THE ZHIVALIAN

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ZHIVALIAN THE

ISSUE I | INDIA EDITION | APRIL - JUNE 2016

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THE

ZHIVALIAN

| COVER ILLUSTRATION: YUEMING QU |

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5



THE

ZHIVALIAN

explore

india

art

fashion

EDITOR’S LETTER CONTRIBUTORS

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THE CHOSEN ONES UNLOCK SS16 THE SEVENTIES REMIX THE FUTURE IS NOW SPACE TRIBE TRINKET TREASURES BEAUTY SPOT MIRROR MIRROR ON THE WALL

14 20 34 46 50 62 70 76

BOTTICELLI REIMAGINED CHAMBA MINIATURE PAINTINGS VAN GOGH’S MODERN MUSE

80 84 86

TRUE INDIAN LUXE BANJAARAN: A NOMAD’S ODYSSEY THE GREAT INDIAN RETAIL THERAPY AMAZON INDIA FASHION WEEK SS16 MAKE IN INDIA HEMANT AND NANDITA EKA SHREYA DEV DUBE NIKITA SAHAY HATS OFF ACCESSORIES

100 108 110 118 122 125 128 131 136 138

BEHIND THE SEAMS AT FASHION WEEK

145

TRAVEL WITH THE FABRICS NORTH SOUTH EAST WEST

157 162 170 175

PROJECT REINVENT

180

ADDRESSES

184

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THE

ZHIVALIAN Editor’s

LETTER

A GLOBAL CELEBRATION The inaugural issue of The Zhivalian celebrates fashion and its omnipresent quality one destination a time. Shedding light on art, fashion and culture of underrated destinations, each edition wants to represent and recognise flourishing talent often overpowered by the influential West. The luxury quarterly is refreshing exclusive with an eye for untold stories, accompanied by a minimalistic graphic structure that comes to life with hand-drawn illustrations. The platform showcases talent from likely destinations and celebrates them at global heights. Amidst a parallel universe, not far from western civilisation exists a country with an abundance of hidden luxuries. Decadence in every creative art form, whether history, arts, architecture or textiles, the testament indeed lies in its heritage. Like many upcoming countries, India is not given the same stature and representation in global fashion as opposed to the conventional conglomerates. At the same time, it is home to a billion citizens that contribute to this gargantuan industry. Such complex dichotomies are what the ‘India issue explores with the cover story themed ‘True Indian Luxe’. Our cover shoot was an innovative amalgam of fashion illustration and photography.

The Zhivalian’s ‘Fashion’ section explores the latest trends in a playful narration, balanced with a thoughtful perspective on current global issues such as racial diversity and fashion’s battle with technology. Featuring some of the most promising talents of the country, The Zhivalian interviewed global sensations Hemant and Nandita, the classically minimalist label Eka, Shreya Dev Dube- the first Indian photographer and filmmaker to exhibit her work at the Girls Only program and rising Indian supermodel Nikita Sahay. Discover the warp and weft of the country where distinct textiles have established themselves for generations. From the highlands of the north to the shores of the south, ‘Travel with Fabrics’ is the perfect guide to wander into regions of abundant technique. With a vast poetry of textiles, you’d probably need several editions to discover all that there is to showcase.

To have solely directed the entire magazine as a one-woman army was perhaps my biggest accomplishment to date. For the Zhivalian to have featured such extensive global collaborating talents from New York to New Delhi, it subtly reflected the ethos of the magazine to promote and celebrate talent wherever it may be. SHEFALI JUDELINE JAUHAR Editor-in-Chief


CONTRIBUTORS ILLUSTRATORS AMBIKA CHITRANSHI ANILA JUNAID KANUPRIYA LAL MEHANDEE MEERA DUREJA YUEMING QU OLIVIA ZHAO

PHOTOGRAPHERS HEATHER BOSTOCK KRYSTAN-GRACE SHARPE-YOUNG

MODELS HANNAH-LOUISE FORGHAM HAYLEY MOSS LIBBY KENT LYDIA JONES MARLENA CHMAL MEGAN HUNT NADINE DE NAOMI LEIGHTON NEETIKA SHARMA STACEY BOURNES

HAIR AND MAKEUP ALICE SNELL CARA-MARIE LIPPITT CAROLINE KENT KATHRYN ZHAN RY AROOS MUA

ACCESSORIES BEHIND THE RED DOOR

LOCATION COURTESY PITCHER & PIANO

OTHERS GESU SETH MASSIH AZAD PARTH SHARMA VRINDA ARORA 9



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f FASHION

THE CHOSEN ONES UNLOCK SS16 THE SEVENTIES REMIX THE FUTURE IS NOW THE SPACE TRIBE TRINKET TREASURES BEAUTY SPOT RACIAL DIVERSITY

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SS 2016

FASHION

the

chosen ones

THE LOOK THE DETAILS DECADENT DANGLERS THE IT-BAG FANCY FEET PRINTS PLEASE

| TEXT: SHEFALI J. JAUHAR | ILLUSTRATIONS: YUEMING QU |


THE LOOK

Drift in the summer breeze with a billowy chiffon and lace top paired with a red ribbon neck tie, signature to Alessandro Michele’s geek-chic vision at GUCCI. 15


FASHION

<><> <> > < ><>< <><> <> > < ><>< <><> <> THE DETAILS Taking textural dimension to another level, RAHUL MISHRA displayed the finest of craftsmanship with intricate details, a structured silhouette, and highly tailored garment.


DECADENT DANGLERS Sway to the Latino beat with daring crystal danglers to accompany with OSCAR DE LA RENTA.

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FASHION

TH EI Ac T-B FE risp ND wh AG effo I add ite ba s g rtle

a ss f sens by ine e o sse f .

Bri

ng

som

ee

dge

FA NC to yo Y ur

ste

FE ET ith sa

pw

nd

als

by R

ICK

OW E

NS

.


PRINTS PLEASE Blurred florals for spring certainly sounds groundbreaking as JASON WU infuses an element of printed abstraction with bright contrasts of colour.

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FASHION

Add

SP R I NG to your step

as the season embraces the old with the new, something familiar yet foreign with a reminiscence for long-lost grandeur.


S S

UNLOC

K

6

2 01

| TEXT AND GRAPHIC: SHEFALI J. JAUHAR | IMAGES: VOGUE UK |

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THE FASHION

DOLCE & GABBANA

Flaunting the ankle has never felt so good as cropped trousers in tapered and loose silhouettes incorporated modern ease on the runway. Ditch full-length pants and don them to work for understated elegance like Theory and Diane von Furstenberg.

NEW

RALPH LAUREN

FOR THEORY


MAL HERMES

DIANE VON FURSTENBERG

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FASHION

CARVEN

E R E S JILL SANDER


ST EL LA MC CA RT NE Y

Y T

I N CHRISTIAN DIOR

Designers inevitably chose their colours wisely as the official Pantone shade of 2016 was the prevailing mood of the season. Feel blue? Not with this cool tone. The striking contrasts by Jill Sander, the architectural wonder at Dior and uber-cool co-ords at Stella McCartney, all brought a fresh breath to fashion. 25


FASHION

T L G T PACO RABANNE

PHILIPP PLEIN

Prepare to channel your inner magpie as this trend proves that all that glitters could be gold. Sequins and shine came in an array of styles and silhouette. Sparkle like a disco ball with Naeem Khan, go sporty with Libertine or opt for 90’s chic with slip dresses by Saint Laurent.


**

A ER TI

*

** *

*

SAINT LAURENT

VERA WANG

NAEEM KHAN

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Romance

FASHION

DA K


Haunting shadows cast their spell on spring as dark florals added drama on the runway. They were featured in romantic billowy dresses, tailored suits and skirts. If you dare, don bold red lips like Jenny Packham and Oscar de la Renta or keep it subtle like Dries Van Noten, Erdem and Gucci.

DRIES VAN NOTEN

KATE SPADE

ERDEM

GUCCI

ERDEM

OSCAR DE LA RENTA

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FASHION

SCULPTED Futuristic architectural constructions challenged extant creations this season. While Rahul Mishra elevated handcrafted garments to a three-dimensional level, JW Anderson’s recognisable silhouette featured leg of mutton sleeves. Shoulders accentuated, this was the latest update of power-dressing.


SHOULDERS ISSEY MIYAKE

JW ANDERSON

RAHUL MISHRA

CHANEL

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FASHION

miss

MERVEILLEUSE

GIAMBATTISTA VALLI

ERDEM

MICHAEL KORS

ALEXANDER MCQUEEN

VALENTINO

Indulge in the decadence of the belle-époque Parisian era with frills, feathers lace and ruffles. Float like a butterfly with Giambattista Valli and Michael Kors. Pamper yourself in the finest of craftsmanship with Erdem or even travel far and wide with Valentino.


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FASHION

THE SEVENTIES REMIX The tale of three contrasts.

| FASHION DIRECTION: SHEFALI J. JAUHAR | | PHOTOGRAPHY: KRYSTAN-GRACE SHARPE-YOUNG | | MAKEUP ARTISTRY: CARA-MARIE LIPPITT | | MODELS: HAYLEY MOSS, MEGAN HUNT, NADINE DE | | LOCATION COURTESY: PITCHER & PIANO | | SPECIAL THANKS FOR ACCESSORIES TO BEHIND THE RED DOOR |


| HAYLEY WEARS A WHITE PEASANT BLOUSE AND A SUEDE EMBROIDERED SKIRT BY H&M. JEWELLERY BY DANSK SMYKKEKUNST | MEGAN WEARS A CRINKLED KIMONO BY H&M COACHELLA COLLECTION OVER A BROWN TOP BY BERSHKA. FRINGE BACKPACK BY URBAN OUTFITTERS. EMBELLISHED ROUND SHADES BY KONPLOTT | NADINE WEARS A SUEDE V-NECK BY ATMOSPHERE AND A BLACK SKIRT BY H&M WITH FAUX SUEDE ANKLE BOOTIES. CLUTCH BY BEHIND THE RED DOOR |

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| NADINE WEARS A RUST JACKET BY WITH AMBER JEWELLERY BY KONPLOTT | | HAYLEY WEARS A BEIGE PONCHO BY C&A WITH JEWELLERY BY DANSK SMYKKEKUNST |

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| MEGAN WEARS A WINE PEASANT TOP BY H&M. | | NADINE WEARS A WINE MIDI-DRESS BY H&M. JEWELLERY BY DANSK SMYKKEKUNST. |

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| HAYLEY WEARS A PASTEL BLUE CHIFFON TOP BY VERO MODA OVER A BLACK SKIRT BY H&M . JEWELLERY BY DANSK SMYKKEKUNST |


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| NADINE WEARS A FLORAL BLUE DRESS BY H&M. JEWELLERY BY DANSK SMYKKEKUNST. |


FASHION

THE

FUTURE IS

NOW

Fashion’s perplexing battle with technology.

| TEXT: SHEFALI J. JAUHAR | ILLUSTRATION: AMBIKA CHITRANSHI |


her day, Coco Chanel led the trail with machine-made lace in the 1930s.

