Category Archives: Runway Fashion

Runway Leads to India: Marchesa Spring 2013

Designers Keren Craig and Georgina Chapman launched Marchesa only in 2004 and today they are one of the top choices for the red carpet. They use delicate, sheer fabrics, flowy silhouettes, a wide array of colors and often global inspired designs that give their dresses a boho touch.

Did you know that Marchesa was launched on the red carpet by Renee Z during the London premier of Bridget Jones: Edge of Reason in 2004. This dress used Indian silks in the typical maroon-red color and was embellished heavily with golden threads and beads.

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Not a fan of this dress but hats off to Renee for choosing it and carrying it so well

Some other stars who wore Indian inspired gowns on the red carpet:

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Mary J Blige at Cannes, 2008. I really like this one.

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Diane Kruger at the Golden Globes, 2005. This is SO perfect for a Bollywood item song!

For their Spring 2013 runway collection, they looked at India for inspiration again. And they sure did an amazing job.

They used characteristic Indian colors like Maroon, Gold, Orange, Fuchsia and Deep Blue. They used silhouettes that remind you of the epic Indian sari with lots of embellishment, of course. There were also simpler, but elegant outfits that comprised of a tunic top and cropped pants, much similar to our Salwar/Churidar-Kameez.

I find the collection very wearable. If you look at the cuts, fabrics, colors and embellishments, you will be amazed to see how smoothly Indian embroidery and silhouettes have been conjured to create an overall non-Indian look. By using fabrics like brocade and silk and by incorporating embroidery and embellishments that are very typical of traditional Indian outfits, they pretty much covered what Indian fashion stands for.

I would love to see more of such pieces on the Red Carpet in the coming years.

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(This is the first of the ‘India Inspired Designer Collection’ series).

Oscar De La Renta–Favorite Red Carpet Dresses

Oscar De La Renta has been a favourite for Red Carpet goers. He was known for his glorious, feminine dresses that have gorgeous textures, soft colors, delicate fall and of course, those pretty ruffles. This Dominican designer has dressed famous celebrities, including Jackie Kennedy, Sarah Jessica Parker and Tina Fey. His evening dresses and red carpet gowns are an easy choice.

His death due to cancer is dismaying. This legend is leaving behind a big black hole in the high fashion and couture industry.

Looking back at Red Carpet sightings, it is amazing to see how many of the best looks have been Oscar De La Renta.

Here are some of my favorite looks.

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Amy Adams – Oscars 2013

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Taylor Swift – MET Gala 2014

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Anne Hathaway – Tony Awards 2009

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Jennifer Lawrence – Screen Actors Guild Awards, 2011

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Jennifer Garner – Oscars 2014

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Nina Dobrev – Instyle Golden Globe Awards After Party, 2013

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Emma Watson – Harry Potter & Deathly Hallows Part 2 World Premiere, 2011

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Cameron Diaz – Oscars 2010

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Sarah Jessica Parker – MET Gala 2014

All pictures from Internet

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History and Fashion

If you look back into history, really back into history, you will find interesting styles – hairstyles, dressing styles and concepts. What is even more interesting is to see why people dressed the way they did. There were rules, hierarchies, obnoxious beliefs and interesting stories. History is a very interesting topic. It is so fascinating to know how people lived in olden times. And just think of it, there was a time when there were kings-queens, not a world of normal, working adults. How did the queens live? They wore elaborate dresses and actually had helpers help them sit and stand because their dresses were so heavy. What did the Kings do whole day? Address courts and fight on horses? How did man survive when he did not have a safe place to live and had to wander through forests having experimental food and fighting for life every day? How did he really invent shoes?

For me, all of it is really fascinating. And magical, to some extent.

We can trace back clothing and accessories way back to 3100 BC to Ancient Egyptian and Mesopotamian civilizations. Ancient Greek, Rome, Early and Late Middle Ages, Northern Renaissance – all of these eras are superbly charming. Clothing gets richer, more elaborate and ornate.

But guess what, history repeats. And how! Designers have taken inspiration regularly from olden time’s art and costumes. Some influences are blatant, while some are subtle. I like both of them. For my first assignment in the History of Fashion class, I was allotted Medieval Ages (300 – 1500 BC); so the costumes are not ornate. Just interesting.

Here are the old pictures and their modern day influences.

Wimple: A garment worn around the neck and chin, and which usually covers the head.

