQueen, Chanel and Christian Dior juxtaposed with homegrown labels like Tarun Tahiliani, Rahul Mishra and Ritu Kumar.

Alexander McQueen

Valentino lehenga

While the exhibition opens with a display of dress, leggings and ‘Armadillo’ boots by Alexander McQueen, it houses some rare pieces like the only lehenga ever created by Valentino for Isha Ambani Piramal, a sari by Christian Dior, ornate brocade dresses and bandhgala jackets by Chanel, John Galliano’s Holi-inspired collection, contemporary interpretation of chintz by Rahul Mishra, a stunning trio of white lace dresses by Sabyasachi and some of the most iconic film costumes by Manish Malhotra that have been immortalised in pop culture.

John Galliano

Costumes by Manish Malhotra

Making a compelling case for India’s indelible mark on the world of fashion, the exhibition is truly a celebration of the country’s rich cultural heritage. If you are in Mumbai before 4 June 2023, don’t miss it!