A revolutionary figure in fashion to dive into the unchartered waters of technology is designer Iris Van Herpen. Placing innovation on a higher pedestal, she advocates that as long as style elevates as art, technique: handmade or machine made does not matter. Having collaborated with scientists and artists, she continues to explore the other dimension of the industry with unique materials and techniques. Her collections combine Technology in the realm of fashion the finest technology with the highest has always been given the stink eye degree of craftsmanship, which despite partly due to the singular vision that having an avant-garde appeal do not fashion is all about being exclusivity, seem out of place. an indirect reference to the dreaded world of fast-fashion. It has driven by With the world growing more the conventional notion that handmade environmentally conscious than garments are personal and intimate, ever, organic innovations with the something that technology could never aid of technology are sweeping in a be thanks to its cold and mechanical whole new sustainable revolution. feel. The zeitgeist of today challenges Biocouture is one of the first design that and believes the two can coexist to consultancies of its kind to bridge produce the highest form of craft and biological materials and fashion into innovation. a wearable form of clothing. Everyday items like green tea, sugar, acetic acid Questioning this ongoing dichotomy, were brewed together with yeast and MANUS X MACHINA exhibited at the bacteria to create stunning garments of Metropolitan Museum of Art in New clothing that could be stitched. There York explored how fashion designers is an absolute need to be adaptive have seamlessly blended machine- and progressive in the industry, made and handcrafted techniques to something that can only attain through create the finest in couture and ready- innovation. The acceptance is slow, but to-wear, a fine line which is slowly the only way to the future. When one diminishing. The tastefully curated looks up the definition of ‘technology’ exhibit displayed both traditional and in the Oxford Dictionary, it states “The unconventional forms of haute couture application of scientific knowledge with planned installations. for practical purposes, especially in The concept truly resonates when one industry”. With fashion being a multilooks at the showcased ornate wedding faceted percolation of ideas, science gown designed by none other than and technology can lend hands to the Karl Lagerfeld. Having carried Chanel’s industry. legacy for decades, the designer proved change is the only constant to drive the The waves of change display a growing industry forward in Chanel Couture shift in mindset that fashion and 2014-2015. The Baroque-inspired technology are not that poles apart. wedding gown translated a hand- With fashion surging ahead with drawn sketch by Karl onto a computer collections, year after year after year, it to design a pixelated pattern which is important to rethink the concept of would then be hand-finished with clothing and to dare to innovate with pearls and other embellishments on new ideas, not build upon notions that the synthetic scuba knit dress. Back in have been the same for over a century.

With high-end technology infused with traditional mediums, fashion is at an exciting precipice that challenges the conventional outlook of handmade and its aversion to technology.

I

n the ever-pacing Millenial Age, fashion has never witnessed such dramatic change since the discovery of the sewing machine in 1790. With high-end technology infused with traditional mediums, it is at an exciting precipice that challenges the conventional outlook of handmade and its aversion to technology. A few iconic designers and centuries later, the divide between fashion and technology seems to diminish, questioning the highest form of art viz couture from ready-towear. Is technology all that bad?

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“

FASHION

is about suspense and fantasy, it is not about rules. WOLFGANG JOOP


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| ILLUSTRATION: AMBIKA CHITRANSHI |


SPACE TRIBE

Channel your inner-metallic goddess. | FASHION DIRECTION: SHEFALI J. JAUHAR | | PHOTOGRAPHY: HEATHER BOSTOCK | | MAKEUP ARTISTRY: CAROLINE KENT | | HAIR STYLIST: RY AROOS MUA | | MODELS: MARLENA CHMAL, STACEY BOURNES, NADINE DE | | SPECIAL THANKS FOR ACCESSORIES TO BEHIND THE RED DOOR |


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| MARLENA WEARS PETRA & PORTIA COLLECTION BY DANSK SMYKKEKUNST. | | STACEY WEARS SPRING COLLECTION BY DANSK SMYKKEKUNST. |


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| NADINE WEARS PI COLLECTION BY DANSK SMYKKEKUNST. |


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| MARLENA WEARS SPRING COLLECTION BY DANSK SMYKKEKUNST. |


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| STACEY WEARS REPTILE METEOR COLLECTION BY KONPLOTT. |


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| NADINE WEARS PAULA COLLECTION BY DANSK SMYKKEKUNST. |


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FASHION

Spruce up and sprinkle some accessory stunners of SS16. | TEXT AND GRAPHICS: SHEFALI J. JAUHAR | ILLUSTRATIONS: ANILA JUNAID |


T

T TRINKET

TREASURES

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FASHION

CHUNKY MONKEY

Statement chunkies challenged banal designs with bold expressions. These Suis Generis pieces invite all those who dare and are willing to choose from a range of aesthetics. Ferragamo’s sleek and refined design, Prada’s futuristic odyssey, Missoni’s eccentric asymmetries or Dolce & Gabbana’s luscious lemons, plunge into the deeper end.

DOLCE & GABBANA


CO S

MI

C

G

IN CALL

Aim for the stars and beyond as designers teleport you to the future. Sleek, steely designs like Louis Vuitton’s time travelling saga is a brilliant accompaniment while metallic interlocking Cs at Chanel proved that some designs are timeless beyond their era.

A AD

PR

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FASHION

2>1

The more, the merrier seemed essential this season as designers didn’t mind layering adornment upon adornment. A penchant for natural rocks spotted on the runways of Alexis Mabille and Giambattista Valli. Gucci’s bright neckpiece possessed a tribal spirit. Alexis Mabille’s embellishments certainly stunned amongst all for its harmonised hand and neck pieces.

GIAMBATTISTA VALLI


HOOPS

&

L OO PS

r cula . r i c ic ys lass ary wa s c d r op te pre tempo e of lo go r e t n in to gu co igns e and n a lea opted in a s e d u with ld ern ok o nchy uniq Mod gns in retti to t. Give sitions lli wou i u des rta Fer d layo Compo d Cava lass. c e n e Alb a tier inimal. one a metry B h o t m e wi yet Rag & ck to g d l a e o b ik ars b le l circ you ye take

GIVENCHY

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FASHION

IN SHACKLES

Spring Summer 2016 certainly has a particular fetish for all things metals linked. Alexander McQueen’s and Calvin Klein’s cross-body chains sealed an air of harshness with the fragile; Wang infused his edgy take on the street with steely danglers.

ALEXANDER MCQUEEN


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FASHION


BEAUTY SPOT. This season, let the waves of simplicity sweep you off your feet with a refined yet nonchalant demeanour. | TEXT: SHEFALI J. JAUHAR | ILLUSTRATIONS: YUEMING QU |

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FASHION

I

BLUSH ME PINK! A soft feminine side was embraced this spring with glowing cheeks and tinted lips. Ralph Lauren, Paul Smith, Gucci, Roberto Cavalli, Salvatore Ferragamo joined the bandwagon of the subtle yet highly feminine look. With Rose Quartz being the Pantone shade of the year, the colour coordination was on point.

SALVATORE FERRAGAMO

RALPH LAUREN

II

PARTING WAYS A mood towards all things simple yet sophisticated took over the hairstyles at Prabal Gurung, Proenza Schouler, Victoria Beckham, Hermes, Vetements and Oscar de la Renta. While Hermes opted to go fuss-free with the natural mid-part trend, Victoria Beckham incorporated a slicker look.

OSCAR DE LA RENTA

GIVENCHY


III

BAT THAT LASH

MARC JACOBS

MARNI

Adding an element of oomph and exaggeration, long dramatic eyelashes made a bold statement on the runways of Louis Vuitton, Marc Jacobs, Sibling, Marni and Mary Katrantzou. From false graphic lashes at futuristic-themed Louis Vuitton to spidery lashes at Marni, the experimentation was endless.

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FASHION

IV

HEAVY METAL

CHANEL

PRADA

A splash of silver and gold made quite a heroic statement this season. From Chanel’s flying expedition, Prada’s bold gold lip to Galliano’s vision for Margiela, there were some dramatic elements on the runway. Designers like Diane von Furstenberg, Sonia Rykiel and Manish Arora also opted for metallics this season.


V

BANG BANG!

VERA WANG

The youthful hair trend was significant this spring on the runways of Kenzo, Roksanda, Jenny Packham, Vera Wang and Saint Laurent. Bangs accompanied with mid-length hair seemed to possess sass this season. From choppy bangs at Vera Wang to asymmetric ones at Jenny Packham, one could get spoilt for choice with the variety offered.

MARC JACOBS

VI

COME UNDONE A major transition from two centuries ago, this hair trend speaks the less effort, the better. Fussfree hair adds ease to the modern aesthetic that inclined towards simplicity. Dolce & Gabbana with an effortless bun, Rag & Bone’s windswept hair, and Bottega Veneta’s low-tied pony proved that fashion can be nonchalant sometimes. ■ DOLCE & GABBANA ROCHAS

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FASHION

MIRROR RORRIM ON THE WALL Is fashion diverse after all?


“It is as though to say we are slaves to the age-old notions of western beauty that has permeated art, history, and culture for centuries.”

W

| TEXT AND GRAPHIC: SHEFALI J. JAUHAR |

e belong the era where the world is one global village, where one’s ethnicity blurs the dominance of a particular skin type and holds no restriction to where he/she lives. We celebrate diversity in everyday life, the freedom we enjoy thanks to the struggles of our forefathers. If fashion is the reflection of our times, it is it is rather perplexing to see the lack of representation on the runway. It is as though to say we might be physically free but mentally shackled to the age-old notions of western beauty that has permeated art, history, and culture for centuries. Over the years, the issue has become a subject of prominence, and if one still snubs it as just another public outcry, there’s a Diversity Report to prove a point. According to The Fashion Spot’s Diversity Report, 24.75% were “models of colours” in AW’16, a term used for non-white or mixed backgrounds. For every designer willing to represent a diverse range of models, several others are averse to do the same. Demna Gvasalia’s debut show at Balenciaga showcased 43 white models out of 44. A little improvement from 20.6%, these were the mixed-diversity figures for SS’15. What’s worse is that these representations are being reflected from the catwalk to magazine stands, advocating a separate identity. The issue stems from a complex labyrinth of discriminatory ideologies created by the four “fashion meccas” With the western world being key influencers of fashion themselves (another discrimination in itself), it stems from the basic human psychology of accepting those who appear similar to one’s kind. But with the rising wealth amongst minority groups, such a tradition should be deemed obsolete. With the luxury market’s 2% growth from last year, it is being consumed slightly more than ever before. An abundance of luxury brands emphasise on a singular vision derived from the roots of heritage, but what they need to go. This stoneage ideal demand changes. With fashion’s internal snobbish affair of isolation, it makes the efforts all the more dismal.

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FASHION

India is another land of many paradoxes. The land of amber skin ironically embraces foreign models by trying to keep up with the west. Beauty creams for fairer skin sell like hot cakes. White models replace dusky Indians in ad campaigns and editorials. For a few that promote it, many overlook it. While working backstage at one of India’s most prominent fashion weeks, a then upcoming now established model remarked how the hair and makeup team would not have the right shade of makeup for her skin tone, making her two shades lighter or darker. Continents apart, the issue still holds relevance and is a common issue among many models of colour. The legendary supermodel, Naomi Campbell witnessed the same in her earlier days. According to the statistics of Business of Fashion, 2.3 percent of models showcased belonged to India and the Middle East. Two Indian models pushing the boundaries of Indian acceptance are Bhumika Arora and Pooja Mor. Walking alongside the crème de ma crème of the industry, they have managed to feature in some of the most prominent shows of the season. All hope not lost for change seems to be the perfect constant to this ever-pacing industry. The percentages are dwindling but at a snail’s pace. With conscious efforts by designers and an increased awareness of the global market consumers, there should be a shift in beauty ideals at a broader level. It takes a little revolution by fashion’s revolutionaries to sweep in change for more racial acceptance.


a T R A

BOTTICELLI REIMAGINED CHAMBA MINIATURE PAINTINGS VAN GOGH MODERN MUSE

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ART

he rose,

he fell,

and he was rediscovered.


