What happens when Roberto Cavalli, Burberry, Missoni and Christian Louboutin get ahold of India’s textiles? Fashion magic happens! Vogue’s Project Renaissance paired the world’s most famous fashion designers with fabrics like Benarasi brocades and Kanchipuram silk sarees. Although we know the famous fashion brands, we don’t know the names of the weavers of these fabrics unfortunately, as they are just as much artisans and geniuses of design. Here are the results of this celebration of India’s textiles …
My personal favorite is what Christian Louboutin did with Kanchipuram silk, the “wedding saree” fabric from South India:
I don’t know if this is what was intended, but what I see here in the gold spikes is an edgy homage to the real gold threads that are often woven through Kanchipuram sarees. Yes, real gold woven in fabric!
Although the iconic zig-zags of Missoni are a pattern you will find in India, Missoni broke from that tradition and used Chikankari to create a dress that could fit in at a New York City evening event:
Chikankari means “embroidery” and is from the artistic city of Lucknow in Uttar Pradesh, India. It’s a delicate embroidery usually done on lightweight fabrics. Usually I see it on beige fabrics where it feels cool and summery. Here on this red dress, it looks so lush and rich.
From Nazrana Chikan, here’s a detailed view of the complexity of this embroidery:
Of course Burberry made a trench coat, of Maheshwari silk:
You can see how the silk was layered to build it up into a substantive fabric.
I love this little ETRO jacket. If you have a small piece of a treasured textile found while traveling, sewing a little jacket is a great way to use it:
And Roberto Cavalli. Who would guess it’s a Rajasthani bandhini (also called bandhani) fabric?
I’ve always believed textiles from India can be used in Western fashion silhouettes.
One of my favorite fabrics of India is Benarasi brocades, and here’s how Jimmy Choo turns it into a shoe:
From Prabal Gurung, another creation from Benarasi brocade and an example of shaping these fabrics into a very different silhouette than you usually see for this fabric, but it works:
See the full story and all the designers’ creations at Conde Nast Traveller India.