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Designer Rahul Mishra on how Zendaya's sari pays homage to India

While many of the night’s red carpet statements paid homage to iconic Indian design elements – showcasing the ornate craftsmanship and draping so common in the South Asian nation – few were quite as impressive as Zendaya Do it that way. First, it’s an environment that can easily lead to cultural appropriation, when someone takes inspiration from a culture and actually involves said culture. (Many fashion designers have been known to borrow from Indian culture without credibility.)

However, Zendaya has taken a more purposeful approach, opting to bring India’s most One of the great fashion talents focuses on process. “I believe Zendaya is a tribute to India as a country, not just Indian fashion,” Mishra said. “We have a vibrant culture and a diverse heritage of craftsmanship. Through their trust in us, Law as creative director and Zendaya as star gave us total freedom to interpret the moment and create something special.”

It’s that trust—and willingness to embrace traditional Indian dress in a respectful and holistic way—that Mishra says makes dressing Zendaya such a joy. “The sarees we designed are similar to how women here dress, but also reflect her personal style,” Mishra said. Seeing the Zendaya movement for the design will also encourage more young Indians to adopt their own cultural attire, he added. “She embraced it with the utmost respect and enthusiasm and, I believe, she did Indian culture completely justice,” Mishra said. “When she folded her hands in front of the camera in that outfit, I could see young Indians both captivated and seen by her.”

Zendaya’s Dressing is certainly one of Mishra’s style accomplishments to date, putting his work on the international map. (Freida Pinto and Priyanka Chopra have also worn his designs.) The designer said the added bonus of this special night was being able to walk the red carpet with the stars. “My wife Divya and I arrived a little late to the red carpet, and it was a wonderful coincidence that she was already on the carpet,” Mishra said. “When I walked in, I remember seeing her from the back looking very surreal, and then Lowe asked me to take a photo with them. It’s a memory I will always hold in my heart.”



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