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Portrait of a Young Woman in a Pinned Hat (1435) painted by Rogier van der Weyden

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Modern day wimple. Shot by Mario Testino for Vogue UK Sept 2011

Bliaut: a women’s and also a men’s overgarment worn from the eleventh to the thirteenth century in Western Europe, featuring voluminous skirts and horizontal puckering or pleating across a snugly fitted under bust abdomen. The sleeves fit closely from the shoulder to approximately the elbow, and then widen from the elbow to drape to floor- or nearly floor-length.

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Terence’s Comedies, St. Albans Abbey, mid 12th century, Folio 10 recto

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Gareth Pugh Sprint 2013. May not be a perfect adaptation of the original concept but I just loved the ruffles and fall on this outfit!

Hennin: A headdress in the shape of a cone or “steeple”, or truncated cone worn in the late Middle Ages by European women of the nobility.

Philosophy Presenting the Seven Liberal Arts to Boethius (Paris, French, about 1460 – 1470) attributed to Coëtivy Master, in the Consolation of Philosophy

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Jean Paul Gaultier Haute Couture Fall-Winter 2013/2014, Paris

Houppelande: An outer garment, with a long, full body and flaring sleeves, that was worn by both men and women in Europe in the late Middle Ages.

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A panel painting, part of Ghent Altarpiece, Belgium

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Dance Maestro Astad Deboo showcasing ‘Jade’ by Monica and Karishma at Lakme Fashion Week India 2014

Segmentae: Square or round decorative medallions that were placed in different areas of the tunic for decoration.

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Mosaic of Archangel Michael from Church of Santa Maria dell Ammiraglio, Palermo, Italy

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Anuj Sharma’s ‘Button Masala’ at Lakme Fashion Week India 2014

Clavi: Vertical stripes which decorate the front and back of a tunic.

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A historic piece in The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York

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Chanel Pre-Fall 2011

And I can just go on and on. There are so many beautiful costumes and their modern day designs that it is really inspiring. Check out pictures of Dolce & Gabbana Fall 2013 collection on this lovely blog. Their collection, also inspired by medieval times, is mesmerizing. All their models look like Princesses.

If History, Art and Fashion interest you, check out Byzantine, Italian Renaissance, Medieval Times, Ancient Greek and Roman Empires costumes. You will be surprised with what you find.

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This post features on Blogadda’s Spicy Saturday’s Picks (4th Oct ‘14)

Step Dance On Runway

I recently posted an interesting video on my Facebook page. It was Rick Owen’s Spring 2014 collection fashion show from Sept 2013. Interestingly, his models weren’t slim, tall and fair. They were black and had real bodies. They did not do the regular catwalk. They were not required to look pretty. They had their faces angry and gritty. They bared their teeth and looked ferocious while they performed the step-dance. Their energy was violent. It is indeed a captivating video.

Stepping is an old form of dance that originated in Africa. It is an aggressive dance in which the dancer’s entire body is used to create rhythms through footsteps and hand clapping. This dance is usually performed in groups.

African tribal men used this dance to attract and impress women. Their step-dance involved rolling their eyes and baring their teeth. More aggressiveness was considered more attractive.

Step-dance was very popular in American Universities amongst African-American students. Today, there are stepping dance groups and competitions.

The point of all this is that fashion picks up lot of things from history. History repeats itself. We see how trends of sixties and seventies keep coming back; how vintage is totally in suddenly. If you go back and look at how people dressed in 3000 BC in various dynasties, you will see familiar designs. Many of today’s styles have been picked up from there.

Rick Owen’s Spring 2014 sportswear collection is called ‘Vicious’. His way of presenting his collection through vicious step-dance has been very innovative and made everyone sit up and watch.

You MUST watch the video. It is spectacular.

We were shown this video in our History of Fashion class.

Pakistani Designers Impress at Lakme Fashion Week 2014

Top Pakistani designers dazzled on Day 1 of Lakme Fashion Week 2014. They brought in colors, patterns and art of a different culture, this bringing in a whiff of fresh air to this popular runway show. These designers debuted at the fashion week for the first time and oh, what a grand introduction it has been. I loved Anita Dongre (always a favorite), Anavila, Swati Vijaivargie and Shruti Sancheti (tough to choose just four favourites) too but designers from our neighbouring country brought something new on the plate. Here are some of my favourite looks.

