The woman
who introduced
Indian fashion
to France


A fashionista at heart, young Mohanjeet wore unique dresses such as self-designed sarees with collared shirts, mismatched pair of socks, and abstract geometric prints

In 1952, Mohanjeet travelled to the US for a Master's in Political Science. While working for the UN, she once travelled to Paris for a UNESCO project

There, someone mistook her as an Israeli as she was wearing a saree. This triggered Mohanjeet to introduce Indian clothing to the world

Driven by her passion for fashion, she loaned 10,000 francs from her friends and set up a store on Rue de Bac in Paris

Called “La Malle de l’Inde”, or The Indian Trunk, she brought trunk-loads of Indian textiles into France which soon took the world’s fashion capital by storm

She started designing red coolie shirts and pocketed vests for men and then went on to sell white ‘chikankari’ kurtas from Lucknow and khadi kurtas

Her bold mini-sari with the hemline above the knee became popular among French women back in 1967

Later her gold-rimmed dhotis styled as wraparounds put her creations on the pages of top fashion magazines such as Vogue, Elle and Cosmopolitan

Her fuchsia silk ‘gharara’ got featured in the opening pages of Vogue

Actresses Jane Fonda, Cameron Diaz and many more wore her creations for leading magazines

In 2021, she was awarded the ‘Medal of Honor of the 6th district Mairie du 6e arrondissement de Paris’

Written by: Sakshi Batra
Designed by: Mohsin Shaikh
Produced by: Bhoomika Aggarwal 

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