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Dior partners with Mumbai-based atelier – Chanakya


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New Delhi, July 8 (IANSlife) Painting and embroidery give an emotional charge to the Tree of Life, a symbol for various far-flung cultures and mythologies, as seen in the scenography of the Dior autumn-winter 2022-2023 haute couture show in Paris. To continue blurring the lines between fine art and craft, Maria Grazia Chiuri, Creative Director of Dior women’s collections, collaborated with Chanakya, a Mumbai-based atelier led by Karishma Swali, and Ukrainian artist, Olesia Trofymenko. The Tree of Life, which connects all forms of creation, is at the heart of Ukrainian artist Olesia Trofymenko’s work. Through its branches and roots, it supports the sky and connects it to the earth.

To produce a refined shading of nuances, the embroideries of this scenography – conceived and created by the Chanakya ateliers and the Chanakya School of Craft – employ a melange of age-old techniques such as the punto croce or cross stitch and its variations, different forms of couching, and the feather stitch, as well as a range of satin stitches. The Tree of Life, Olesia Trofymenko’s emblem, adheres to stylistic codes shared by many countries. The Chanakya ateliers and School of Craft have thus translated this iconographic language by drawing on a wealth of ancestral embroidery techniques that they perpetuate and reinvent through artistic encounters.


The Tree of Life is hand embroidered in satin stitches with fine threads, with jute threads in key areas, as well as various knotting and small needlepoint techniques. To capture the depth of the roses, the floral garlands and wheat crowns were made with cross stitch colour layering, while the wheat stems were made with organic threads, couching, and braiding.

With the establishment of the Chanakya School of Craft in Mumbai in 2017, India’s Chanakya ateliers have enabled women in local communities to gain new autonomy while preserving valuable techniques. Students at this one-of-a-kind school learn the roughly 700 gestures required to become a master craftsperson, a role traditionally reserved for men in India.

Maria Grazia Chiuri celebrates pluralistic beauty and the perpetuation of savoir-faire at the intersection of art, craft making, and haute couture by weaving exceptional collaborations with Chanakya & Karishma Swali. A virtuoso collective work, a work of hand poetry that transcends borders and eras by sublimating the priceless richness of cultures from India to France, from Mumbai to Paris.

(IANSlife can be contacted at [email protected])



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