Sania Maskatiya

Sania Maskatiya’s collection ‘Sakura’ was inspired by Japanese culture depicting cherry blossoms, tea houses and famous Japanese landscapes. Her silhouettes were classic, yet contemporary, very wearable and prints, refreshing. I loved the silky fabric she used and how she mixed fauna prints with geometric.

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Lakme Fashion Week

Lakme Fashion Week

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Pictures Source: Sania Maskatiya Facebook Page

Zara Shahjahan

Her collection, ‘City of Gardens’, was inspired by vintage fashion of old Lahore; vintage florals were pre-dominant. She used lot of organza and shimmer in pastel colors. She is known for her intricate designs and silhouettes that represent feminine grace.

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Lakme Fashion Week

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Lakme Fashion Week

Pictures Source: Zara Shahjahan Facebook Page

Rizwan Beyg

Probably my favourite of the lot. His designs for the fashion week were taken from truck art. He dedicated this collection to local artisans of Pakistan ‘who work on streets and are not recognized’. His quirky graphical designs were dosed in overwhelming color combinations.

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Lakme Fashion Week

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Lakme Fashion Week

Lakme Fashion Week

Interesting, right?

Pictures Source: Riyaz Beyg Facebook Page

Got a favourite?

India International Jewellery Week 2014–My Favorites

It rained stars at the recent IIJW event held at Grand Hyatt, Mumbai. IIJW showcased some of India’s best jewellery and costume designers. The ramp sizzled with beauty, jewels and rich fabrics for 3 days. Celebrities and models, equally dazzling, showed off fabulous pieces of jewellery along with gorgeous lehengas and gowns. Difficult to choose a few favourites but here is my list.

Brand ambassador Sonam Kapoor walked for Nazraana in a beautiful, vintage off white dress by Ashi Studio (a Lebanese brand). As always, she rocked the vintage look. This one has got to be everyone favorite, right?

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Former Miss India, Pooja Chopra, walks for Swarovski. Now this one looks like a very cute demure Indian bride.

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Raveena Tandon looked a beautiful mess when she walked for Dipti Amisha

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Amisha Patel wore a gorgeous lehenga in a beautiful color combination for Swarovski.

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Sagarika Ghatge projected an Indian woman’s pure beauty in a simple elegant saree by Anavila as she walked for Ganjam Jewellers.

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Diya Mirza looked delicate in a catchy half saree as she walked for Shobha Shringar.

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Parineeti kept her makeup minimum and let the Shyamal and Bhumika black and gold gown do all the talking as she walked for Bridhichand Ghanshyamdas Jewellers.

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Sunny Leone reminds me of Cleopatra in this royal black attire. She sashayed down the ramp for Apala.

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Canadian beauty Lisa Ray glowed in a coral gown and outstanding blue stone earrings by Farah Khan Ali.

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Bong beauty Bipasha Basu turned showstopper for Neeta Lulla’s Autumn Winter Bride collection. She looked amazing. The color combination is stunning, so is the intricate embroidery.

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Sonam Kapoor did it once again. She looked a real princess in a delicate white saree by Neeta Lulla. The headband was icing on top of the cake.

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Got a favorite?

All pictures from internet

Nature Inspired Designs

In our Principles of Design class, we are given a theme for our final projects based on which we are required to make a miniature dress. Past topics have been vegetation and sea world. This time, we are asked to make costumes based on microorganisms. Can you believe it??!!

*Shudder*

I feel terrible about it. I am someone who cannot look at any vaguely gross sight like blood, cut, animal close ups and I am expected to go through hundreds of microorganism pictures on internet, study them and choose one.

Well, I tried thrice today and ended up getting goose bumps, shuddering horribly and closing the page with trembling hands. Jeez, I am still shuddering. I have been really looking forward to this project but this is scaring the wits out of me.

I am thinking of asking a friend or someone to go through pictures and save some decent pictures for me to look at – pictures that do not resemble a living being or their parts in anyway.

*Creeped out*

That apart, I found some really cool pictures of designs inspired by nature, mostly plant and animal life. Our instructor showed us books of excellent designs created by geographical structures like deserts, oceans, raindrops, etc. This is a great tip for aspiring designers. Look around at nature. You will find symmetry and design there. Get inspired by them.

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And I will let you know after a few days what I did with my project.

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(All pictures via Google images)