Archana Kochhar, official fashion designer of Miss World 2024, on creating ensembles for all contestants: ‘Quite a challenge’

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Adding a bright feather to India’s cultural and fashion landscape, Miss World 2024 was held in the country on March 9 after a hiatus of 28 years. The glitzy night saw the participation of 112 contestants from across the globe and Czech Republic’s Krystyna Pyszková clinched the coveted title.

On the sidelines of the prestigious event at Mumbai’s Jio World Convention Centre, we caught up with Archana Kochhar, the official Indian fashion designer who put together ensembles for all the contestants and presented her new collections. With the Make in India campaign in focus, her collections promoted different tribal and regional arts of India like the Jamdani weave, Ahimsa silk, Bandhani fabric, Varanasi brocade, Kutchi mirror work, and more.

Kocchar opens up about joining hands with Miss World 2024, her evolution as a designer, and even shares a fond memory close to her heart. Excerpts:

Q- You were the official designer for the 71st Miss World pageant. How do you feel about the honour?

Archana Kochhar: I felt lucky to dress and interact with incredible ladies from around the world! I would also like to thank (the CEO of the Miss World Organisation) Julia Morley and the Miss World Team for giving me this opportunity. This is India’s decade, which has seen great advancements in our economy. Incredibly, Miss World happened here after 28 years. It is another feather in our cap and a great opportunity for us to talk about our amazing art and culture.

Q- What went into prepping for the event?

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Archana Kochhar: It was quite a challenge to make 100-plus outfits for the contestants in a short period. We also worked carefully to ensure that the outfits for contestants from each continent were coordinated. Hard work does pay off – it has been great seeing the outfits of the incredible Miss World contestants.

Q- Tell us about your latest collections.

Archana Kochhar: We have released four new collections – one for each continental group in the Miss World. The contestants from Asia-Oceania were dressed in a floral printed collection made of Ahimsa Silk, a non-violent fabric made without killing the silkworm. The prints paid tribute to the indigenous flora and fauna of India while integrating geometric symbols from Mughal architecture. The collection comprised modern lehengas, stylistic anarkalis, and draped sharara sets.

The Miss World contestants from Europe were dressed in hand-woven brocade from Varanasi, handicraft mirror work embroidery from Gujarat’s Kutch, handloom Jamdani fabric from Bengal, and tie-dye Bandhani prints from Gujarat.

With delicate pastel hues taking center stage, the Miss World Contestants from Africa were dressed in meticulously hand-embroidered lehengas and anarkali sets. The collection used chikankari embroidery from Lucknow, embellished with kardana beads, sequins, and stones. Its shades draw attention to the diversity of the female form, in all shapes and sizes, worthy of being celebrated as they are.

Bringing an element of Mumbai to the Miss World stage, the contestants from the Americas and the Caribbean were dressed in Bollywood bling. The collection relied on the Indian jewel colours of ruby, sapphire, and emerald, embellished with hand-embroidered sequins and stonework to create an incredible shine on stage.

Q- Your most cherished fashion moment/memory.

Archana Kochhar: When acid attack survivor Reshma Qureshi walked for me at the New York Fashion Week, we were able to crowdfund double the required amount for the surgery for 100 acid burn victims.

Q- Tell us about your evolution as a designer.

Archana Kochhar: I feel immensely grateful for my journey and I thank every team member and associate for helping me reach here! I believe as a designer my fashion sensibility lies in creating Indo-Western garments for the women of today and I translated the same for the Miss World collection – hence, the hint of Indian and Western elements in all the outfits.

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