BOTTICELLI REIMAGINED | TEXT: SHEFALI J. JAUHAR |

| IMAGES (ROW-WISE): MQCD FRANCE ONLINE, CONSEQUENCE OF SOUND ONLINE, BOTTICELLI RENAISSANCE ONLINE, THE UPCOMING UK, WWD ONLINE |

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ART

T

he irony of becoming so famous that one day you’d be forgotten and rediscovered 300 years later is above me. An Italian painter so acclaimed, he was involved in the adornment of the Sistine Chapel in Rome. But such was the high and low world of Sandro Botticelli. The Victoria & Albert Museum exhibition went beyond his glorious (and forgotten) work and showed in his death, a birth of new interpretations in fashion, design, sculpture, and print.

printed dress raised the notion of ‘ideal female beauty’ with the depiction of Venus and the ironic effect of massreplication of the priceless painting for the sake of consumerism.

With Sandro’s singular vision of female beauty ideals, Chinese artist Yin Xin reimagines and challenges the concept of western aesthetics in art through an oriental version called “Venus, After Botticelli. The painting still holds relevance concerning representing women diversity and celebrating the The epitome of beauty, Botticelli’s differences, rather than isolating them, Venus from the “Birth of Venus” became especially on the runways. such a pedestal of feminine beauty that her features were imitated by artist In the sphere of music, one of the most alike. History proves fashion’s love for recognised talents, Lady Gaga features classical art translated into a wearable on the cover of her ‘Artpop’ album as piece of clothing. Elsa Schiaparelli’ s Venus. It was a surreal abstraction of evening gowns from her Fall Winter beauty, eternity and the quest for taste 1938 collection inspired by Flora’s as depicted in “Birth of Venus”. gown which featured in the Birth of Venus. A delicate silhouette with floral Botticelli’s work inspired famous photographer David thread work, it was reminiscent of the American LaChapelle, a man with an affinity lush wreath worn around the neck. towards art history and social themes. Italian designers Dolce & Gabbana It possessed a similar disconnecting delved into their Italian history with sense with his subjects and their a social message on the runway. The environment. “Rebirth of Venus” was

a kitsch-pop surrealist expression and translocated fine art into the world of pop art. He was at the tender age of 17 when he became the photographer for Interview Magazine, a job offered by the pop art mogul, none other than Andy Warhol.

Andy Warhol himself reinterpreted the goddess of love through bright colour schemes of four screenprints. Capturing the classic beauty’s hair and face, he reinvented Venus to celebrity status alongside Marilyn Monroe. He represented the power of American Idol worship equivalent to her holiness.

These replications and reinterpretations boil down to the broader consciousness created by the classical artist; once a legend, he was nearly forgotten. His use of symbolism and its relevance to popular culture is what leaves doors open for reinterpretations by creatives as a means of expression. Botticelli Reimagined displayed the transcendence of his artworks and the chain-effect of thought-processes it had on creatives. ■


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| ILLUSTRATION: AMBIKA CHITRANSHI |


ART

origin/ inspiration/ technique/ art to craft

CHAMBA MINIATURE PAINTINGS Aloof from the city life and isolated in lush greenery lies Chamba, one of the oldest ruled states of North India. An important place of art and worship, it was one of the primary centres of Pahari miniature paintings, a style refined by the independent states of the Himalayan foothills. The paintings of Chamba include both small forms and murals. Rulers of the 17th century, such as Raja Udai Singh and Raja Jai Singh were lovers of art and patronised artists in their courts. Their passion for the arts led to the flourishing of a particular aesthetic that became very Suis Generis of Chamba in the coming generations.

Being a holy town by the river with a bounty of temples, Hindu mythology, love scenes, nature and women inspired the paintings. The season of monsoon with an ambience of romance has been a popular subject by artists and done in a variety of styles and moods.

Mughal influences regarding architecture display in Chamba miniatures. Fine linear skills with intricate details speak patience yet naturalness. The method lacks perspective, and the background is usually painted flat. Striking contrasts of colours along with ornate decoration is another essential characteristic of this style of painting. The colours in command are usually bright red and blue. Triangular herbage usually tops trees. The human form is stylised where female figures are rather charming. Inspired by the miniature style of Pahari paintings, the ‘Chamba rumaal’ is an innovative pictorial embroidery done on a handspun cloth with a silk thread. Classic shades of this craft include purple, parrot green, dark green, lemon, bright orange and pink, deep red-brown, ultramarine and Persian blue, black and white. A collaboration between craftsman and painters, the process, begins with a charcoal outline by a trained miniature artist, followed by the colour palette to be incorporated and ending with the actual embroidering process by the women along the sketches made by the artists. The embroidery is reversible due to its double satin stitch. Favourite motifs include Indian flora and fauna. It is a quintessential gift at a traditional wedding. â–


| TEXT: SHEFALI J. JAUHAR | IMAGE AND INPUTS: VRINDA ARORA | IMAGE EDIT: PARTH SHARMA |

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VAN GOGH'S MODERN MUSE With each look, explore the artist’s quest for beauty through vibrant tones and florals. | FASHION DIRECTION: SHEFALI J. JAUHAR | | PHOTOGRAPHY: KRYSTAN-GRACE SHARPE-YOUNG | | MAKEUP ARTISTRY: ALICE SNELL | | MODELS: HANNAH-LOUISE FORGHAM, NAOMI LEIGHTON, LIBBY KENT |

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THE STARRY NIGHT VASE WITH FIFTEEN SUNFLOWERS 89


VASE WITH PINK ROSES THE RED VINEYARD


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UNTITLED


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i INDIA

TRUE INDIAN LUXE BANJAARAN THE GREAT INDIAN RETAIL THERAPY AMAZON INDIA FASHION WEEK SS16 MAKE IN INDIA HEMANT AND NANDITA EKA SHREYA DEV DUBE NIKITA SAHAY HATS OFF ACCESSORIES

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TRUE INDIAN LUXE The rising tide of Indian talent. | FASHION DIRECTION: SHEFALI J. JAUHAR | | PHOTOGRAPHY: KRYSTAN-GRACE SHARPE-YOUNG | | ILLUSTRATIONS: MEHANDEE MEERA DUREJA | | MAKEUP ARTISTRY: RY AROOS MUA | | HAIR: KATHRYN ZHAN | | MODELS: LYDIA JONES, NEETIKA SHARMA | | ACCESSORIES: BEHIND THE RED DOOR |

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| ILLUSTRATION: YUEMING QU |


A

| TEXT: SHEFALI J. JAUHAR | IMAGE CREDITS: MEHANDEE MEERA DUREJA |

n upcoming destination with an estimated luxury market worth $18.3 billion (The Economic Times), India has established an emerging global presence like never before. Not only is it just progressing in the numbers game, but has also become a force to reckon within this billion dollar business. With a plethora of history, craftsmanship and resources to lean on, a multitude of designers are changing the face of contemporary Indian fashion and its market with rippling movements in their right in the country.

sportswear. However, how does India shine from the rest in its unique ways? Craft. “I prefer zero ornamentation as I feel laboriously crafted textiles will get corrupted by adding five more elements on it. The whole idea is to bring attention to the painstakingly woven fabric, its feel, and fall.” quotes Rina Singh, founder of Eka, for The Zhivalian. Celebrating textiles with a holistic approach to craft sustainability hits the nail on the head. Another leading pioneer, Rajesh Pratap Singh is an ambassador of Indian textiles and a master of minimalism with modernity. He is among the illustrious Indian designers to be featured on the Business Of Fashion A land of many contrasts, variety, is its spice of life as Top 500. Announced as India’s first wool ambassador in the Indian mindset is being swept away by an array of 2013 by The Woolmark Company, the Indian designer was philosophies that possess a perspective of global relevance. offered to promote the natural fibre across the country. India and its association with grandeur go back to centuries of ruled kingdoms, especially the Mughals. Their contribution With environmental sustainability making big waves and influence on art, culture and textile continue to be an globally, the art of taking things slow has certainly caught up inspiration source for several designers. By patronising in India. Recycling of resources has gone beyond childhood artisans, they helped them execute the highest degree do-it-yourself quirks and slowly transcended to mainstream of craftsmanship. The highly ornate textiles with ornate fashion. Indian designer, Amit Aggarwal is known for his embellishments were nothing short of couture. Despite play on forms and futurism. He explores everyday items so many centuries passed, the grandeur of great kings and morphs them into something unique. He belongs to and nobility still reverberates with India’s grand masters the Millenial league of designers that push boundaries by like Sabyasachi, Tarun Tahiliani and Rohit Bal. They have upcycling materials in innovation renditions never possibly managed to maintain the opulence of the Indian aesthetic imagined. His work won him international acclaim his in its highest form through the prominence of craft. With a Autumn Winter’2016 collection showcased at Paris Fashion rich historically cultural palette, Sabyasachi is known for his Week. From straw skirts to using polyethene bags to bindi sensitivity to textiles, yet reveals them in a modern context. sheets, he certainly proves that nothing is impossible. An Merging fashion and art, Rohit Bal’s vision of timelessness X-ray sequinned long coat by Rajesh Pratap Singh is just the and refined taste indeed translate in collections that are tip of the iceberg that displays the potential of upcycling by breathtakingly meticulous and draw influences from Indian designers. conventional mediums of designs for the ageless customer. The master of drapes and the first Indian to showcase his collection at Milan Fashion Week in 2003, Tarun Tahiliani’s The rising numbers of Indian designers gone international creations are a harmonious blend of the East and West. are slowly but surely growing. Designers like Manish Arora, These designers also cater to India’s bridal market and have Rahul Mishra, Ashish, Bibhu Mohapatra and Naeem Khan, become synonymous to Indian couture. As a country, India each with their unique aesthetic are the face of Indian fashion is often conveniently earmarked as just a bridal market; the that converges to become a global taste on the runway. fact is craftsmanship is truly India’s strongest identity. It is From dressing USA’s first lady (Naeem Khan) to winning the rather a matter of pride to don the highest form of luxury Woolmark Prize (Rahul Mishra), there is no bar too high for with an individualistic expression; embellishment whether Indian talent. Moving beyond the country’s exotic appeal, heavy or light is a question of taste. they are redefining the times with original collections for the global soul. It is just a matter of taking pride in sustaining these crafts and representing them in a global context. With Moving beyond the frills and embellishments stand a each state, there is a certain poetry through textiles being league of designers on the opposite poles who believe that passed on to generations. With a country so historically rich minimalism is maximalism. With fashion’s current drift and a pool of untapped talent, the future surely seems green towards simplicity, there is a particular affinity towards for a place as multiculturally diverse as India. ■ a relaxed aesthetic with a utilitarian approach through | NEETIKA WEARS TARUN TAHILIANI. JEWELLERY BY DANSK SMYKKEKUNST | | LYDIA WEARS AMIT AGGARWAL. EMBELLISHED ROUND SHADES AND JEWELLERY BY KONPLOTT |

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| NEETIKA WEARS EKA. JEWELLERY BY KONPLOTT |


| LYDIA WEARS RAHUL MISHRA. JEWELLERY BY KONPLOTT |

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A N O M A D’ S O D Y S S E Y BANJAARAN | TEXT: SHEFALI J. JAUHAR | IMAGE CREDITS: MEHANDEE MEERA DUREJA |

The Indian footwear label is a blend of cross-cultures with an international perspective in outlook but a local sentiment for Indian crafts. The handcrafted shoes have a universal sensibility as they look through the eyes of a wanderer.

