The G20 summit has almost come to a close with foreign dignitaries, from all over the world, serving us with key political milestones and undeniably noteworthy fashion moments. An event that had most of the world’s eyes on India would require all dignitaries and their spouses to have their fashion game on point. Not only did UK’s Prime Minister Rishi Sunak’s wife, Akshata Murty, prove she was up to the task, but she also set fashion goals for all first ladies visiting India. Her wardrobe grabbed the headlines ever since she stepped foot on Indian soil for the G20 summit. The elegant pieces selected for the various occasions of the summit may have been modest in appearance but each was cleverly styled to speak volumes about either their Indian connection, traditional craftsmanship, or slow, sustainable fashion.
At last night’s G20 dinner hosted by President Droupadi Murmu at the Bharat Mandapam, Akshata picked a long-sleeved, floral-printed, midi dress made of silk georgette. With an ankle-length tiered skirt, fitted at the waist, the vibrant outfit incorporated the fresh natural colours of coral pink, sky blue and mint green. She accentuated her look with a pair of statement diamond dangling earrings, a few rings, and a golden clutch. While the style of this scoop-neck, multi-coloured outfit alone could hold one’s attention, the story behind its creation was likely why Akshata picked it for the occasion. The one-piece is a Saloni label which is a brand run by a London-based designer of Indian origin. Saloni facilitates Connecting For India which is a community that links “ancient Indian craft tradition with contemporary horizons through collaborative projects.”
Earlier in the day, at a millet exhibition at the Indian Agricultural Research Institute the G20 Spouses Programme hosted by Kyoko, the wife of India’s External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar, Akshata picked a lilac “Valli” dress from the shelves of Manimekala, a made-to-order small British-Indian slow fashion brand. It featured a signature marbling print on soft organic cotton, billowing puff sleeves, and an A-line skirt with a floaty tiered hem and pockets. According to the half-Indian, half-British founder and designer, Manimekala Fuller, “the Valli dress is a feminine twist on a classic shirt style.” Manimekala shared a series of posts expressing her gratitude to the First Lady. ” I’m very proud that as a woman of Indian origin, Akshata is using her platform to highlight female-owned brands, both those based in India and across the diaspora, like Manimekala. It’s also wonderful that she is choosing smaller labels that create in a sustainable and ethical way, promoting a slower and more considered approach to fashion.”
On the very first day of her arrival, she wore an orange co-ord set from the Indian brand Drawn, known as the “Wild Iris” set. Drawn is a ready-to-wear independent fashion brand based in India “with a focus on conscious consumption, a preorder shopping model to regulate production and limited runs of wearable art.”
Also on the trip, Akshata Murty and the UK Prime Minister visited the Akshardham temple in New Delhi. They participated in a puja and other rituals and later interacted with the pujaris. Akshata kept her look simple in a magenta-pink and green salwar suit. The gree kurta featured floral motifs and came with a magenta-pink dupatta and palazzo pants.
Akshata’s very first outfit from the trip also caused quite a stir. She wore a crisp white button-down tucked which was tucked into a long brown skirt with floral prints which added a dash of colour to the otherwise understated outfit. She paired the ensemble with nude pumps.
After making a splash with her indo-western attire over the weekend, the first lady bid the country goodbye in a fully ethnic, soft pink cotton saree with gold cross-border embellishments and motifs. She accessorised minimally with danglers and her hair was pulled back in a neat bun.
Stronger together. Stronger united 🇬🇧🇮🇳
Thank you @narendramodi for a historic G20 and the Indian people for such a warm welcome.
From global food security to international partnerships, it’s been a busy but successful summit. pic.twitter.com/Bz1az3i2Xr
— Rishi Sunak (@RishiSunak) September 10, 2023
Akshata Murty is well acquainted with fashion has both a diploma from the Fashion Institute of Design & Merchandising and a well-established fashion label, under her belt. She set up her brand, Akshata Designs, with the intention of highlighting Indian craftsmanship and textile traditions. It’s no wonder that she has a penchant for picking just the right look to fit even the grandest of occasions, such as this and making a larger point by supporting worthy causes while she’s at it.
(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a press release)