How Indian Fashion Designers are Shaping Hollywood’s Aesthetic

How Indian Fashion Designers are Shaping Hollywood’s Aesthetic

As a country, India has long been recognised for its spices, rich culture, heritage, and festivities. Today, however, the barrier to India’s fashion has been broken and become renowned within the international fashion scene, placing India amongst the top countries in the world for fashion.  

From red carpet events to high-profile gatherings, Indian fashion designers have left an indelible mark with their exquisite craftsmanship and innovative designs, earning accolades and admiration worldwide. This is exampled by how Hollywood A-list celebrities have increasingly turned to Indian designers for their red carpet appearances, showcasing a diverse range of designs that blend the traditional Indian aesthetics with contemporary sensibilities.  

In agreement, fashion designer Abu Jani tells BurdaLuxury, “Our brands are being promoted and marketed in new geographies. Our craftsmanship is now being appreciated and acknowledged. Made in India is now a brand to reckon with as it is being acknowledged as a creator of the finest.” 

Indian Couturiers are further challenging international brands with their pathbreaking innovations and a refreshed perspective, even on western wear. A key distinguishing feature of an Indian designer is their ability to seamlessly stay rooted in their tradition while blending in innovations and refreshed perspectives. Designer Gaurav Gupta emphasises this point, stating, “What really sets us apart globally is our ability to blend tradition with innovation seamlessly. Whether it’s hand-embroidered fabrics, intricate beadwork, or sculpting, our commitment to craftsmanship shines through in every piece. When it comes to our designs, the ethos is rooted in India’s rich cultural heritage, we infuse traditional motifs, textiles, and techniques with a contemporary twist, creating designs that are both timeless and cutting-edge.” He goes on to add, “As a couturier, I take pride in showcasing the exquisite artistry of these Karigars, elevating their craftsmanship to the global spotlight where it rightfully belongs.” 

Adding to Gaurav Gupta’s views, fashion designer Sandeep Khosla of Abu Jani Sandeep Khosla aptly shares, “Our craftsmanship is unmatched in its depth and sheer variety. Our embroideries are indigenous and only India creates them, which is why all international couture houses use India and her artisans to create their couture. Our focus as Indian designers needs to be on ensuring that our own labels go global and 'Made in India' becomes a force to reckon with on the global high fashion stage. Our products must be unique with original design, flawless quality, and impeccable craftsmanship that stands apart from the usual western offerings.”  

This fusion of traditional motifs, textiles, and techniques with contemporary designs has captured the attention of Hollywood celebrities and fashion enthusiasts worldwide.  

Transcending National Borders 

It has been a year since Dior showcased their Fall 2023 collection in Mumbai, India, and the country has seen an increase in international accolades when it comes to fashion. Indian designers have carved a niche within the international fashion front, with artists like Beyoncé wearing custom Abu Jani Sandeep Khosla in 2016 for her appearance in Coldplay’s ‘Hymn for the Weekend’ music video and more recently seen wearing Gaurav Gupta Couture as an opening act look during the Atlanta leg of her 2023 Renaissance World Tour as well as for her performance during the “Church Girl” segment of the leg.

In addition, earlier in March, Rihanna was spotted in custom Manish Malhotra at Anant Ambani and Radhika Merchant’s pre-wedding festivities.  

On the impact of Western celebrities wearing Indian designers on the global stage, Abu Jani shares, “Just as celebrity patronage by Indian glitterati elevates demand for flour designs, the impact of Western rockstars and actors wearing our designs gives a major boost to sales.” 

“An international celebrity wearing Indian couture is a wonderful brand building exercise. It not only creates cultural awareness but also builds an appetite for non-traditional silhouettes and appreciation for our fashion,” believes Khosla. He continued to reflect on the moment when Gigi Hadid wore their iconic sari for the Nita Mukesh Ambani Cultural Centre (NMACC) opening in Mumbai in April of 2023.   

Indian Designers and International Fashion Fronts 

Rahul Mishra and Gaurav Gupta have made their mark at Paris Fashion Week, while young up-and-coming designers like Dhruv Kapoor and Kanika Goyal have recently showcased their collections at London Fashion Week. These instances serve as a powerful endorsement for the craftsmanship and creativity inherent in Indian design.  

“From us at Gaurav Gupta Couture to designers like Rahul Mishra and Vaishali Shandangule at Paris Fashion Week, the spotlight on Indian designers has never been brighter,” shares Gupta, who will be showing at Paris Fashion Week for the fourth time this June.  

In addition to Fashion Week, Indian designers are now more present across iconic red carpets from The Met Gala to the GRAMMY Awards, with Cardi B wearing an electric blue creation by Gaurav Gupta at the 2023 GRAMMY Awards.  

On the significance of Hollywood stars choosing to wear Indian designers at high profile events, Gupta shares, “Amongst many international celebrities: Beyoncé, Nicki Minaj, and Paris Hilton have recently donned our creations at high-profile events, marking a significant moment for the brand. Beyond the visibility our designs receive, this also helps shine a spotlight on the rich cultural heritage and craftsmanship in India. These instances create a ripple effect, inspiring audiences worldwide to explore and appreciate Indian design aesthetics beyond traditional boundaries.” 

He goes on to share, “When celebrities like Beyoncé or Nicki Minaj wear our creations, they’re not just donning our clothes. It’s a fusion of East and West, sparking conversations and deepening appreciation for Indian craftsmanship and textiles.” 

Beyond the Red Carpet 

Collaborations with prestigious international brands and retailers have provided Indian designers with a platform to showcase their talent to a global audience; Manish Malhotra, Sabyasachi, Anita Dongre and Bibhu Mohapatra have successfully launched collections with major retailers, bringing Indian-inspired designers to fashion capitals around the world. 

On the silver screens, Jennifer Anniston can be seen wearing a Manish Malhotra creation in Murder Mystery 2, while the costume department of the live-action Tom & Jerry film brought in London-based Aashni + Co to dress the cast.  

“Being a small part of this iconic movie has definitely been an important milestone in the Aashni + Co journey. The privilege of being associated with the cult animation series is something we are truly excited about,” shares a representative from Aashni + Co.  

The film’s [Tom & Jerry 2021] Indian wedding scene features Pallavi Sharda, Colin Jost, and Chloë Grace Moretz dressed in Sabyasachi and Anushree Reddy.  

Sarah Jessica Parker was seen wearing a lehenga designed by Indian designer duo Falguni & Shane Peacock in the Sex & The City revival series, And Just Like That.  

Indian designers continue to make it big in the international arena as stars look to the East for unique creations. Through creativity, craftsmanship, and cultural influence, Indian designers have carved a niche for themselves on the international stage, captivating Hollywood and fashion enthusiasts alike.  

Abu-Sandeep proudly states, “We are proud to say that our work found its way to international red carpets like The Academy Awards, BAFTA, and Cannes decades ago and paved the way for today’s Indian designers. India is carving a unique and beloved place on the global fashion stage and as we establish ourselves in international fashion capitals this place and position will only grow bigger and stronger.” 

With their designs gracing red carpets and runways around the world, Indian designers continue to bridge cultures and shape the future of fashion on a global scale.  

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Arushi Sakhuja

Arushi Sakhuja
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