Tag Archives: indian fusion

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).

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Pattern Play

Have you ever been so taken with a TV series, film or novel that you look for its instances and scenes in real life? I have been greatly influenced by.. hold it… Tom & Jerry cartoons!

Oh yes. I have perhaps watched too much of them, not just in school, but even later on. I can still watch the episodes I remember by heart and laugh as much. I remember scenes; I remember common instances that appear regularly on the cartoon. And I keep comparing my real life to it. I mean, really.

Like, we went to this Persian restaurant the other day and they served turnip with kabobs. I remembered an episode of T & J where Jerry goes shopping inside a fridge for food (for his magician uncle) and puts in Tom’s nose in his cart. When Tom taps him from behind and points to the place where his nose once was, Jerry quickly removes something from his cart and hands over to Tom. Tom attaches it to his face only to realize that it’s a turnip.

Yup, turnip reminds me of that.

How Tom’s face becomes flat when hit with a pan. How tom fluffs up his pillow before dozing off on it (I do the same with my cushions). And so on.

(Should I be embarrassed that I do things that Tom, the cat, a fictitious cartoon character does too?)

Lately, Law & Order obsession has taken over me. I talk to my husband often as ‘If Jack McCoy heard you say this, he would have said…’ or ‘Goren would have found out about this in minutes…) or ‘I saw a suspicious looking guy outside my gym today; I noted down his bag, clothes, etc in case I am called as a witness’. I actually have a deep desire to be contacted as a witness in a crime or such. Every time a van drives by me, I try to observe its color, painting, etc. If I see workers working on roofs or in gardens, I look at their faces.

I am perhaps going crazy over it. I feel so close with those characters and expect to see them around me in real life.

I have always been fond of murder mysteries; so watching 2 or 3 one hour episodes in a row is no surprise. But getting so carried away by fictional stories and characters.. well, this is something new.

Do you have any such imaginations to share? Or are they too scandalous to tell?

Outfit details:

Jacket: The Basic Closet

Jeans: Bossini

Floral top: Valleygirl (Au)

Shoes: Singapore

Bead necklace: Colaba Causeway

Bracelets: Street finds Bangalore, Baroda

Lipstick: Piccadilly Pink, Rimmel London

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Good Things Have Happened

Moving countries can be difficult. Switching careers can be difficult. Leaving your comfort zone and walking into unknown can be difficult. Trying to establish yourself with all these constraints can be slow and frustrating. It requires lot of patience and perseverance.

This phase seems to be going on forever for me. I am always looking with a lot of remorse at what all I gave up. That said, I have seen so many new things, learnt so many new things and met different kinds of people who have widened my thinking horizon. This move has brought out my hidden wishes, desires and aspirations. I have done things I only imagined that I wanted to do but never did. And never thought I would ever be able to.

So today, on a very positive note, I list down all that I have gained from the Big
Move that happened 1.5 years back.

I learnt to bake

And cook. I have loved trying new dishes, searching for recipes and challenging myself. Ages ago, I had visualized myself as an expert cook but I had absolutely nil experience in the kitchen! This move brought out that side in me. I taught myself baking too! I have some signature cakes that I bake on friends’ birthdays and carry to gatherings as gift to the host. When I reached the stage when I was passing on recipes to others, I concluded I had reached my goal.

I dance every week

.. and became a fitness freak in the process. I was forever looking for Aerobics classes in gyms in India. Weights and machines have never appealed to me but dancing does. I always wanted to be very fit and have great stamina. I joined the nearest gym that has regular group classes like Yoga, Spinning, Zumba, Pilates, etc. Obviously, Zumba is my favourite. The group received me with welcoming hands and I feel a great sense of belonging there. I literally let my hair down and dance like I’m the only one dancing (I happen to be a good dancer. So it’s okay!). Once my stamina improved with Zumba and yoga, I moved on to other exercises and my own capacity amazes me. To enjoy the process more, I got myself some gorgeous workout clothes (again something I always wanted) that boost my morale even more.