For designer Mehandee Dureja, the inspiration lies within her roots, her love for handicrafts and a desire to promote it in a relevant manner. Her love for quirky accessories translates to shoe designs for people who want to keep their shoe game fun, edgy and unique. An array of crafts from block-printing, Indian embroidery to Batik dyeing is paired with fabric pairings to makes them edgy yet Indian at heart. Each design is exclusive with customization available where the wearer can involve himself in the design process.


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THE

GREAT

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THERAPY Indulgence, the truly Indian way. | TEXT AND COVER IMAGE: SHEFALI J. JAUHAR |

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DISCOVER DLF EMPORIO | GOOD EARTH | KAMA AYURVEDA | HIDESIGN | OGAAN | NEEL SUTRA | DELHI HAAT

EYES ON EXOTIC DLF EMPORIO

P

repare to get fixated by India’s finest luxury retail destination that boasts of over 54 international brands as well as 54 Indian designers, all under one roof. A modern blend of International and Indian, it speaks of culture with a global aesthetic. From handpicked luxury wedding invitations by The Entertainment Design Company to an indulgent drinking experience at SET’Z Bar, pamper your senses with the best of fashion, lifestyle and fine dining.


HOME DÉCOR GOOD EARTH

I

nspired by cultural heritage and all things Indian, the store is a treasure trove for any home décor addict. From cosy hand block quilts to natural products of body care and wellness, it is an extension of all things beautiful yet pure in form. Following the sustainability trail, the brand incorporates natural dyes and minimises the use of plastics in a packaging of a product. To complete the retail experience, the store has a dining experience with a menu leaning towards an organic lifestyle.

LEATHER WEATHER

LUXURY SKINCARE

HIDESIGN

KAMA AYURVEDA

T

he ultimate form of luxury skincare, the brand sources its organic ingredients from authentic regions of India. With purity being the key essence of the brand, this is the ultimate satiation for the skin. These can be ideal gifts for friends and family to take back for the holidays. For any skin concerns, there is an Ayurvedic doctor available for consultations thrice a week at any store.

T

he leading Indian leather company has not only been just an Indian success but been an international phenomenon for its range of high-quality products. A truly ‘Made In India’ product, this lifestyle leather brand has been on the market for over 35 years. Hidesign stocks in leading departmental stores worldwide including Debenhams, Selfridges and John Lewis.

| IMAGE CREDITS: RAISWATIRAI WORDPRESS ONLINE, GOOD EARTH INDIA ONLINE, FOMO FASHION ON MY OWN TUMBLR ONLINE, FASHIONABLY FOODY ONLINE, LITTLE BLACK BOOK INDIA ONLINE, WORLD ARCHITECTS ONLINE, DELHI HAAT IMAGE COURTESTY SHEFALI J. JAUHAR |

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THE INDIAN COLLECTIVES

O

OGAAN

ne of the most popular recognised collectives in the country, the multi-designer store, is known for stocking an excellent assortment of designers- the classics and the contemporary. Variety with a lot of Indian spice, one can also find Indian craftsmanship in western silhouettes.An online store is also available where they also ship internationally. To complement the shopping experience, one can dine at Ogaan’s Coast Café, which has a relaxing ambience to it.

A

NEEL SUTRA

touch of Indian quirk with a modern architectural feel, Neel Sutra is a concept store of Indian designers united by the love of Indian crafts. The blue interiors resonate with the store’s name, meaning ‘blue’ in Sanskrit. What truly makes this store stand apart is the presence of a separate ‘Sari Room’ which pays homage to luxurious handwoven fabrics like Ikat, Paithani, Kanjivarm weaves all authentically sourced by master craftsmen.


HEART AND CRAFT

DILLI HAAT

A

gem in the core of the city, Delhi Haat is an outdoor plaza and craft bazaar for all those interested in some local retail therapy. It features artisans and their crafts spanning the length and breadth of the country. Possessing a rustic architectural style, it is ideal for an Indian experience like no other. Several themes are held throughout the year to add some dynamism and versatility in accordance to regions. Heighten your gastronomical pleasures with several stalls from different states of India. â–

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AMAZON INDIA FASHION WEEK

SS16

Reviving the past decades with modern updates on the runways of Amazon India Fashion Week SS16, here are the most sought after trends this Spring Summer.

| TEXT: SHEFALI J. JAUHAR | ILLUSTRATIONS: OLIVIA ZHAO |

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I WINDOW DRESSING Classic Windowpane checks blended formal with casual cool on the runways of Dev R Nil, Pero and Amit Aggarwal. Eka’s roomy summer dress, Dev R Nil’s monochrome jumpsuit and Pero’s pursuit of the ultimate pyjama party were modern renditions of this timeless trend.

II SHIRT DRESS CHIC AMIT AGGARWAL

Unique spin-offs to this 50’s classic have led to endless possibilities on the runway. A simplistic layered contrast like 11.11 seemed so rustic yet refined. Ashish N Soni gave an evening update with an embellished jacket thrown over a crisp white. Anupama Dayal’s silky rendition will leave you dreaming of an exotic holiday. Archana Rao played with two fabrics to create this ballerina meets the girl-next-door outfit.

III

WILD CHILD FROU FROU BY ARCHANA RAO

A Bohemian Rhapsody swept across the runway, bringing the iconic bygone decades with silhouettes, hem-lengths, and details. The Tie-dye technique by Malini Ramani elevated the understated technique to a whole new level. Bright, bold florals featured by Hemant and Nandita was a tribute to the swinging Sixties. Intricate details in a bright burst of colours by Tanvi Kedia were a welcome song to spring.

11.11


IV GLITTER BOMB A global trend for this Spring Summer, shine bright like a disco ball with embellished pieces by Dev R Nil, Malini Ramani, and Kommal Sood. Go bold and go all out with coordinates by Dev R Nil or a full-length dress by Prashant Verma. For the week at heart, opt for separates by Rohit Gandhi + Rahul Khanna.

V DARK ILLUSIONS When linear dreams meet dark and sultry, that’s the ultimate clothing seduction of the season. Amit Aggarwal experimental structures were eye deceiving. Prashant Verma’s glimmery dress was a throwback to the 90’s slipdress. Meanwhile, Rohit Gandhi + Rahul Khanna’s tailored dress was packed with a series of horizontal and vertical details to flatter the body.

DEV R NIL

ROHIT GANDHI + RAHUL KHANNA

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With India’s inclination to the west for the longest time, the Make In

MAKE MAKE IN IN INDIA INDIA

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India movement is a patriotic cri de coeur through the eyes of fashion.

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ith a rich history spanning the length and breadth of the country, India has a spectrum of textiles and crafts to boast. Its beauty has entranced a melting pot of rich diversity, luxury brands like Chanel, Jean Paul Gaultier, and Hermes have designed collections with hints of Indian influences. Employing over 45 million individuals, the Indian fashion industry estimates at US$ 108 billion by India Brand Equity Foundation. Under the initiative of the Indian Prime Minister, Narendra Modi, Make In India aims to revolutionise India as a centre for global design and manufacturing development. It arose out of India’s diminished growth rate in 2013 and sought to re-energise the economy, home to 1.2 billion citizens. Such a movement can be a unique opportunity to revive dying crafts and promote struggling weavers who have passed down the tricks of the trade for generations.

However, this needs awareness and support. Influential fashion bloggers and magazines have been put to task to promote the same. By recognising Indian handmade products, perceptions get moulded making it equally at par with the west for the Indian customer. Upcoming businesses can grab a foothold in the market of competing for international brands. From the past few seasons, the Fashion Design Council of India has been actively promoting crafts and textiles through themed Grand Finales. For Amazon India Fashion Week AW15, 25 designers put together a spectacle based on the theme, ‘Crafts of India’. A wide array of looks swept the runway spanning from utterly conventional to contemporary. The show caught international limelight, and Wendell Rodrick’s gown was put to display at FIT New York’s Museum. ‘Born In Benaras’

was another such event for SS16, which paid homage to the struggling Benarasi textile. India’s finest silk with gorgeous gold or silver embroidery is currently facing stiff competition from cheaper alternatives and mechanised units. Innovative renditions such as those featured in ‘Born In Benaras’ flickered a ray of hope on its future and gathered praise from all its spectators.

Inspired by the west yet Indian at heart, designers are adopting modern silhouettes with sustainable practices to ensure the longevity of crafts. A young league of environmentally aware designers like Pero, 11.11, Rashmi Varma and Eka supports works in designs that aren’t defined by a place and are timeless. In the spring-summer collection of Amit Aggarwal, the designer fused two opposites, polyethene bags and gamcha (a traditional India towel) to create not just wearable but rather

spectacular outfits. Pushing thoughts to practice is what separates some of these ecowarriors from the rest. A gargantuan task at hand, the slow and steady movement aspires to bring change in ideologies of a million Indian youngsters. With the rise of global brands and international influences through the media, one must stand tall in one’s heritage. The best way to want the change is to be the change. Promoting Indian craftsmanship through clothing can be the best way to start. Cultural events can be ideal platforms to raise awareness and support. With a platter of choices on your plate, opting for local brands can instil a sense of pride and support struggling crafts. With united efforts, India can elevate its stature in the domain of Indian fashion.

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| COVER IMAGE COURTESY: HEMANT & NANDITA |

HEMANT

NANDITA

&

CONQUERING THE WORLD ONE PRINT AT A TIME

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Placing contemporary Indian aesthetics on the world map, the designer-duo put craft at the heart of every collection with a very global customer in mind. | TEXT: SHEFALI J. JAUHAR | IMAGE CREDITS: GESU SETH |


SJ: You started your label as a designer duo in 2004 and debuted your first runway collection at WIFW Spring Summer 2009. How has the journey been so far? HN: Our journey has been an intriguing amalgam of amazing experiences. We look back and smile at the journey we have had in this industry. We feel that with every season, we discover new aspects of our likings and our personal style.

SJ: You notable accessory pieces stand out at Amazon Fashion Week. Were accessories your area of interest initially? HN: Yes, we could feel our knack for accessories right from the very start. We have not started accessories commercially yet but yes, we do love sourcing and getting new designs made for our runway collection each season.

SJ: What challenges did you initially face as young designers back in 2004 with the highly-competitive industry? HN: At the very everything, when you are struggling in the industry to make a name and place for yourself, there arises a need to push your designing capabilities to the maximum. It was stressful in the beginning to set things up for a smooth future, but it was certainly worth the struggle.

SJ: What does a ‘Hemant & Nandita’ woman of today symbolise? HN:Our muse is free spirited, independent and boho with an edgy style.

