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.
Tapping into the rich history and culture of the region, Prabal Gurung took inspiration from female-dominated societies, namely the Mosuo tribe of China and the Indian activist group Gulabi Gang, both of which are coincidentally connected by the colour pink. The former choosing to wear pink once the girls reached puberty whereas the latter’s name, gulabi, translates to mean pink. “Our Fall collection was inspired by the strong, vigilant, and graceful women I was raised by back home in Nepal, and was an ode to the women of the Eastern world,” stated Gurung. Here, the cheeks were blooming as make-up artist Diane Kendal went to town with bright shades of pink using MAC’s Mineralize Blush in Flirting with Danger. Similarly, at Prada, shades of electric pink were employed by make-up extraordinaire Pat McGrath, who also established cat-eye flicks with a constellation of Swarovski crystals: “It’s sporty, but elegant in a showgirl kind of way.”
Gold, too, plays an important role, especially among South Indians. Lord Brahma, a creator god in Hinduism, was said to be conceived from a golden egg, and this hue is considered the “soul of the world”. Inspired by Hindu mythology, Guy Laroche translated this sacred colour into strands of golden tresses, which when mixed in with contrasting shades of ebony, drew attention to the framed faces of the models, whose lips and eyes were also adorned with lashings of gold pigment.