I get to eat all kinds of food

I am a foodie. Apart from my huge appetite and weak willpower, I love eating different cuisines and types of food. America is food paradise. You name it and its here. I have indulged in Italian, Peruvian, Mexican, Pakistani, Thai, American, Persian, Cuban and Greek food eagerly and have loved every bit of the journey. There is a new variety at every corner and it is a wonderful opportunity for people who love to just eat.

I learnt to talk

I used to be an introvert. Put me in a group of people (even if they were known) and I didn’t have guts to open my mouth. I preferred hiding behind someone. Here, I learnt to open up. I learnt to get along with all kinds of people. I gained the confidence to face people and strike a conversation with them.

I got even more obsessed with music

I love music. The first thing I do in the morning is switch on music. I love different genres of music. Like, ghazals, 90’s Bollywood, dance, Sufi. Here, I was introduced to the world of world music. Now I listen to all kinds of music – Country, 70’s, Meditation, Middle Eastern, Soft Rock. FM Radio and Spotify changed my world. It is now way better than before in this aspect.

And there have been many more take-aways.

So… if I really count my blessings, I am indeed blessed.

Now to the outfit. Lately, I am loving printed pants (this is another one I have). Abstract to conversation print to floral. They can even be ethnic. You can go crazy with them. I got these ones from AND and have worn them for almost every outing for a month. They are comfortable and have a great fit. I also love their ethnic appeal.

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Pants: AND

Top: Yishion

Leather flats: Westside

Neckpiece: Gifted (Also posted here)

Bag: Really old!

Going To Ram Leela

I had to watch this movie despite mediocre reviews and friends’ warnings. I had been waiting for this movie since months! For one, I am a Ranveer Singh fan. Second, this movie is based in Gujarat (where I belong). I had to watch it for all things Gujarat is associated with – the costumes, the language, the dance, the names, the locales.

So I did.

I was disappointed that with all the efforts that have been put in, the movie stands on such a feeble foundation. Feuding families. Which is ok but it is ridiculous to drag it for 3 hours. After a point, you don’t understand why they are fighting, in the first place. Raanjhar is a funny town, difficult to perceive. People shoot openly, women are raped and chased openly and the 2 rival groups get violent for no reason.

What things are delightful are the chemistry between the actors, the jewellery and dances (Garba in the song Lahu muh lag gaya is particularly breath-taking). All the songs are a visual treat to garba lovers and aural treat for Gujju folk music fans. Like me, for example. I go into a trance when I listen to garba music and my feet want to start dancing. So I just let the music envelop me in its magic.

Ranveer Singh plays a perfect daring, confident, Gujju casanova. His Gujarati is really cute and his killer looks are magnetic. Deepika is pretty, wears beautiful costumes and does her bit well. When the 2 of them – 2 fabulous dancers, dance together, the air crackles! Their chemistry is fiery. But the sad part is it kind of fizzles out after a point when the movie starts focusing on the local rivalry. And when you are already confused as to why they are fighting, you totally lose touch with the storyline.

The movie has a typical SLB look – lot of color, drama, gorgeous costumes, larger than life sets and swanky music. You will find lot of similarity to his earlier movies. Lahu Muh Lag Gaya begins just like Manmohini and looks quite like Aankhon Ki Gustakhiyan. Dhoop has an uncanny resemblance to Silsila Yeh Chaahat Ka. Laal Ishq reminds you of Yun Shabnami. But still, I am quite addicted to Ram Leela’s songs and they have been rolling in my head since a couple of days.

All said and done, I don’t think much if I end up watching a mediocre movie at cinema. I enjoy the whole experience of dressing up (that’s the key) and going to a lively, colourful place like a multiplex. I also enjoy watching the trailers! For this whole experience, I miss M as my companion. In our single days, we used to watch every other movie, have a gala time dressing up and eating to our heart’s content, not giving a damn to our bank balance and work pressures.

Good days..

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Love Affair With Tie Dye

While Tie Dye is common for people in India and we Indians have literally grown up seeing these designs, it is not very common in other parts of the world. Tie Dye is an ancient art and is rarely visible today. We had a chance to practice different dyeing techniques in class today and my mind and eyes have awakened to the vastness and value of this textile art.