SJ: As designers how do you keep yourselves inspiredwith collections each season? HN: We love travelling, and we wonder how little things about our travel experiences inspire a whole new collection SJ: Not only has your collections done well in India, but each season. It has mostly been our travel experiences. you have also become global players in the industry from selling at stores like Anthropology to Neiman Marcus. SJ: Your Spring Summer 2016 Collection was a 60’s Tell us your story about going international. HN: We have been doing a lot of International fairs from romance with bright, bold florals and a bohemian vibe, quite some time now, and that is the aspect that has given us what inspired you for this collection? a significant boost in the International Market. If we speak HN:We have been inspired by the 60’s. The swirl and spatter, about our presence in the international market, we think we the motifs of that time packed with a colour burst got us for started participating at the right time so that it could reach the summer of 2016. It is also Op and Pop art inspired as well. the level it is at this point. SJ: What are your views on India an upcoming fashion SJ: What are your best markets so far? HN: The United States and Paris have proved to be superb destination? HN: We are completely in love with India. It has been a major markets for us. inspiration for many of our collections. Old school India is what inspires us, and we always try to fit our contemporary SJ: Your aesthetic is a mix of tradition and modernity sensibilities in it to make something fresh and unique each with a touch of quirk and prints, which Indian crafts are season. you particularly fond of as designers? HN: We are very fond of Ikat, other than that we always try ■ to figure out new ways to promote crafts.

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EKA CLOTHING WITH SOUL

In conversation with Rina SIngh, the Indian vision behind the classically minimalist label. | TEXT: SHEFALI J. JAUHAR | IMAGE CREDITS: RINA SINGH |


“I prefer zero ornamentation as I feel laboriously crafted fabrics will get corrupted by adding five more elements on it.”

SJ: You are known to be a ‘made in India’ women’s wear designer who incorporates sustainability in the core of her designs, what does sustainability as a practice mean to you? RS: Since the very beginning, I have worked with handloom clusters around the West Bengal region. We have a long relationship with weavers and provide employment opportunities to almost every family that works with us throughout the year. Sustaining them to practice their crafts enables me to add sustainability to my business. I don’t do a whole lot of traditional textiles and weaves, but try to make conventional methods contemporary yet relevant by infusing new flavours on the looms. The fabrics I work with are natural yarns and blends like wool, silk, linen, cotton, and khadi. I never buy off the rack. We work on all the fabrics for any given season on the looms by ourselves. It’s a long process, sometimes an original weight, fall & texture lasts seasons. I keep adding colours and patterns to the same formula; at other times, the whole new line calls for new weights and feel. SJ: Was sustainability always on your mind from the start or was it something you gradually realised you wanted to head? RS: Honestly, it was the root of the brand since its inception. I never calculatedly figured it. It was a story that I started with and over time, became fashionable and worked for us. But now I consciously try to keep up with the philosophy. I look into the smaller details like recycling leftover fabrics and incorporating them into a new clothing line, working with the same set of weavers, dyers, and block makers over the years(almost in their second generation) and using locally produced yarn. It has been a part of the business model so it works hand in hand. SJ: What are some of the challenges you face as a designer in the field of sustainable fashion? RS: As far as my collections are concerned, they are cooked so they appeal to a conscious aesthetic. They have longevity, and I present them as clothing ideas that would transcend age, race and culture barriers. The model of the brand is so unique and not as easy to follow that I haven’t faced hardcore competition so far. The boutiques I work with across

the world are whole-hearted supporters of the fashion movement that we endorse. Also, these relationships are not fickle, like the business model, these are slowly cooked and delivered. The challenges in real term would be the weather conditions. The floods pause the weaver from working on the loom unexpectedly, or the rains that hinder the process of beating the wood and making the blocks for print. During harsh summers, the heat makes the yarn crisp and break at every odd warp. All this delays the timelines slightly, but we have overcome that over the years by working much more in advance. Sometimes I do feel that this signature creates limitations for us concerning the entire portfolio of the product, but then that’s that! Not everyone gets this language; we might have fewer numbers of buyers who would like to invest in a piece of handmade clothing sans embellishment and frills, but with growing ecological awareness those numbers are growing. Not belonging to the mainstream market keeps you out of the direct cycles of fashion’s hits and flops. I would like to be a clothing brand that offers a unique product with rare quality, making it even more desirable for the alternative fashion movement. SJ: Do you feel the Indian market is adapting well to the growing awareness of slow fashion? RS: That’s the only way forward across the world. Even innovating to revive old polyester dump is going to be fashionable. Anything that improves the environment today and tomorrow is going to be mainstream fashion. A movement that has now begun, it is not something that is every going to be “out of fashion” soon. SJ: Your aesthetic finds beauty in relaxed silhouettes and comfortable clothing where textiles are the heart and soul of the garments. Tell us more about it. RS: I prefer zero ornamentation as I feel laboriously crafted fabrics will get corrupted by adding five more elements on it. The whole idea is to bring attention to the painstakingly woven fabric, its feel and fall. Several designers are already adding bling and embellishment so there is no USP in that. The silhouettes are a by-product of the fabrics. 129


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Handmade materials are sewn lightly, this is how it maintains its functional aspect, and therefore the silhouettes are derived. It can also be the other way around where the designed textile best suits the shapes. Adding zippers only ruins its aesthetic value besides declining its merit as a functional everyday luxurious piece of sustainable clothing. SJ: What makes the world lean towards the ‘slow-fashion’ movement? RS: The world is getting impatient with toxic waste and consumables that leave a never ending the cycle of biodegradation. Buying preferences have changed in food, clothing, medicines and lifestyle. Of course, fashion is not a primary need, clothing is. So depending on how aware you are about the ecological world order, the clothing that you invest in will be directly affected by the choices you make. SJ: There is a growing cult of young designers focusing on organic and handmade clothing. Is this a growing trend for marketing brands or a whole new aesthetic? RS: Eventually it is also a marketing tool as these days it’s considered cool and hip to be an eco brand. So a lot of young new brands don’t mind changing their brand story and jumping on the sustainable bandwagon. As along as the modification is heartfelt and here to stay, I don’t mind the growing numbers on this side of fashion. It makes us mainstream then (smiles). ■


D S D SHREYA DEV DUBE

&

HER

WAY WITH

VISUALS

Uncover the story of the first Indian photographer and filmmaker to exhibit her work at the Girls Only program, Mumbai.

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| TEXT: SHEFALI J. JAUHAR | IMAGE CREDITS: MIA BY SHREYA DEV DUBE |


“The unique thing about photography is that you can always revisit that one moment in time and experience that moment with a new set of eyes. As far as film is concerned, I love how it activates our senses with the use of sound, visual imagery and of course the power of a good narrative.” SJ: You are among 15 contemporary female artists to display her work for the much awaited Girls Only program. How do you feel about this? SDD: It was a great experience, and it taught me a lot. There is something amazing about compiling ten years of analogue work. Now that it’s over, I’m thinking of what I should do next. SJ: You are both a photographer and filmmaker. What beauty do you uniquely find in these mediums? SDD: My first love was photography. It was from a still camera that I found myself gradually evolving to moving image as I feel it goes hand in hand. The unique thing about photography is that you can always revisit that one moment in time and experience that moment with a new set of eyes. As far as the film is concerned, I love how it activates our senses with the use of sound, visual imagery and of course the power of a good narrative.

SJ: What has been a major influence in your work? SDD: There have been so many things that have influenced me over the years. Other than my friends and lovers, I love photographers like Andre Kertesz, Araki, Michal Ackerman and Sobol. Filmmakers like Harmony Korine, David Lynch, Tarkovsky, Lars von Trier and Robert Altman. Directors of Cinematography like Christopher Doyle, Roger Deakins I can go on forever. SJ: What subjects personally capture your attention in film and photography? SDD: There isn’t anything specific really. It depends on the series/project I immerse in.

SJ: Are there any other upcoming collaborations you are excited about? SDD: I have an upcoming collaboration with Imaad Shah with whom I a directing a music video for his new EP SJ: What do you feel about the art called ‘BOY’. I am very excited as it’s a fantastic track! Also, Richard Wyndham scene in India as a woman? SDD: When I think of art, I never think and I are shooting an editorial called of gender. Having said that, I believe ‘Body Image’. I’ve worked with him there are more female photographers before, and I think we make a good than cinematographers. I know a team. handful of us in the film industry who shoot moving images. It hasn’t been easy for us female Filmmakers. If I SJ: ‘Dubbawallas of Mumbai’ was a were a man, it could have been easier project that garnered attention and for people to take a leap of faith and got exhibited at the Phoenix Gallery, Australia. How did that project come trust me with a larger production.

to be? SDD: I was 18 years old when Pablo Bartholomew and I got introduced. It was under his supervision that I photographed the ‘dubbawallas’ for a year. It was the most fruitful learning experience. There are very few artists like Pablo that choose to share their wisdom. I am glad I met him when I was young. He straightened me up and kicked the laziness out of me. After this project, I was given the scholarship to study in Melbourne. That’s where I got in contact with Phoenix Gallery. SJ: Where do you see yourself in five years? SDD: Hopefully, I will evolve and continue to do what I am doing but with slightly bigger budgets and more creative freedom. SJ: Was fashion photography a keen interest from the start? SDD: It wasn’t much of interest really until I met my friends NorBlackNorWhite. They work on each piece with such care, and their ideologies are exciting enough for one to make pictures. SJ: What do you think of India as an upcoming global fashion destination? SDD: It’s about time; we are a country with such fantastic textiles and craftsmanship. I think India too is stepping their game up. ■

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rising from the

ranks NIKITA SAHAY

From Ex-Caption to one of the most prominent faces on the runway, meet the current face of Indian fashion. | TEXT: SHEFALI J. JAUHAR | IMAGE CREDITS: LE LUXE MAGAZINE |


“It definitely was not an easy step; it’s never easy to live your dreams, which is why dreams are so hyped about.”

SJ: You came from an army background and transitioned to the world of fashion? What made you change your path and was it a natural step from the views of society? NS: Joining the army was an emotional decision I made following my father’s footsteps. He was an Ex-Air Force Officer while I was an Ex-Captain in the military. As far as modelling is concerned, it was my dream and passion. So one fine day I decided, this is it. I want to live my dreams now and not someone else’s. I have been an abiding girl, so I deserve it all the more! It was not an easy step; it’s never easy to live your dreams, which makes them so hyped. But it is worth it.

the basic criteria (height, weight, features, etc.). I have always been very persistent, patient, hungry but never greedy to achieve. Right decisions take you a long way in any sphere of life.

SJ: Your venture into the industry has been so recent yet successful; from glossy editorials to fashion campaigns at airports; to what do you attribute your success? NS: It’s been one and a half years since I started modelling, apart from fulfilling

SJ: What is your biggest achievement as a model? NS: Since the start of my career, I have walked the ramp for every season of the most reputed Fashion Weeks in the country, namely Amazon India Fashion Week and Lakmé Fashion Week.

SJ: With society so unfortunately obsessed with white-skinned models, have you ever felt discriminated in this line of profession? NS: As far as modelling is concerned, I haven’t felt discriminated. The fashion industry has welcomed me with open arms; it’s the commercial field that is obsessed with fair skin.

SJ: Do you feel the industry has become more accepting of darkSJ: What makes the two professions skinned models over the years? alike? NS: Yes. The industry has always valued NS: Perseverance, physical fitness, the ones who deserve being valued, loads of mental strength and the will to and I have been very fortunate in that make it happen. aspect.

