Wondering Why Kate Middleton’s BAFTA Gown Looks Like An Anarkali? We Know And We’re Telling
It is not uncommon for fashion designers to source inspiration beyond their home country and culture. The fact they are expected to come up with a couple of distinctive-looking collections every year leaves them no choice but to expand their field of vision. This is true for a lot of high-end fashion labels as well; artistic directors often infuse the tales of their travels in their creations. Hermès put up a whole line of saree-inspired ensembles for their Spring 2008 presentation, conceptualised by the now-retired fashion legend Jean Paul Gaultier. Chanel’s Pre-Fall 2012 collection was titled ‘Paris-Bombay’ and featured models in rani pink, intricate handworked embroidery, ethnic jackets, draped kurtas and much else; cementing Karl Lagerfeld’s reputation of a man whose creativity knew no bounds.
Another influential designer who loved to draw inspiration from Indian aesthetics was Alexander McQueen, whose eponymous brand is still considered one of the gems of avant-garde fashion. The late British designer was known to travel to the country quite often, the main draw being fashion sensibilities of Indian royalty. His Fall 2008 collection was a marriage of Elizabethan silhouettes and styles worn by maharanis from pre-colonial India. It was certainly a sight to behold!
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That is why the custom Alexander McQueen gown, designed by Sarah Burton, that Kate Middleton wore to this year’s BAFTA bears such a striking resemblance to an anarkali. The off-white dress is made up of sheer overlay embroidered with gold lamé and an empire waist shirred with white fabric at the bust. Keeping up with the sustainable theme of BAFTAs 2020, the guests were requested by the organisers to repurpose, re-wear or rent their red carpet ensembles; Kate’s gown was picked from her state dinner in Malaysia back in 2012.
The Duchess of Cambridge is known to fuse her diplomatic visits wardrobe with the country she is flying off to. The royal is known to go out of her way to wear the culture of her destination. Staying true to this, Kate commissioned the house of McQueen with the custom gown, which was made keeping Malaysia’s cultural outfits in mind and embroidered with hibiscus flowers, the country’s national flower. Given how Malaysia boasts of a diverse mix of Malay, Chinese, Indian and European cultural influences, their fashion aesthetic matches that of Indian styles. A white and gold embroidered anarkali kurta is a household name at home and it is fascinating to see a version of the same on the BAFTA carpet.
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The BAFTAs are considered one of the most coveted awards in film and television, its red carpet mirroring the under-stated and subtle sensibilities of English culture. Check out some of our other favourites from the night, with a special shout-out to Jodie Turner-Smith who looked like a tall glass of golden elixir in her custom Gucci AND tweeted insider gossip from the show!