Global Desire

A sneak peek at some of the objects in the ROM’s renowned chintz collection

For the first time in 50 years, many of the ROM’s world-renowned Indian chintz textiles and fashions will step out of their collection rooms and move into the galleries. Two companion exhibitions—The Cloth That Changed the World: India’s Painted and Printed Cottons and Florals: Desire and Design—celebrate the far-reaching influences of this vividly coloured cotton cloth.

From eighteenth-century European dresses to twenty-first–century Indian saris, the garments on display reflect the ingenuity, skill, and enduring legacy of artisans who finessed the art of dyeing and designing cotton in bright and durable shades—a mastery that had widespread influence and impact. While Indian chintz sparked a global fashion craze, the extraordinarily high demand for the cloth led to new manufacturing methods, ushering in the Industrial Revolution. The fashions and fabrics on display tell the many fascinating stories of how Indian chintz has connected the world and its revival in the world of fashion today.