Miss World Was A Great Opportunity For India To Showcase Its Art & Culture: Archana Kochhar

At the recently concluded global beauty pageant, the Indian fashion designer had the opportunity to display the best of Indian craftsmanship.

April 25, 2024

Indian couture is finally making headlines across the world with global style icons donning heavily embroidered and finely detailed pieces. One of the reasons for this exposure has been the evolution of silhouettes and the reimagining of Indian craftsmanship. One such couturier riding the wave of success is Archana Kochhar.  

L-R: Julia Morley, chairman and CEO of the Miss World Organization, Archana Kochhar and Miss World 2021 Karolina Bielawska

A decade and a half ago, Kochhar’s fashion journey began with bridal wear in Mumbai and slowly she expanded into cocktail prêt, resort and men’s wear. Since the early days, a passionate Kochhar ensured that her focus stayed on the rich heritage of Indian textiles. Through her meticulously curated collections, she has seamlessly blended traditional Indian elements with contemporary styles, captivating fashion enthusiasts worldwide. Kochhar’s pioneering efforts have not only garnered acclaim for herself but have also paved the way for Indian couture to gain recognition and admiration on an international scale, marking her as a true trailblazer in the realm of global fashion. 

Kochhar’s international forays include showcasing at Galeries Lafayette in Paris and London Fashion Week 2022. She is also a staple at New York Fashion Week; during the 2023 edition, with her ‘Anant’ collection, she threw the spotlight on Maharashtra’s Paithani sarees and the use of eco-friendly silk known as ‘ahimsa silk’, a non-violent silk produced without harming the silkworm. When asked how the perception of Indian design and fashion evolved internationally, she said, “Indian design and fashion have become more popular globally in the last decade. It has happened harmoniously with the advancements of the Indian economy globally.” 

Archana Kochhar with Krystyna Pyszkova, winner of Miss World 2024

Her most recent milestone was being appointed as the Official Indian Fashion Designer for the 71st Miss World pageant. As part of this appointment, Kochhar has to dress 120 contestants from all across the world on the final day of the beauty pageant in Mumbai on March 9, 2024. “It’s a great opportunity for India to showcase its opulent art and culture,” she said adding that platforms and forums like these aid in spreading awareness to so countless homes and people.  

Awareness of Indian craftsmanship is on the rise with international luxury fashion houses such as Dior acknowledging the work of Indian karigars exuding what is the quintessential slow and quiet luxury. Kochhar’s vision with design takes it step forward with the Miss World pageant by releasing four new collections—one for each continental group represented at the pageant.  

The four collections were devised to flaunt various tribal and regional arts of India and a hat-doff to the ‘Make In India’ campaign. The contestants from Asia-Oceania sashayed the runway in a floral-printed collection crafted from Ahimsa Silk. The collection paid homage to the indigenous flora and fauna of India, seamlessly blending in geometric symbols from Mughal Architecture. European participants were dressed in modern adaptations of traditional Indian weaves, which included handwoven brocade from Varanasi, tie-dye and mirrorwork from Gujarat and Jamdani from Bengal. Miss World Contestants from Africa shone in pastel hues and meticulously hand-embroidered pieces featuring chikankari embroidery from Lucknow, embellished with kardana beads, sequins, and stones. The Americas and the Caribbean dazzled in a jewel-toned collection inspired by the ‘maximum city’ and aptly titled Bollywood Bling collection.  

The only direction Indian luxury and couture will go is up, according to Kochhar and India will lead the brigade in inclusivity she strongly believes. “The next big movement in luxury fashion in India will definitely be inclusivity of all sizes without any fat tax,” she added.