Archana Kochhar’s Miss World marvel: A fashionable fusion journey celebrating India’s rich tapestry

Archana Kochhar at the 71st Miss World pageant at Jio Convention Center, Mumbai on March 9
| Photo Credit: Special Arrangement

In a display of sartorial finesse, fashion designer Archana Kochhar unveiled her latest collection for the 71st Miss World pageant, which took place at the Jio Convention Center, Mumbai on March 9. 

With an emphasis on promoting Indian textile traditions and craftsmanship, Archana’s collection comprises lehengas, draped gowns, shararas, anarkhalis and more, and showcases a diverse range of material, from ahimsa silk to Kutchi mirror work.

India’s Sini Shetty and other contestants during the grand finale of the 71st Miss World pageant at the Jio World Convention Centre, in Mumbai

India’s Sini Shetty and other contestants during the grand finale of the 71st Miss World pageant at the Jio World Convention Centre, in Mumbai
| Photo Credit:
KUNAL PATIL

“When we were approached by Miss World two months before the event to be the official designer, they gave us their skeleton brief, in which they had divided the girls according to continents. There were four different groups, and so I designed the collection looking at the attributes of each group,” says Archana.

Archana styled winners from 120 countries: contestants from Europe were dressed in white lehengas paired with vibrantly coloured blouses crafted in handwoven brocade from Varanasi, mirrorwork embroidery from Gujarat’s Kutch district, and jamdani fabric from Bengal.

Archana Kochhar

Archana Kochhar
| Photo Credit:
Special Arrangement

For the contestants from the Americas and the Caribbean, the collection brought a touch of Mumbai to the Miss World stage. Dubbed Bollywood Bling, the collection featured Indian jewel colours like ruby, sapphire, and emerald, adorned with hand-embroidered sequins and stone work.

For the Asia and Oceania contestants, a floral printed collection using ahimsa silk, a cruelty-free silk devoid of silkworm harm, was crafted. Inspired by India’s indigenous flora and fauna, the prints blended geometric symbols from Mughal architecture. The collection features contemporary lehengas, stylistic anarkalis, and draped sharara sets. “We took art print as an inspiration and did it in two colours — pastel pink and pastel sea green,” adds the designer. 

Participants walk the ramp during the 71st Miss World finale in Mumbai

Participants walk the ramp during the 71st Miss World finale in Mumbai
| Photo Credit:
FRANCIS MASCARENHAS

Contestants from Africa were dressed in chikankari embroidery from Lucknow, and the collection was adorned with kardana beads, sequins, and stones. Pastel hues like lilac and ivory were used. “We have been working with the Make in India campaign for the last eight years, and connected with many artisans from all over India. So we went through the process of figuring out what we wanted, and we made mood boards to see what is going with each other,” Archana says about the process of curating this massive collection. 

Creating over 100 outfits that were in sync with one another is a huge task that Archana pulled off seamlessly. “It was quite a task to put it all together, that at times I would feel like I have an exam coming up, and the portion is incomplete!” she laughs.  

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