03 / 09

Chanakya School of Craft x Maria Grazia Chiuri for Christian Dior


An artistic collaboration with Maria Grazia Chiuri, the Dior Fall show on March 30, 2023 set the stage for another monumental installation by the Chanakya School of Craft — The Toran: an ephemeral, site-specific public artwork, the Chanakya Ateliers and Chanakya School of Craft, under the stewardship of Karishma Swali, imagined the 46-foot-tall installation as a poetic representation of the power of craft and community.

The Gateway, seen as a symbolic ceremonial entrance to India, serves as a fitting metaphor for this intimate collaboration, drawing from cross-cultural influences, heritage and traditional materials while paying heed to a collective passion for Indian craftsmanship. Drawing on their design vocabulary, the female artisans of the Chanakya School of Craft and the master artisans from the Chanakya Atelier handcrafted The Toran, with layers of social and cultural context, enabling them to express the world in a deeply nuanced yet intuitive way.

The base is made up of natural fibers that capture the purity of their message: a joyful coming together of craft and community. Over 300 master-artisans from the Chanakya Atelier and women artisans from the Chanakya School of Craft worked together over several months, requiring 35,000 hours of handwork to complete this piece, instinctively employing 25 craft techniques including phulkari, mirror work, french knotting, and kantha. Folk iconography inherently linked to artisanal traditions are captured throughout the work, including elephants, mandalas, lotus, the kamadhenu, tigers, and peacocks.