Few things are as beautiful or have such a convoluted history as Paris Gara – the gorgeous embroidery which came to India by way of Persia and China through the Parsi traders dealing in opium in China. These traders who journeyed to China in the 19th century discovered distinct hand-embroidery and carried it back to India.
“As creative people, I think we get tired of seeing the same thing over and over again. I’m a firm believer in the idea that excellence exists everywhere,’ says Antonio Ciongoli, director of Eidos, whose Spring 2017 menswear collection is inspired by Jaipur in India, and who used all Indian models in his NY collection.
It’s that time of the year when New York turns into a Fashion Wonderland with the New York Fashion Week, and we had our own Alice in Fashionland, fashion correspondent Christine Philip who was at the shows and filed this report for Lassi with Lavina.
As spring turns into fall, we should be seeing a lot of excitement and action in the fashion arena. Will more and more Americans be seduced by Indian fashion through travel to India, through cinema, and through Indian-American friends in an ever increasing Asian population?
Will American designers continue to find inspiration in India’s myriad delights of color, crafts and couture? Will Indian designers make it big in America? Will new mega-fashion stores dedicated to India ring up the sweet music of cash registers?
Designer Manish Arora’s creations are the fashion equivalent of getting drenched in Holi colors – there’s exuberance, joy and sheer chutzpah. Colors which you thought would never, ever go together are locked in a raucous embrace in his gorgeous ensembles – and look perfect together. Ask about his outrageous color alliances, and he says with a twinkle in his eye: “It’s all very natural and normal. Yellow, pink, green and turquoise in one garment is very normal! For me, I don’t think twice – it just comes!”
His vibrant colors, striking fabrics and east-west silhouettes have won many fans around the world from celebrities like Lady Gaga, Rihanna, MIA and Kate Perry to all the fashionistas across continents.
She is Alice in Fashionland – a young designer lost in the surreal magic world of French fashion.
Christine Philip, an up-and-coming Indian-American fashion designer, had always been enamored of Paris and its legacy of ground-breaking fashion. This season she basked in the unparalleled world of French style, soaking in the rhythms and romance of Parisian haute couture. Shows that she attended included Corrie Nielson, Issay Miyake, Chanel, Hermes, YDE, Chloe, Amaya Arzuaga, and Fatima Lopez.
Not totally an insider, this young designer reveled in her entre to a fabulous world. She says: “Paris produces ‘the mother’ of all fashion weeks. There is no other fashion capital that does it like they do and I wanted to be a part of it.”
That Indian sensibilities of style can merge seamlessly into the Western vocabulary of fashion has been proven by many international designers – but new Indian-American designer Sheena Trivedi puts her own stamp on this east-west marriage – and has tremendous fun doing it.
Trivedi presented her Fall/Winter 2014/15 Collection at the Empire Rooftop to a packed hall with models ensconced on top of light boxes, dressed in a collection which could be described as edgy New York with tribal Banjara touches – suitable for both Soho and the Rajasthani desert.
New Yorkers are getting thoroughly pampered – if they can’t get to India to catch the latest Indian fashion, topnotch Indian designers with celebrity models are coming to New York! You had the gorgeous Lisa Ray walking the ramp for Satya Paul, and the equally eye-catching Soha Ali Khan for the designer Joy Mitra.
And so it was that some of India’s hottest fashions came to New York in a space which is the only neo-Gothic Reformist Synagogue built back in 1849. The surreal internal architecture of this space, now known as the Angel Orensanz Foundation for the Performing Arts, really added to the atmosphere.
Where does that gorgeous Indian outfit go after you’ve worn it? I think all of us have faced this dilemma – spending a fortune on an Indian ensemble and not wanting to repeat it again. What do you do with such ornate outfits and how do you get new ones without spending more money?
Dina Patel, a very successful investment banker has used her business smarts to come up with the perfect solution for you! Turning entrepreneur, she’s created Didi’s Wardrobe – a reseller of new and gently used Indian clothing and accessories – in America!
This is what we call reincarnation – the American way! (Sponsored Content – Tips You Can Use)
Don’t you just love fashion shows? It’s a whimsical dream world where real problems are forgotten in a whoosh of youth and beauty and style. It’s a world inhabited by beautiful people and perhaps no one does it quite as dramatically as designer Manish Malhotra. It’s a world of rich Chantilly lace and velvet, of yards and yards of antique silk and the moon is made of gold.