Majorly, this art was born in Asia in Japan, Indonesia and India. Japanese & Indonesians used Shibori techniques for their native costumes (especially kimonos). Two of the Shibori techniques are similar to Bandhini and lehriya. Plangi and Tritik are other kinds. Lot of variations have been developed in each category.

Tie Dye is a technique of resist dyeing (Batik is another resist dyeing technique). Colour ‘resists’ going through certain obstacles and hence creates patterns on fabric. the fabric is first rinsed in plain water as dye catches better once the fabric is wet. After dyeing, the fabric is rinsed again and left to dry. The creativity this art form possesses is limitless. These are some techniques that were popular in class today.

Using pole / bottle

Cloth is wrapped diagonally on a pole (or bottle, in modern times), scrunched up and tied tightly with string. The whole thing is then dyed in single colour or in multiple ways using different colours. This results in waves (something like lehriya) and is one of the most beautiful methods.

This technique is known as Arashi Shibori. There are many other Shibori techniques that use rope, wood pieces and other items to create interesting designs.

Using cloth pins

Fold the fabric into a square and clip cloths pins all over. Dye in one or 2 colors. The result will be a colourful cloth with white ‘sparkling’ diamonds all over.

Using string

Use strings to tie cloth and create circles.

Scrunching

Scrunch up the fabric in a rough round mass and tie it up randomly and tightly.

Accordion style

Pleat up the fabric like an accordion (or fan. Remember school days??). Iron it. either tie it up tightly without disturbing the pleats or clamp it using cloths pins. You can dip the pleat folds separately in a different color to get lines. This is easy and beautiful too.

Bandhini

Of course, how can this Gujarat girl not mention this popular art? An interesting way of creating bandhini is filling each pod with a small bean (black gram or garbanzo bean) and then tying it up. These will, of course, give bigger circles.

There are many, many more possibilities. Dyeing kits are available in stores (along with fasteners that are needed to make the color more stable). They can easily be used to experiment at home. Different fabrics use specific dyes and fasteners. Hence, be sure you are using appropriate dye.

I ended up dyeing 2 china silk scarves in class. It was totally fun, pretty easy and gets your creative side ticking. I am totally impressed by this process and would love to do more of it.

Tie Dye is not very visible today. It probably looks very ninety-ish or loud but if done tastefully, you can create interesting looks. It can work well with the boho look or give out elegance. It also makes you stand out!

Take a look.

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(All pictures from Pinterest)

Here are some useful resources.

http://www.dharmatrading.com/techniques/tiedye/tie-dye-instructions.html

http://tie-dyewiki.com/wikinew/index.php?title=Folds

What do you think.. would you be attempting Tie Dye clothing?

Going Spiritual

No. I am not really becoming spiritual. Nor am I religious. I just visited the Art of Living Aashram in Vasad (near Baroda) with M. This visit was long pending and we did it finally. The aashram is a serene place located on Mahi river bank in the village of Vasad. It was great sitting on the riverbank. Being a Sunday and Navratri time, the Aashram witnessed lot of visitors today.

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While M got immersed in the satsang (which was quite cool because of the guitar background), I looked around at the surroundings (and also kept a look out for the tiny frog that leapt out of nowhere onto my leg. Creepy.)

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I got this lovely cotton dupatta from my favourite store in Baroda, Friendship Bazaar. The moment I saw it, I fell in love with it and despite resisting it initially, I bought it ultimately within 3 days of first sighting it. And I incidentally found the perfect place and event to wear it.

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Except the minor glitch that everyone else was dressed in white while I was in black, I looked like a perfect spiritual student.

I love several international brands and the trends that keep emerging from West but my heart is somewhere in Indian fashion. Whatever I wear, I love to add an Indian touch to it. The chunky ring, sharp blue chappals and brass metal bracelet are few of items of my collection that I love to add to any outfit.

Thanks, M, for this fantastic ring, and for the photographs!