SJ: What is your dressing aesthetic? NS: I love wearing oversized jackets, especially denim and comfy lose clothes with sneakers! SJ: What advice would you give to aspiring models venturing into the industry? NS: Work hard, dream more, believe in yourself and mind your own business. SJ: Where do you see yourself in five years? NS: I see myself as a successful photographer or filmmaker. SJ: Do you feel India is an upcoming fashion destination? NS: Yes, totally! We have such amazing designers who are young, talented and bubbling with Ideas. Manish Arora and Rahul Mishra are already huge overseas. Some upcoming designers have it in them and are going to make it big as well.

COVER IMAGE: Nikita wears an un-buttoned lapeled waistcoat and trousers by Urvashi Kaur with suede peep toe platform sandals by Zara.

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HATS OFF ACCESSORIES Into the shoes of Sunaina Harjai | TEXT: SHEFALI J. JAUHAR | IMAGE CREDITS: HATS OFF ACCESSORIES |

SJ: Tell us the story behind Hats Off Accessories. Why footwear in particular? SH: While my studies in the UK, I was enlightened about how retail brands function along with an insight into branding. A huge chunk depends on manufacturing. A majority of shoe brands get manufactured in our facility, Siddharth Exports. That was when I realised why couldn’t we work on our own vertically integrated shoe brand that provides not only genuine leather but also good quality footwear at affordable prices. Inspiration has been a lot of things. However, I think the ultimate inspiration has been the legacy of shoemaking, as my father has for over 30 years, and my brother, a footwear designer. I wanted to unite all the various verticals and launch our homegrown brand. There

are

so

many

entrepreneurs, and brands that have an inspiring story behind their success that eventually inspires many of us to start something of our own. Hats Off Accessories is a start up, which I have built from scratch, we are glad to have resources of one of the best manufacturing units in the business

SJ: How tough is it to compete as a fashion brand in the booming market for start-ups? SH: As much easily it is to enter the Indian market, it is as difficult to survive. The e-commerce market is dominated by big names in India such as Flipkart and Myntra, known for heavy discounting. At the same time, this has created a culture of online shopping in India. Organic support is always needed, but its necessary to spend a certain share of marketing. successful As for brands, a lot has to do with

branding, from ad campaigns, events, promotions, endorsements to engaging with influencers, all this comes at a price to the brand. As of now, the regulations to enter e-commerce is not that tough in India, which is why we see many graduates from Ivy Leagues and even designers who study in International colleges, come back to India to start their business. Because of starting and growing outside of India, it is much higher and much more competitive concerning an Indian market. SJ: What makes your brand unique from the rest? SH: Our USP is that we provide quality, design, and craftsmanship at an affordable value. We benefit from over 30 years of experience in the shoemaking craft as a family.

Our workshop handcrafts every pair


while our experts control quality at each step of the process. Our artisans thrive on creativity and passion for detail to create high quality with no compromises. We are a vertically integrated company, and hence, our business model is based on smart luxury and affordable luxury, without charging high margins, and we achieve the same by selling online, and cutting the middlemen, extra licensing and brick and mortar expenses. The idea is to make affordable handcrafted shoes without any compromise on the quality and eliminating the supply chain, which is currently working for all brands. We manufacture in factories and directly sell to the customers.

“I think there are many well-funded startups, and if we were to compare and see if one can become a million dollar venture overnight that shall not happen. It is about planting a seed, and making sure it gives returns at the right time.”

Our designs are quite innovative in comparison to traditional models that Indian and international brands are bringing up. They try to bring in what the masses want, which might differ as the consumers now are willing to experiment with designs and want something which is inspired by international trends yet ‘Made in India’. We highlight the process and art of transparency in making the products, which very few brands do. SJ: How was the initial launch? Was it as successful as you had expected? SH: I think we had quite a successful launch considering we were a start-up without a PR agency to connect with everyone in the industry. We started with a Pop-up store and after that Koovs and Jabong approached us. Now we are in talks with Amazon and other e-commerce portals. We haven’t thrown an official launch party, but we have gotten a great organic response from customers and industry experts, and that is what matters to us.

SJ: What are some of the challenges you face in this business? SH: It is very hard to find suitable candidates or employees who can be associated with our brand for a long term, and can contribute with the same passion as we have. Some people are too experienced, and some individuals are not trained and focused. So I think we need to build a team that will stay us and make it grow. Manufacturing is typically male dominated, but I wanted to break the cliché of which I have gotten great support from everyone till now. I think it’s a lot about getting hands dirty at the work and not just operating from fancy studios. One has to manage both the sides to put that across to the story of the brand. The fashionable bit gets objectified in a certain way to customers, its sheer hard work of the team working in the factory to create a beautiful product and that is what we are trying to highlight via our brand. I also face the challenge of seeking mentorship, but I luckily do have my father from the same field, and that does help. But I feel entrepreneurship is a leap of faith, and a journey one must decide to take on one’s own with self-drive. 139


SJ: What is your most-sold piece? SH: We have sold a lot of womenswear loafers and brogues. In the world of luxury brands like Tods and mass brands like Zara, we fill the gap by providing high quality handcrafted designer goods that are made in India at affordable prices. Our brogues for the men have been a huge hit, they have gone beyond formal outings and are now a part of one’s daily lifestyle. SJ: What are the plans for the brand in the future (say five years)? SH: With the ever changing market it’s hard to predict what will take shape in 5 years, for example, five years ago, when I decided to study fashion retail management, I had no idea about e-commerce, and now it’s the most dominated format of Retail In India. Hence, the idea is to make Hats Off Accessories, a global brand with the aim of selling shoes all around the world. We would want our team, studio, investment and focus on our e-commerce website. We would like to open a store or a studio in future for personal customizations and add wider ranges for everyone. SJ: What advice would you give to emerging start-up runners? SH: I’ve always wanted to do this; I think it’s first about finding what one likes, and then deciding that it could be a potential business. I think business schools train us to make plans and do our research, but it’s also a lot of about passion, about what one enjoys doing and finding the perfect balance between lifestyle and entrepreneurship. It’s a fulltime job, from opening your eyes to closing your eyes, one needs dedication to doing what one enjoys and everything else shall fall into place. It is important to be accountable for all the expenses and finances, but that shouldn’t stop someone from taking the plunge. I think there are too many well-funded start-ups, and if we were to compare and see if one can become million-dollar venture overnight that shall not happen. It is about planting a seed, and making sure it gives returns at the right time. My advice to budding entrepreneurs would be to network, find your passion, and don’t give up. Along with that, it’s also important to do your research on whether the product is worthy. SJ: Do you plan to expand to more accessories in the future? SH: Yes that’s the idea, once we have dominated the shoe market in India, we would like to launch handcrafted leather bags and travel accessories. As counterfeit goods dominate the current market at huge prices, we would like to craft a range of handcrafted leather bags, which are accessible to working men and women that are open to experiment with design and not restrict themselves with classic designs. ■


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BEHIND THE SEAMS AT FASHION WEEK TRAVEL WITH THE FABRICS REINVENT ICONICS


| ILLUSTRATION: AMBIKA CHITRANSHI |

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Discover the warp and weft of India. | TEXT: SHEFALI J. JAUHAR |

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N JAMAWAR CHIKANKARI PHULKARI INDIA’S WOOLEN STORY | IMAGE CREDITS: FRANK AMES ONLINE, CHIKANKARI ONLINE, FLICKR ONLINE, CRAFTSVILLA ONLINE, UTTARAKHAND CRAFTS ONLINE |

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JAMAVAR

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reated in the valleys of India’s paradise, Kashmir, it is an extravagant fabric fit for the kings. Popular among the affluent, the fabric were worn as gowns or even shawls suggesting the name “Jamawar” where “Jama” implies robe and “war” is a yard. The aristocracy embraced and patronised this fabric particularly during the reign of Mughal emperor Akbar. With Kashmir’s geographical barriers, the origin of this technique is said to have travelled from Persia to the Indian sub-continent some five centuries ago.

The art of weaving a Jamawar is rather painstaking wherein the Kashmiri shawl is thoroughly embroidered on the length and breath of cloth, typically wool. Time invested into its making was the absolute luxury, and it could take years, even decades to complete one Jamawar Shawl usually done by a single craftsman. Not more than an inch of fabric gets accomplished in a day is a slight suggestion of the amount of effort involved in its making. The conventional Jamawar textile comprises a Jamawar Silk

fabric woven into an intricate and exquisitely patterned brocade fabric. The resplendent texture is a signature of the Jamawar look In the land of Kashmir; the fabric blends wool and cotton to keep warm in the extreme climate. However, unconventional fabrics like chiffon lend beautifully to this textile. Some of the motifs include flowers and foliage, Persian influences, a figurative design of hunters, fauna with Paisley being the most dominant one. A variety of hues and sometimes even up to fifty of them in a single shawl. Gorgeous traditional colours include yellow, crimson, purple, scarlet, white, turquoise, black and green. While the traditional textile is now a rare find (with the exclusion of a few elite), modern designs show signs of innovative influences whether experimentation with fabric or weaving technique. The Jamawar sari has become a soughtafter possession by affluent women, especially at weddings. Each Jamawar sari from inception to creation takes at least four months of laborious effort. With increasing competition and lack of support for traditional weavers, the textile needs revival and help. Once a symbol of decadence, the traditional textile has now reduced to a cherished heirloom.


CHIKANKARI

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nto the northern core of India exists a charming old city, Lucknow, once labelled as the Constantinople of the East by European travellers. Bestowed with an abundance of architectural marvels, gardens and palaces, it has now become synonymous with the ancient form of intricate white floral threadwork, Chikankari. The word itself means a kind of embroidered fabric. A traditional practice in Lucknow since two centuries, it is said to have flourished under the Mughals in the 16th and 17th century in Delhi before the law disseminated across the country. The craft’s origin is shrouded in mystery. Some historians suggest that it was a Persian craft brought to the court during Jahangir’s reign. An old wives tale suggests a traveller while passing a village near Lucknow

requested a poor peasant for water. On offering help, he was pleased with his hospitality and in return taught him the art of chikankari so he could never go hungry. It was believed that the traveller was a prophet. One of the most attractive decorative styles, it was initially done on the finest of white cotton fabric called muslin now evolving to other fabrics as well. Muslin exported from Bengal due to its suitable climate for cultivation. The threads were spun highly white due to the natural bleaching properties of the river Ganges and the Brahmaputra. Originating as a white-on-white embroidery, it has an element of grace and simplicity with fine threadknots maintaining uniformity. Unique patterns of an abundance of over 36 stitches to choose like a flat stitch, embossed stitch, jalli stitch with a

varying thickness of threads. Exquisite even stitches of florals and geometric designs are prominent in this technique. Mesh-like designs called jalli (lace) is a rather beautiful style in Chikankari. Outline of the design is carried out by pattern blocks to block-print on the base fabric. The embroidery is done mostly by women. The finished piece is washed to remove any traces of print.

Not only has this become a traditional favourite, but it has also garnered international acclaim with designers reinventing them in modern renditions. International favourites like Harrods and Selfridges have embraced this simple embroidery and placed them at par with luxurious garments. With change being the only constant, it has managed to retain its roots while supporting the artisan as well as staying relevant.