Manish showed his fabulous 1930’s inspired collection at Delhi Couture Week, and he had some heavy hitters modeling his couture – SRK himself and Deepika Padukone. The royal canvas was nothing less than the princely states of India, a time of opulence, of unparalleled riches and a wondrous mix of east and west.
“It’s very Andy Warhol goes Indie-pop,” says designer Sabah Arenja Vig about her collection – and that got me a-wondering: what would Andy Warhol think about our wild, multi-hued surreal Indian fashions? Probably turn them into equally wild, multi-hued surreal art!
Yes, Indian couture is certainly riding high. With a young ever-burgeoning population in India and the diapora, the demand for bridal wear and fashion with a touch of India is only going to grow. Recently Shireen Vinayak of Shehnaai Couture showcased the latest collection and answered some burning questions about the new fashion trends, especially for New York fashionistas.
India gave us the sari, the salwar kameez, the lengha. So what’s coming next?
“The Indian gown!” says Shirin Vinayak of Shehnaai Couture, who just got back from Lakme Fashion Week. “Indian fabrics, Indian embroideries and Western silhouettes seem to be the way to go, not only for the red carpet but also for reception wear as well.”
Gowns are all the rage with Bollywood stars like Katrina Kaif and Kareena Kapoor, as well as the Page 3 crowd in India, tricking down to young women in the metros.
Vinayak is bringing that trend of the Indian gown in – “I feel like culturally that works for us here and so this is the first year that we have a full display of gowns on our rack.”
New York fashionitas rejoice! Soon noted Indian designer Anita Dongre will be making her US debut, and in her many labels you are bound to find your vibe. Her style has brought cachet to everything from the airlines to the hospitality industry and her designs can be found in films like ‘My Brother Nikhil’, ‘Bas Ek Pal’ and ‘Sorry Bhai’. Fresh from her dazzling show at Lakme Fashion Week, Anita Dongre shows her latest couture and answers your questions.
“Q: Do you think you need a different fashion lingo for New York or are you planning to bring the same looks to the US? How different or similar are the sensibilities in Mumbai and Manhattan?
A: Women all over the world share a commonality which is to discover new trends and style statements so the lingo in New York isn’t necessarily different. We as designers have to constantly be reinventing our designs whether for the consumer in Manhattan or Mumbai. There is a similarity between the two cities as both are fast paced cities and women are always on the go and they want to dress efficiently yet trendy.”
Gladys Perint Palmer, executive director of the School of Fashion, Academy of Art University, and noted fashion illustrator, turned her pen on the charms of Bollywood actor Sonam Kapoor, spotted in the front row at the Paris shows. The drawing will feature in her book “Adam & Yves” (Firefall Editions) to be published later this year.
Palmer’s pen has caught the work of many fashion rajas and ranis from Jean Paul Gaultier to Zandra Rhodes. She says: “It is hardly surprising that when I saw Sonam Kapoor at Elie Saab in Paris, glittering with sequins, bugle beads and embroidery, I had to draw her!”
Ever had the experience of dressing up and rushing out – into a downpour? Or freezing in a slinky outfit when the weather suddenly turns abrasive? Looking out of the window to judge the weather is just not good enough – a more practical weather forecaster might be Daily Dress Me!
In fashion-mad New York, it’s not just the people who get decked out in designer fashion – their bicycles do too! The recent Tour de Fashion may not have been exactly the Tour de France, but bikes certainly received a lot of love from some of New York’s top designers including Diane Von Furstenberg, Isaac Mizrahi, Betsey Johnson, Elie Tahari, Yeohlee, Nanette Lepore, Nicole Miller and many more.
Noted jewelry designer Amrita Singh and happening fashion designers Prabal Gurung and Bibhu Mohapatra were the South Asian presence at this buzz-y fest with designers, fashionistas and hordes of fashionholics.
Not too many new fashion design graduates get to debut at the prestigious Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week in New York but that’s what happened with Dipti Irla, a young Maharashtrian designer from Mumbai. There she was soaking in the limelight of this fashion circus at Lincoln Center, surrounded by buyers, editors and paparazzi.
“I was looking through the list of runway shows at Lincoln Center and saw that there was not one South Asian woman designer presenting,” says Reema Rasool, the founder of SayWe. “It actually made me mad, with all of the amazingly talented South Asian women designers we have worldwide! I wanted to do something to correct the situation.”
The result is the upcoming Fashion for Compassion event which honors noted designer Ranjana Khan and showcases the collections of South Asian designers.