The inaugural event of the Nita Mukesh Ambani Cultural Centre (NMACC) was nothing short of a gala, honestly speaking. From Hollywood to Bollywood, prominent figures from the industry showed up dressed to the nines for an event that celebrated India’s rich cultural history through costume, performances and visual arts.
The event was a befitting time for stylists and designers to bring out their A-Game and present it on a stage that was even bigger than the Dior Mumbai event. And safe to say, they didn’t disappoint. From an array of designs to Indian craftsmanship, the designers delivered their best. But what remained largely unspoken on that stage was the effort that was put into the clothes by the karigars.
From the NMACC event, here’s a full breakdown of what went down into making that glamourous showpiece your favourite celebrity wore on the red carpet. Most of which would not have been possible without the hard work of these karigars. It is time we highlighted their work and recognized the sheer patience and skill – it takes to make a single motif.
1. Gigi Hadid’s golden saree at NMACC was hand-embroidered by women artisans in Lucknow.
Gigi Hadid shone the brightest on the second day of the NMACC event. The supermodel was decked in a chikankari skirt and a chikankari drape. Abu Jani and Sandeep Khosla mentioned how the chikan was hand-embroidered by female artisans in their workshop in Lucknow. They also added zardozi borders.
The more intricate the thread work, the longer it takes for a chikankari piece to finish. As most chikankari motifs primarily feature floral designs, it can take up to six months to a year to finish. An exclusive zardozi, on the other hand, can take months of hard work.
2. Zendaya in a star-studded hand-embroidered saree gown.
Zendaya looked like a midnight dream in her star-studded blue saree and golden blouse. Her ensemble was designed by Rahul Mishra. The designer mentioned that the actor, “is wearing the hand-embroidered ‘Verdure’ saree gown with the ‘Flying Cranes’ bralette.” But who embroidered it? We don’t know.
Going by the looks of it, the hand-embroidered saree must not have been an easy feat to achieve. The saree retails on Rahul Mishra’s website for ₹3,89,000. And that must have been a tedious process for the embroiderers too.
3. Law Roach in a heavy poppy embroidered sherwani.
Law Roach, better known as Luxury Law, was also present at the NMACC event. The designer-cum-stylist had styled Priyanka Chopra. Dressed in Rahul Mishra, Roach was seen wearing a hand-embroidered poppy sherwani jacket with a coordinating lehenga skirt in black. How many hours/people it took to embroider on a fabric this thick? No idea.
This kind of floral embroidery takes a minimum of two to three hours, just to make one simple motif, on a piece of cotton fabric. The time taken increases, depending on the thickness of the fabric/intricacy of the design/number of designs.
4. Gigi Hadid in a dress that took the karigars almost 100 days to make.
Gigi Hadid wore Rahul Mishra on the first day of the NMACC event. It was refreshing for the designer to share glimpses of what went behind the scenes into making that ethereal outfit Gigi wore. It looked like spring and the designer mentioned that the dress is “meticulously imagined in threads, beads, sequins and other media. The embroidery on the full ensemble is realised over 2400 human hours of time.” And that roughly equates to 100 days. Rahul Mishra showed his karigars working meticulously on the piece.
5. Kajol in a white phulwari sherwani at NMACC.
Dressed in Abu Jani and Sandeep Khosla, Kajol looked pristine. As per the designers, Kajol wore a sherwani from their Phulwari collection which was “embroidered in a rich melange of pearls, crystals and resham.” Do we know how much effort it took the karigar to work with the extremely delicate resham thread? Nah.
Unlike phulkari which uses threads and mirrors, phulwari uses multiple silk threads to give it that finesse, and some even use pearls and crystals to give it an edge. A phulkari dupatta takes weeks and patience to get the threads uniform. Phulwari simply adds more to it.
6. Emma Chamberlain in a yellow studded lehenga.
Emma Chamberlain represented sunshine in her Falguni Shane Peacock India. Her yellow lehenga with a ruffled end was every bit stunning. What we loved, even more, was the blouse. But neither the designers nor the actor acknowledged the artisans or the number of hours it took into creating this masterpiece.
7. Caroline Daur in classic Manish Malhotra crystal studded lehenga.
This German blogger looked like a Disney Princess in a striking Manish Malhotra yellow elaborately embroidered lehenga set. Yet another outfit where you don’t know the vision, the craftsmanship, and the sheer artistry. And that’s a shame, for a dress this beautiful. And an even bigger shame when you realize that each sequin is put on that fabric by hand.
8. Priyanka Chopra Jonas at NMACC in a 65-year-old Banarasi patola saree.
Priyanka Chopra Jonas rightfully credited the team behind her work. She mentioned how her outfit was created using a 65-year-old vintage Banarasi brocade saree with silver threads. Not only that, but it also had a gold electroplating on khadi silk and sequins which reflected the ikat weave. Sheer artistry, but not one acknowledgement of what went behind the scenes.
A Banarasi patola saree can take six months to a year to make one saree because each strand needs to be dyed separately before weaving them together. Ikat, on the other hand, is expensive because it requires the most skill for precise patterns to be woven. And you can’t get any of these uniformities on a machine. It has to be done painstakingly by the artisans.
9. Liza Koshy in a lehenga which mentioned the karigars – take a bow Taufik Qureshi & Team and Mahindra Zala & Team.
Giving credit where it is due, Liza Koshy showed you how you ought to credit your craftsperson. The YouTuber rocked the carpet in a lilac lehenga which was embroidered with silver metal embellishments, crystals, beads, etc. Her trail mentioned, “Embroidered by Taufik Qureshi & Team. Tailored by Mahindra Zala & Team.”
10. Kriti Sanon in a Banarasi saree with a modern twist at NMACC.
Giving a modern twist to a saree, Kriti Sanon was dressed by Monisha Jaising. The designer mentioned how they gave a modern twist to a Banarasi saree and how it featured floral motifs. And obviously, it took her a team to give this modern twist. Do we see any mention of that here?
A Banarasi saree can last you for an entire lifetime if you preserve those delicate threads carefully. And that shows how skilled our artisans are in their field.
So many celebrities showed up in absolutely mesmerizing outfits, but their Instagram feeds did not mention the vision behind their outfit. Forget mentioning the craftsmen or even the art. And that was saying something, considering you are attending an event that brings Indian culture to the global stage. Do better, maybe?