Yves Saint Laurent first introduced Indian supermodel Kirat Young–in fur stoles and velvet dresses that evoked tsar-era Russia–to the world in his 1976 Ballets Russes collection. “I had the perfect exotic look they needed for such an out-of-the-box collection,” said Young. Tall, doe-eyed, and with a dusky complexion, Young was a muse to the late French designer, who kept a photo of her in his favourite room of his Rue de Babylone home. With inclusivity at an all-time high across runways, fashion houses this season also looked to the new East, the Indian subcontinent, for inspiration. From Hindu mythology-inspired beauty looks to Indian models slaying the runways, here comes the East wind.
Once considered “too exotic” and with body types that were equally unconventional for the runways, Indian models were not the ideal candidates for most designers. However, things are changing. Case in point: upcoming model Dipti Sharma, who walked for Balenciaga Spring/Summer ’18. Set around a big “snowy” mountain tagged in graffiti, the model’s hair at the show was parted either in the middle or sideways, and had a fresh-out-of-the-shower vibe. A balance of proportions, as to not draw attention away from the exaggerated layered coats. Sharma also caught the eye of Michael Kors himself. “Dipti adds a real personality to everything she wears. She has a modern elegance, strength, and a real presence. And I was knocked out by her fabulous hair!” said Kors, who cast her for his Autumn/Winter ’18 show.