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PHULKARI

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hink of the land of five rivers, Punjab and one can instantly associate traditional floral embroidery well-known as Phulkari. With the history of this particular craft not so accurate, one of its earliest accounts goes back to the 17th Century when HeerRanjha, a prominent love story came into being. A rural practice carried out at a dwindling rate; it used to be highly common to find women folk in villages embroidering vibrant shades into shawls and other garments. A simplistic style sparsely spread out over the garment, the technique that fully covers the surface is known as “Bagh�. There are several techniques within this craft based on motifs, colours, and occasion. It began with geometrical patterns featuring foliage and spread out to other themes such as human figures, scenes of everyday village life, animals and so on. A thick homespun cotton fabric called Khaddar is traditionally hand woven. However, these days it not uncommon to find trendier ones. Darn stitching creates an abundance of patterns and styles in Phulkari. A glossy untwisted thread work for embroidery. In the embroidery process, a single strand is worked at a time with a single colour. Vibrant hues such as bright red, green, golden yellow, pink and blue are most identifiable. Quality is determined by the size of the stitch with the smallest being the finest.

With craft being an integral part of culture, Phulkari is a token of tradition, especially at marriage rituals and festivals. The craft is a skill learnt by a daughter at an early age to add to her additional skills and is then the art becomes a part of her bridal trousseau when she is married. With the declining rate of this industry, there is a break in tradition and the once exquisite embroidery is now mostly spotted just at weddings.


INDIA’S WOOLEN STORY

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ndia’s mini-version of Scotland is perhaps the closest way to describe India’s highlands, Uttarakhand. The quiet hills house nomadic sheep herders, who have a fascinating relationship with seasons spending peakwinter towards the foothills and higher up during the summers. Harvesting Wool is a time of great festivity with the experience being a communal one.

After the harvest, sheared wool is cleaned and made ready for weaving. They are spun locally on a traditional Charkha, or spinning wheel. The course and fine fabrics get segregated in the looms. Pashmina is a more prized variety made from a higher-altitude goat. A variety of items such as socks, gloves, woollen shawls, blankets is popular woollen products. Colours associated with tradition are turmeric yellow and crimson red where yellow regards as good luck and red connect with being married. With the younger generation gaining higher education and settling in bigger cities, the craft’s future is in danger. Several designers are taking initiatives to sustain villages involved in the production of wool. Designer Aneeth Arora received acclaim with her Autumn Winter 2016 collection where she incorporated woollens like angora, pashmina, and merino into western silhouettes inspired by Pippi Longstocking, a protagonist of a children’s book. In her previous winter collection, she developed finely handwoven woollen Scottish checks using Indian wool from the Himalayas. Efforts like these can revive dwindling crafts to their former glory. ■

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S KASAVU KALAMKARI KANJEEVARAM

| IMAGE CREDITS: BAGGOUT ONLINE, KALAA BHUSHAN BLOGSPOT ONLINE, NOTHING SKY ONLINE |


KASAVU

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nown as ‘God’s own country’, Kerala is home to lush greenery, backwaters, a running coastline and an abundance of spices. Kasavu is an indigenous weave of Kerala that stands tall and proud as a symbol of culture. It holds auspicious value and is worn during their new year celebrations as per the Hindu calendar. A traditional weave most recognisable by its creamy tones with a decorative gold border, it invariably makes its way into a Keralite’s wardrobe. Known for its natural colour and impeccable quality, it is completely made of unbleached cotton which is favourable for the tropical climate. It features intricate designs on the borders that are in the shade of pure gold. The textile industry of Kerala has been in existence for many centuries, driven by a remote village of traditional textile artisans in Balaramapuram. Having

festival called Onam where both women and men don ‘kasavu’ borders in their costumes. Onam is also an auspicious season for weddings and affluent brides wear outfits featuring pure gold threadwork.Men wear a white loincloth with the gold borders The traditional Kerala sari or Kasavu while women wear the two piece features two pieces of garments garment. The classical dance form of to complete the look. Gold designs Kerala features the Kasavu look as an imprinted into the borders of the essential costume for the dancer. weave are called ‘Kara’, the lower portion is called the ‘Mundu’ and the Due to its timeless appeal, the popular upper garment worn above the mundu textile is worn in both Western and is ‘Neriyathu’. With copper plated and Indian renditions. Newer motifs and artificial gold borders available in designs emerge to create unique abundance, true luxury lies in owning varieties to the continuing legacy. a pure gold border sari. The traditional More colours such as red and green motifs featured on the border are flora, have been incorporated to further enhance the gold look. With rising gold fauna and temple elements. prices, artificial threads have become Traditional women of Kerala take pride increasing popular and accessible to in flaunting these unique handwoven the masses. designs during the famous harvest thrived for over 300 years, they used to produce super fine weaves for the royal family. They featured exclusive cotton weaves with pure gold threadwork. This tradition gradually spread to local weavers.

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n abode of art, temples and lush greenery, Andhra Pradesh is home to the ancient hand block technique of Kalamkari. It is one of the most primitive yet advanced techniques of block printing on textiles with natural dyes. A technique where art-meets-textile, it involves painting, hand-printing and weaving of cotton. The craft has received worldly acclaim and was earlier known as Coromandel chintz. It has survived through royal patronage by the Golconda Nizams and Mughals, peaking during the British Raj-era due to the high demand for exports. The technique is Persian origin that means ‘pen craftsmanship’.

A textile designed and painted by hand; there is a sense of exclusivity as no two designs are the same. A spectrum of traditional compositions includes floral and animal forms. Religion is a subject of major inspiration for artisans. What is interesting to note is that colour schemes follow themes. Holy God figures in blue, demons in tones of red and green while women in yellow are portrayed. Traditionally, backgrounds are red with prominent lotus motifs. The hand printing technique classifies in two forms- Machalipatnam or Srikalahasti style where one is slightly more complex than the other. The Machalipatnam has an Iranian influence, and dominant motifs are trees, leaf designs and flowers. The prints primarily feature in garments and home furnishings such as bed covers and curtains. Temples majorly influence the Srikalahasti style that were olden day scrolls and wall hangings. Hence, Hindu gods and goddesses are predominant. They are painted in panels with a text painted along the border and is entirely done with a brush-like pen. Artisans carve wooden blocks with intricate details. Natural colour extracts are derived for colours from the bark of trees, flowers and roots of plants. An hour-long soak works the fabric’s shiny lustre in cow milk and resin mixture. Every different colour application follows a wash. A good quality fabric can take anywhere up to 20 washings without any signs of trouble. Alum seals the colours on the cloth. Resists like wax are used during complicated colour pairings to detail different aspects of the design. It is the very versatility of techniques that make it a unique craft form. Fashion and art converge to create exclusive designs done by hand; each bespoke in its respect.


KANJEEVARAM

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he southern silk city of Kanchipuram of Tamil Nadu is not known for its heritage of handwoven silks in South India but has become a recognised global phenomenon for its durability and sheen. It is a symbol of cultural association throughout South India and is worn commonly during special occasions like weddings. A traditional Kanjeevaram sari’s silk outsources mulberry silk cultivations of Karnataka, and the gold/silver threadwork from Surat, Gujarat. Its durable quality, texture and sheen make it a highly luxurious hand woven fabric to own. Determine the quality by the weight of the sari, the heavier, the more luxurious. The silk threads dipped in these precious metals are called zari. The knowledge of zari making is limited to a few families who make it a challenge during the sourcing process. Silk strands are dipped in rice water and are sun-dried before the weaving process. The threads are then twisted with a thin silver wire and gradually moved with pure gold. Three single strands are wrapped as one to give it weight and durability. Traditional motifs woven into the vibrant saris include sun, moon, lions, chariots and birds like swans, peacocks, parrots. A single sari takes anything between ten days to two weaves based on the details of design. Do not judge the tiny town by its size for its handloom industry has a fierce reputation for being one of the finest silk producers in the world. Artisans settled over four centuries ago have established Kanchipuram as a leading manufacturer of traditional silk sarees. Krishna-Deva Raya, a Chola ruler, tapped into the potential of the silk route when the weaving communities of Andhra Pradesh, migrated to this southern city. It was the 15th century when the historical migration of the industry took place. It currently houses 20,000 looms where approximately four weavers work in each loom and over 400,000 silk saris produced annually. These are not just a domestic success; they are making their mark globally with exports to Italy, USA, Sri Lanka and Russia. â–

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E NAGALAND WEAVES TUSSAR SILK IKAT JAMDANI

| IMAGE CREDITS: JAYPORE BLOG ONLINE, KANAK 7 WORDPRESS ONLINE, VERVE MAGAZINE ONLINE, CRAFTSVILLA ONLINE, CRAFTSVILLA ONLINE, UTSAVPEDIA ONLINE |


NAGALAND WEAVES

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The eastern side of the country features the seven sisters of India, associates great mystery and delight. Nagaland is a freespirited state, home to the “Nagas” or the warrior tribes that inhabit the land. On immediate thought, the colours red, white and black resonate with this region. While each tribe has its fascinating history and way of being. The art of self-expression through attire and adornment is one of their most striking features to distinguish a tribe from the other. Unique attires are worn by a few to indicate their distinguished occupation and status in society. Their design motifs, costumes and use of colours may slightly vary but red, white and black remain a prominent statement.

With the tribes being averse to technology, age-old looms are employed by a majority of women folk leading to a rather slow and painstaking process. Its origin stems from the Indonesian tension loom. Famous for shawls, Nagaland textiles incorporate both cotton and hemp into the creation the handspun cloth using a back-strap method. A porcupine quill is then used for embroidery purposes, indicating their closeness to nature. Fabrics use natural dyes from plant extracts like indigo and mahogany. It takes at least ten hours to complete a single strip of cloth, and thirty hours in total to complete the Naga shawl, which is woven apart and stitched together. The central piece is often the most intricately embroidered. Traditional motifs on textiles include geometric patterns and linear designs. Apart from shawls, skirts, s scarfs, waistcloths and aprons are also skillfully designed. Acclaimed designer, Anupama Dayal showcased her Autumn Winter’16 collection ‘Fight & Feast’ inspired by the Naga tribes. The runway spotted traditional shades of red, white and black with fabrics like khaki and blends of silk. Asa Kazingmei created structured looks inspired by the warriors at Lakme Fashion Week Winter/Festive 2014. It is the very tribal spirit that has captured the imagination of many and their identity through textiles.

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TUSSAR SILK

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n astounding 66% of Indian tussar production occurs in Bihar, then woven in West Bengal and Orissa after that. It is a century year old practice in Bhagalpur, an eastern Bihar town that involves more than 30,000 handloom weavers. The traditional method would involve killing the silkworm while inside its cocoon, now a nonviolent or ‘Ahimsa’ approach is adopted whereby the worm leaves its cocoon and then the silk extraction takes place. The weaving process of Tussar involves the planning process of the weave and colour to give it a design. Finest Cocoons are sorted, boiled and unwounded onto spools made of bamboo. This follows the transfer of spools to skeins. After they have dehydrated, they are reeled on bobbins for strength by twisted upto ten of these together. They are then dyed in natural colours for the weaving process to begin. The fabric

is finished with a beating process to set the material correctly. Multiple beatings take place to smoothen them and produce a wrinkle free effect. Since silk needs to breathe, they are wrapped in natural dyed cotton bags instead of plastic to market the product. It is surprisingly more popular overseas than India. It is an ideal fabric for apparel, home furnishing and popularly used for sari purposes. The gleaming fabric works beautifully in western silhouettes. It adds to a refined and elegant appeal. Indian veteran, Rina Dhaka elevated the sophisticated textile with an edgychic embroidered cape with Indian Chinar leaf motif. With stiff competition alongside Chinese producers, initiatives like these can boost the weaving industry. Transforming the traditional in a truly global style is a leading way to promoting this lustrous textile back to glory.


