Priyanka Chopra wears Vivienne Westwood to Royal Wedding, controversy ensues

The Bollywood celebrity Priyanka Chopra wore a Vivienne Westwood suit to the Royal Wedding this week, followed by a Dior gown for the reception, and a fierce online debate ensued.

Priyanka Chopra's look was called a "royal disaster" by some and "radiant" by others - Priyanka Chopra- Facebook

At the Royal Wedding, as Prince Harry wed his American bride Meghan Markle, actress Priyanka Chopra attended in a custom lavender Vivienne Westwood suit paired with a Philip Treacy hat. Chopra was styled by Mimi Cuttrell to fit the event’s dress code. International publications were overwhelmingly positive about Chopra’s sartorial choices, with Harpers Bazaar’s Lauren Alexis Fisher writing: “Is it even legal to look this good as a guest at your friend's wedding? She is the actual definition of ‘radiant’.” However, back home in India, the response was mixed indeed.

Comments in India ranged from remarks over her decision not to wear an Indian designer or saree to the wedding, many feeling that she had “sold out” or let her country down to remarks “trolling” her appearance. L Arun Dhir wrote on the Daily O that the look was a “royal disaster” and opined that she had failed her country on an important occasion and was trying to be “white”. Dhir also denounced the aesthetics of the look as did many on social media.

However, Poulomi Ghosh retorted in another article on the Daily O that “Shame Priyanka Chopra can’t wear what she wants,” calling the look “on point”. Ghosh also highlighted the reason that this controversy is different from usual fan outrage.

Members of India’s fashion industry were also joining in the debate. The Founder and President of the Dastkari Haat Samiti (a weavers’ association), Jaya Jaitly, stated on her Instagram that Chopra was not representing a “free India” as she elected not to wear a saree.

Priyanka Chopra had attended the Royal Wedding as a friend of the bride Meghan Markle and not in any official capacity. However, as one of India’s most internationally recognised celebrities thanks to her global acting roles, many fans at home perceived her to be representing their country at a global event. Sarees were worn by other Indian guests at the wedding, however, including guests Suhani Jalota, Archana Ambre, Deborah Das, and Imogen Mansfield but, as they are lesser well known, it was Chopra who was seen online as India’s representative.

Given the cultural importance of Bollywood in India and its close ties with the country’s fashion industry, it is unsurprising that Chopra’s decision to wear non-Indian designers for the occasion did not go unnoticed, especially as Bollywood stars and fashion designers become increasingly visible online.

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