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Vaishali Shadangule becomes first Indian woman designer to present at Paris Haute Couture Week

by Ashima

Her collection ‘Shwas,’ showcased craftsmanship from across India.

By Ashima Sethi

It is no small feat to present on the same runway as global powerhouses like Dior and Balenciaga, but Indian-bred designer Vaishali Shadangule has gone ahead and done just that! The talented designer behind eponymous line VAISHALI S, she is the second Indian ever to present on the Paris Haute Couture Week runway after Rahul Mishra, and the first Indian woman designer to ever do so.

To commemorate the honour, Vaishali blew audiences away with her collection titled ‘Shwas,’ which translates to ‘breath. ‘Staying true to her roots, the collection showed off the designer’s flair for blending traditional fabrics and weaves with couture silhouettes. Although this is a recurrent theme in her work, this particular collection drew inspiration from the textures we find in the wild and nature’s flow of energy.

Through her 25 unique garments, we are able to see the curves and lines of corals, tree trunks, and more that have been mimicked using traditional Indian means of creating texture in fabric. Examples include her use of Chanderi silks, wool woven in Karnataka, and weaves indigenous to West Bengal.

Beyond communicating nature’s beauty, the collection also put India’s ecosystem of skilled workers and artists into the spotlight, allowing traditionally Indian colours and patterns an opportunity to be seen on the global stage. Posting about the honour on Instagram, Vaishali wrote: “I have always dedicated my work to revive the treasures of India’s hand weaving tradition, through the India ancestral way of life, which today has become mainstream. Sustainable, circular, focused on intricate hand work.

“It is a tough moment for India, with a lot of people suffering and fearing, and bad news making headlines around the world. I hope this achievement at this time will somehow help us see what we are capable of, and let the world see what India is capable of making the headlines for.”

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