IKAT

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kat history is said to go back about 5000 years in a Pharaoh’s tomb where an Odisha Ikat woven cloth was found. As a practice, Ikat is one of the most ancient dyeing techniques in the world, and its origin has spread out into different corners of the globe. The word itself is derived from Malaysian descent, meaning ‘to bind’. Three prevalent states in India are known for Ikat- Gujarat, Andhra Pradesh, and Orissa.

using a tie-dye procedure either on the warp or weft and later woven together into a planned design. Unlike tie-dye, it is done on a woven cloth; ikat involves planned tie-dyeing of threads before being woven.The technique that incorporates tie-dye techniques on both the warp and weft is known as double ikat. It is a highly laborious and skilled task that years to complete. Silk and cotton varieties are popular fabrics for Ikat. Natural dyes extracted from plants and flowers lend colours in A meticulous weaving procedure traditional Ikat weaves. Traditionally, known to exist for several centuries, geometric and animal motifs feature Ikat has been a prominent textile for on these weaves. the eastern Indian state of Bihar. Also known as ‘Bandha’, a ‘resist dyeing’ Ikat has moved beyond being just a practise in Orissa, threads are dyed piece of fabric for sarees and hold

concurrent use in accessory and upholstery design. Ikat patterns have inspired International brands like Missoni. With increasing demand for this slow-produced fabric, the technique has been modernised with machinery, slowly replacing the hand done the process by artisans. With inadequate wages and better job opportunities, several youngster is straying from family occupations that have been carried out for decades. Craft organisations like Kala Aur Katha enable weavers to tap into the potential of the modern market with initiatives that promote local craftsmanship.

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JAMDANI

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ne of the most culturally diverse states of India regarding art, literature, textiles and history, Bengal is home to the intricate weaving tradition of Jamdani that the state of Kolkatta and Dhaka, Bangladesh. The textile involves finely hand-woven cotton with subtle handcrafted motifs woven into them. The word originates from Persia where ‘jam’ means a bloom and ‘dani’ is a vase.

An array of spectacular motifs from geometric patterns and florals like jasmine, leaf motifs and marigold adorn the laborious weave. This ancient textile has received patronage from the royalty of various Indian regions of Uttar Pradesh and most notably the Mughals. The support led to a rich flourishing of the craft. Gold and silver brocades were flaunted by the nobility to show wealth. Unbleached cotton usually forms the base of the textile. It is contrasted with bleached threadwork to give it a contrast in texture. It is a very sheer and delicate textile. The sheer opulent textile has an elegant yet seductive appeal. Each piece requires the labour of two craftsmen who work together to finish it. The traditional loom involves no use of the machine in any form and is rather mute to work with. The design process involves placing the graph paper underneath the warp to begin the patterns. But for some experienced weavers, even the graph paper is not required. Motifs require the use of memory. Traditional colours include shades of off-white and grey, but they have not restricted to the same anymore. With mechanisation and growing demand, jacquards have slowly replaced conventional pattern making devices. Fly shuttle looms have replaced the good old pit looms of the past. The once luxurious textile now struggles to maintain its traditional self due to the high cost of production and increasing mechanisation. Once an occupation to over twenty-five thousand weavers, the numbers have reduced to a few hundred. ■


W BANDHINI MOCHI EMBROIDERY PAITHANI

| IMAGE CREDITS: THE INDIAN CONUNDRUM WORPRESS ONLINE, AERO PK TECH ONLINE, TRAVEL IN TEXTILES ONLINE, SWADESH UNNATI SILKS ONLINE, PAITHANI OF MAHARASHTRA WORDPRESS ONLINE, MUMBAI NEWSNETWORK ONLINE |

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BANDHINI

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hile visiting the arid state of Rajasthan in western India, it is an absolute treat to see brightly coloured outfits contrast against the dry stretches of sand that go on for miles. Home to a spectrum of crafts, Bandhini is one of the most popular methods of tie and dye in all of the western India. An ancient practice about five millennia old, a variety of techniques was discovered through historical evidence in India, China, Japan as well as Africa. The name means “to tie up�.

The highly skilled process involves matching the fabric at several points when dyed to create patterns with spaces left empty. With the cloth dried outdoors, timing ultimately depends on the weather conditions. It takes roughly five hours in the summer and goes upto two days during the rainy season. Variation in colours, styles and patterns depend on the region. Traditional colours include green, red, yellow, black and blue. Depending the particular way the cloth is tied, a variety of motifs including dots, squares and waves are created. The colours and designs hint towards the background of the wearer. Rajasthan associates with the pattern of waves also known as Lehariya. Such motifs are repeated in clusters to give rise to even more intricate designs.A series of alternating colours with a diagonal pattern of stripes are used to give this effect. Holy colours include yellow and red which is a symbol of good opportunity. Other prevalent colours also include yellow, pink, maroon and green. The use of certain colours conveys certain connotations. While a yellow background represents motherhood, red accounts for a bride or a recently married woman. Natural extracts of roots, flowers and leaves were initially used but gradually progressed towards synthetic dyes that were safe yet permanent in nature. The tradition of Bandhini seems here to stay as it is quite a quintessential textile, especially at weddings. It continuously inspires designers and reinvents them in modern renditions like those seen on the runways of Rahul Mishra at Paris Fashion Week.


MOCHI EMBROIDERY

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The westernmost state of India is widely known for its abundance of textiles with Ahmedabad; the state referred to as the Manchester of India. It’s home to the leather embroidery technique called Mochi Bharat embroidery. Begun as an ornamental technique for bags, shoes, belts, it gradually moved on to textiles like cotton, silk and velvet. The art of this technique begun with cobblers and leatherworkers.

Motifs using chain-stitch method through awls or the “ari�, a tool used for stitching leather is believed to be possibly older than the needle. The tool gives rise to linear patterns. A strong Mughal influence is showcased through the use of stylised parrots, peacocks and other intricate designs. Regarding material, soft leather is more preferred for this kind of embroidery. Simple linear patterns of foliage are created using gold/silver thread. The use of bright colours helps highlight contrasting designs. The process begins with a paper cutout that is placed on the surface to guide the embroidery. The base fabric is usually velvet. Other methods include block-print on the material with temporary dyes before embroidery. The filling process of threadwork is what makes it timeconsuming. Colours popularly include white, yellow, green, red and blue. The main centre for this embroidery is Bhuj. An abundance of styles exists based on the region. Around the Banni area of Kutch, distinctive styles of the technique exist. Mutwa women do highly delicate embroidery with stylised motifs and mirrors. Rayisapotra does the same style but with the use of gold thread. The Nodes produce bold designs. Rabari and Ahir women abundantly use mirrors. Mochi is a fragile tradition has become a permanent association with Gujarat and Rajasthan. Just like any other traditional craft, sustainability is a need of the hour to preserve the rich and colourful heritage of the West.

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PAITHANI

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ne of India’s most populous metropolitan cities, Maharashtra is known for its coastline, British influence Gateway of India and a rich history of crafts. It carries the heritage of an ancient weaving technique, Paithani, which is over two millennia old. It grew under the Satvahana Dynasty in 200 BC and flourished in the Mughal rule of Aurangzeb who added a variety of motifs under his rule. The influence of Hindu and Muslim rulers led to a dynamic range of styles. Paithani incorporates the conventional technique of tapestry making where hand woven silk features intricate gold and silver threadwork. It is recognisable but its oblique square designs on borders, a peacock motif, paisley and other floral designs. Its name descends from one of the oldest Deccan towns called Paithan.

A single Paithani fabric takes anywhere between a month to two years to weave based on its size, intricacy and scale. Usually woven into a sari, it requires utmost dedication and patience to bind all the threads together to a single pattern. A standard sari size is 6 yards with an additional quarter yard for the blouse. About a quarter kilo of gold is consumed with embroidery. Natural extracts from vegetable, rocks and plants are used to give bright colours. Some of the traditional colours featured are yellow ochre, pearl pink, violet, peacock blue and parrot green. Fine silk originally sourced from China, but these days mulberry silk is sourced from down south. The extracted silk fibres are washed, dyed with natural colours before being loaded to the loom. All the hands are meticulously threaded as per the planned design and then bound to complete the weave. A treasured heirloom the craft is passed down from generation to generation and has become a treasured part of a bridal trousseau. Regarded as a poetry of silver and gold, it is an investment piece to own for its use of precious metals and a key eye for intricate details. â–


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PROJECT REINVENT Delving into countless imaginative possibilities of modern classics inspired by traditional craft forms. | CONCEPT AND CURATION: SHEFALI J. JAUHAR | ILLUSTRATIONS: KANUPRIYA LAL |


Flowerland Micro Peekaboo Bag with Phulkari embroidery, FENDI

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‘Kimura’ pumps with Kanjeevaram details, PAUL ANDREWS

A patchwork denim mini dress with Indian Ikat, VICTORIA BY VICTORIA BECKHAM


Drew textured-leather wallet with Naga accents, CHLOÉ

Leather belt with double G buckle and Kalamkari print, GUCCI

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ADDRESSES Adidas Originals (www.adidas.co.uk)

Banjaaran (banjaaran.diaries@gmail.com, 9999951149)

Behind The Red Door at Union Chambers, 11 Weekday Cross, Nottingham NG1 2GB ( 0115 850 7490) Bershka (www.bershka.com/gb)

Chloe available at Harrods

Dansk Smykkekunst (uk.dansksmykkekunst.dk)

Dilli Haat at Sri Aurobindo Marg, opp INA Market, New Delhi 110 023 DLF Emporio at 4, Nelson Mandela Road, Vasant Kunj, New Delhi

Eka (www.eka.co), +91 9830152625 / +91 9830015425 Fendi (www.fendi.com)

Good Earth at Shop No.9 A.B.C. Ground 1st & 2nd Floor, Khan Market, New Delhi

Gucci at 34 Old Bond Street. London

Hats Off Accessories (9999001403)

Hemant and Nandita available at Ogaan, (pr@hemantandnandita.in)

H&M at 11-17 Lister Gate, Nottingham NG1 7DE Hidesign (www.hidesign.com/store)

Kama Ayurveda at DLF Place Saket, New Delhi; (www.kamaayurveda.com/international/)

Konplott (www.konplott.com)

Neel Sutra at 26 B, Khan Market, Sujan Singh Park, New Delhi, Delhi 110003

Ogaan at H-2 Hauz Khas Village, New Delhi 110016 (+ 91 9711991998/ +91-11-26967595) Paul Andrews (www.paulandrew.com)

Pitcher & Piano at Unitarian Church, High Pavement, Nottingham NG1 1HN Primark at 6-12 Long Row, Nottingham NG1 2DZ Rahul Mishra available at Saks 5 Avenue Online

Tarun Tahiliani at D-25, Defency Colony, New Delhi

Urban Outfitters at Units 13-15 Victoria Centre, Nottingham NG1 3QN

Vero Moda at Westfield Stratford City, London E15 2JU

Victoria Beckham at 36 Dover Street, London W1S 4NH


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