Karl Lagerfeld states that his latest Chanel collection, Paris-Bombay Métiers d’Art, is inspired by 19th century India. The designer particularly selected British model Stella Tenant because she resembled Lady Curzon, the famous Vice-Queen of India around 1900. She was regarded as a very charming and elegant woman.
“I like the idea of the Vice-King, that’s fun. That’s why I came out with Stella Tenant, because she looked very much like Lady Curzon, the famous Vice-Queen around 1900 who was a very beautiful woman. She is so English, but in the nice way, in the good image of England mixed with India,” said Karl Lagerfeld about the famous Vice-Queen.
It was in the year 1898 that George Curzon, newly appointed Viceroy of India, took his place as the highest-ranking official in British India. His wife, Mary Victoria Curzon, was known throughout for her sophistication and beauty.
It has been reported that Lady Curzon was a passionate advocate of Indian culture and local fabrics. Her status gave her considerable influence in matters of style. She was instrumental in designing a gold-embroidered gold-weave gown for Queen Alexandra of England that was crafted in the same Chandni Chowk studio in Delhi from which she got her own wardrobe.
This blend of English fashion and Indian inspiration was echoed in Lady Curzon’s lifestyle. She caused a sensation with the peacock dress she wore for King Edward VII’s coronation in 1903, a gold-stitched gown embroidered with the feathers of the famed Indian bird.
Chanel says that Lady Curzon promoted Indian artisans by championing their skill and craftsmanship and was a great patron of the weavers whom she encouraged by wearing Indian fabrics which had motifs and weaves that reflected fashionable trends.