Vintage Sarees at Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week

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At Mercedes-Benz fashion week, Dipti Irla showed dresses made of vintage Indian sarees

Debora wears Pale Gold Metallic Silk Coat. and Pale Blue Metallic Silk Shirtdress.

A touch of India for Fashionistas

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.

Along with the bold-face names and the big designers, she got to showcase her own style aesthetic and her own little touch of India: vintage brocade sarees, re-used and juxtaposed into the fashion language of today.

At Mercedes-Benz fashion week, Dipti Irla showed dresses made of vintage Indian sarees. Dipti with reporter during Fashion Week

Dipti Irla in the limelight during the Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week

From Mumbai to New York’s Fashion Week…

Dipti Irla, who has an undergraduate degree in Fashion design from National Institute of Fashion Technology (NIFT) in Gandhinagar, worked with companies in India before heading out to the School of Fashion, Academy of Art University in San Francisco, CA, to get her master ’s degree in Fashion Design.  Her spring 2012 graduate collection debuted during the Academy of Art University’s graduate designer fashion show at Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week in New York.

Vintage brocaded sarees from India were the base fabrics in her collection and she used varied techniques and remembered history to create a unique look which was entirely her own.

At Mercedes-Benz fashion week, Dipti Irla showed dresses made of vintage Indian sarees

Zuzanna wears White Gold Metallic Silk Coat. Pale Pink Metallic Silk Pant.


At the Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week – Fashion Tales from a New Designer

Six Questions for Dipti Irla

1. What was the experience like, presenting your collection on the world stage at Lincoln Center?

Presenting the collection at Lincoln Center was a great experience. I enjoyed making the collection happen as much as I enjoyed looking at it on the stage. I have gained a lot of knowledge about making clothes and fashion which has increased my self-confidence.

2. What do you think you bring to the fashion scene with your Indian sensibilities?

I have always been inspired by Indian culture and craftsmanship. I use a lot of Indian references in my work and try to combine these with other inspirations to make the collection have an international appeal. In doing so, I think I am introducing my Indian sensibilities into a wider fashion scene.

Also, I have been working on sustainable fashion by reusing old garments or using organic materials. I think this also comes to me from my Indian background which is full of examples of organic fabrics, natural dyes, the concept of reusing older things, reducing wastage, etc

3. What has been your inspiration in creating your collection?

My inspiration for this collection came from the colonial period in India and the cultural mix that happened during that time and which is so visible even today. I took references from the Men’s wear during that period to modernize the vintage brocade sarees which I used as my fabric for the collection.

At Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Dipti Irla showed dresses made of vintage Indian sarees

Erjona wears Rose Gold Metallic Silk Shirt dress at Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week

4. What do you think you’ve learned from your experiences in America?

I have been in America for the last four years, and I think I have learned a lot, not just about fashion, but also about being more open minded. Being in school has helped me to interact with people from all parts of the world. This interaction with people from different cultures has helped me evaluate and appreciate my own roots. Also, having a variety of skilled teachers in Academy of Art University has improved my designing and technical skills.

At Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week, Dipti Irla showed her collection made of vintage Indian sarees.

Collection by Dipti Irla

5. What are your plans once you return to India?

I will be in India for two months and then will be back in the US. My husband works here, so I am planning to look for a job when I get back.

6. Who are the designers you’re inspired by?

I am inspired by a lot of designers. I loved Alexander McQueen for his amazing designs and an equally strong technical knowledge. I like Nicolas Ghesquiere (Balenciaga) for his modern designs and techniques. I like Francisco Costa (Calvin Klein) for his minimal and modern designs. In Indian designers, I love Sabyasachi Mukherjee for reviving the traditional Indian clothes with such elegance.

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Sabah Mansoor at New York’s Fashion Week

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Lavina Melwani is a New York-based journalist who writes for several international publications. [email protected] & @lassiwithlavina Sign up for the free newsletter to get your dose of Lassi!

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