It was while he was pursuing an MBA in Fashion Management in France that Maximiliano Modesti stumbled upon an extensive database of India’s crafts. Enamoured by the country’s rich textile heritage, he came to India first in 1993. Several trips followed which eventually set him off on a groundbreaking journey in preservation of Indian textile craftsmanship and changing the landscape of Indian fashion. In his Creative Mornings session, he talked about all this and more.
From working with the iconic Azzedine Alaïa to setting up his own embroidery and textile development firm Les Ateliers 2M in Mumbai in 1998, showcasing an illustrious list of clients such as Isabel Marant, Chloé, Hermès, Dior, Balmain, YSL, and Bibhu Mohapatra, Modesti's story is one of steadfast vision, and a touch of serendipity.
Maximiliano works with Indian embroidery and textile artisans to create works of art for discerning clients both in India and abroad. His deep knowledge of Indian crafts and textiles helped cement a continued collaboration with France’s most prestigious brands. Maximiliano Modesti employs a few hundred artisans across three units in Bombay, Thane and Lucknow.
"I came here without any preconceived ideas, I didn’t know what I was going to find. It almost grew organically. There was no master plan, there was no marketing plan. There was just a desire to understand and master crafts. And also a vision that if you are able to do both then you can create that something others can’t create."
In 2016, Maximiliano Modesti established the Lucknow Design Trust, a non-profit entity dedicated to the recognition of luxury craft excellence in India. In December 2016, the trust opened the Kalhath Institute, its first-ever craft excellence centre, in the city of Lucknow, UP, for the purpose of assessing and up-skilling homegrown artisans to international practice levels. In October 2018, the Kalhath Institute was awarded the Sangeeta Jindal Prize for Excellence in contemporary craft. In collaboration with the Central Government of India, the institute plans to establish the first-ever embroidery craft certification in India.
In 2013, Modesti, along with Yash Agarwal, co-founded Jaipur Modern, a concept store housing some of India’s most promising designers.