A disappearing craft: traditional Maltese lace with modernised Indian embellishment

Commonwealth Fashion Council

Explore the exchange story of designers Charles and Ron from Malta and artisan Khushboo from India and find out how they created their look for The Commonwealth Fashion Exchange, 2018.

The Exchange: Malta x India
For The Commonwealth Fashion Exchange 2018, designer Charles and Ron exchanged with artisan Khushboo to create a look that was inspired by traditional Maltese door-knockers. The look was unveiled at Buckingham Palace on February 19, 2018, and later moved to the Australian High Commission, London, where it was open to the public in the run up to the Commonwealth Heads of Government Summit, April 2018.
Malta: Designer Charles & Ron
Showing all over the world, as well as in Malta, Charles & Ron’s eponymous brand has a distinctive signature style that’s often described as Mediterranean. That translates to sunny, carefree and fully dedicated to having a good time, but what also comes guaranteed is a playful elegance and unfaltering quality. A fascination for fashion was learned by Charles van Maarschalkerweerd when he was a child, from his family of Maltese dressmakers. Ron van Maarschalkerweerd, on the other hand, had a background in economy and human resources management, but that didn’t stop him joining forces with Charles in Malta to set up their label. Maltese culture is integral to the brand DNA; national motifs are often used in fabric designs and embroidery, and traditional craft, like Maltese lace, appears regularly in the duo’s creations.
India: Artisan Khushboo
Khushboo helps to run a charity for homeless children, through a café / library set up by Amin Sheikh. The pair, who were previously street children themselves, use the café as a way to help feed and educate the kids. Charles & Ron have been supporting the venture for some time, and gave Khushboo an internship at their Maltese HQ last year, to teach her about the various crafts employed in their atelier. Back in India, Khushboo sources artisans to create bespoke pieces for Charles & Ron’s collections. The Commonwealth Fashion Exchange gown is scattered with beaded motifs that were supervised by Khushboo.
The story behind the look
Charles & Ron have created a look of Woolmark certified wool crepe, with a full, floor-length skirt embellished with beaded appliqué Maltese door-knockers. The coordinating blouse features Maltese lace, and a Maltese hand-tooled leather belt completes the look. 

Illustration of the dress

Inspiration from Maltese architecture

Charles & Ron took inspiration for their look from the streets of Malta.

Maltese door-knocker inspired embellishments

The floor-length skirt was embellished with beaded appliqué inspired by Maltese door-knockers.

The Maltese doorknockers were designed by Charles & Ron, then sent to artisan Khushboo in Mumbai.

Khushboo is a 24-year-old woman who oversees the creation of beading and embellishments through her network of local artisans.

Khushboo will select the craftsperson most suited to the various projects commissioned by Charles & Ron, then ensure that the quality is in keeping with the brand’s high standards

The coordinating blouse features Maltese lace.

A Maltese hand-tooled leather belt completes the look. 

Final look on display at Buckingham Palace, 19 February 2018

Final look on display at the Australian High Commission, London, 22 February 2018

Credits: Story

This content has been specifically curated for the Google Arts & Culture platform on behalf of the Commonwealth Fashion Exchange exhibition that launched on the 19th of February at Buckingham Palace in partnership with Swarovski, The Woolmark Company and MATCHESFASHION.COM.

The project, created and managed by Eco-Age, with the support of The Commonwealth Fashion Council and The British Fashion Council.

More information about the images is available by clicking on them.
Read more about the Commonwealth Fashion Exchange at http://eco-age.com/commonwealth-fashion-exchange/

Credits: All media
The story featured may in some cases have been created by an independent third party and may not always represent the views of the institutions, listed below, who have supplied the content.
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