Péro SS 14. At India Fashion Week in Delhi.
Archive for the ‘WIFW’ Category
I’ve tried to put together the urban Indian crowd that attends fashion weeks(look at Bombay here). It’s a small filtered out crowd.
I’m sometimes asked about the trends I see in India. I can’t point at one thing and say this is happening. Can anybody? India is too vast and diverse. It looks like a lot is happening simultaneously within a small crowd. Colour blocking. Traditional/vintage mixed with new. Prints mixed with colours. Tailored. Structured. Asymmetry. Lot of customization and personalization.
You see a lot of people endorsing the designers they like. Borrowed for the day, gifted, or bought. (Lesly Lobeni in Varun Sardana. Karuna Laungani in Rahul Mishra. Sabina Halder in Abdul Halder. Ridhima Sud in Pia Pauro. Ruhi Sheikh in Bodice).
Designers wearing the clothes they make. (Arya John, Ruchika Sachdeva. Hiroko Takahashi.) There is Sarojini stuff combined with online stores. Old hand-me-downs(Carol Humtsoe). Vintage(Monica) Head to toe luxury(Pooja Khurana in Dior+Karen Miller). Models are usually in loose casual clothes and flat shoes. (A bit of generalization.)
Another thing you can’t help notice is the working class people at fashion weeks. You see them around on all days but start finding them in abundance on the last day as they start dismantling stages and stalls. It’s interesting to see how they mix with the fashion crowd. They move in lines. Mostly looking down. In & out of the same areas as everyone else – the smoking area, by the party lounges, the designers’ stalls, backstage. Through loud music, drunk happy people, media spotlight, celebrities. They don’t talk at all. Even when they are together they don’t seem to be talking much. Like they were told not to.
However, I didn’t photograph them just to show the contrast between the classes. Guess everybody knows it exists pretty much everywhere in India. I like their aesthetics.
All photos from 2011-2012 WIFW in Delhi.
Kuku, Lulu, & Mercy in péro ss13.
Photographed before péro aw13 show at Pragati Maidan, New Delhi in March 2013.
You mentioned you are always trying to bring normalcy in fashion through your clothes which you don’t see a lot. Why do you think you need this normalcy? This struck me in NID. We are always in this struggle to go back to the past, go back to the roots, go back to being “normal” and ordinary and rooted. We live in these plush houses and we end up going to resorts to walk barefoot. What I am trying to stress upon each and every season is just because one is making clothes that cost a hell lot of money they don’t have to be made of chiffon and look expensive. As a brand we get queries from stores and personal clients abroad, appreciating our brand and what we do; but frankly we have not always been able to “click” with the audience here in India. Sometimes I do have a dilemma as to whether I wish to be niche or whether I wish to be niche-but-still-reach-out to a wider group. We retail at select 12 boutiques across the country, but at times I have been asked to make slightly more “ornate and rich looking” clothes by our buyers just because sometimes our clothes end up looking “normal” and not “value-for-money.” But hey, if I were to tell you the Dhakai Jamdani handloom cotton fabrics that we used in one of our past collections cost us Rs 875/metre just because each motif was hand-woven painstakingly, would you believe me? (while silk costs Rs 350/metre)
Fashion doesn’t have to be glamorous all the time. I can’t seem to understand what it is with fashion that is always about the “glam” and the short and the tight! Why do fashion magazines need to have girls in pouty lips posing for you. Why can’t we shoot in villages and document the beautiful landscapes or their karigari, something like what Steve McCurry did in that Desert Storm image with the women huddled up in a group. It blows my mind. (Taking a drift…it is bizarre that it is always the westerners that capture the real essence of things, in this case, India, and portray it so very beautifully.)
What are you looking forward to?
Showing at Wills. I feel LFW is losing its essence. It’s too glamorous for me. And I really wish there were more critics. I don’t want to know who show stopped for who or who showed up at which after-party in what clothes & media running behind actors. It’s good if it works for others but I don’t like it. I hope Wills doesn’t have all that. I don’t want to know who is sitting in my front row as long as there are the right kind of people.
Who are the right kind of people?
Somebody who understands what is going on with the clothes. Someone who can appreciate your work and give constructive criticism and is not just there to talk about front row, runway celebrities, and after parties.
Best thing about what you do.
It is a high to create things out of scratch. And at the end of each collection, once I see the girls walking down the ramp (no matter how modest I am usually), I feel this great sense of achievement. That, hey-you-know-what the clothes you just saw on the ramp, whether you liked them or not, were made from scratch by our weavers and our karigars and our printers and dyers; and yes, I am the designer behind it.
Excerpts from an old talk I had with Paromita Banerjee at LFW about a year ago. Runway photos from her old shows at LFW and recent AW 13 show at WIFW. Outdoor: Carol Humtsoe in Paromita Banerjee AW 13, photographed during WIFW at Pragati Maidan in Delhi.
Stephen Lotha. 29. Fashion stylist for Cosmopolitan India. Belongs to the Lotha tribe. Grew up in Dimapur. Lives in Delhi. Likes Guo Pei, Kris Van Assche, Sonia Rykiel, The Way we Wore, ACNE, Lana Del Rey, Keane, As Good As It Gets, Jessica Chastain…
Are you an optimist? Very much. I could’ve been a good pessimist but then I wouldn’t be happy.
How important is fashion to you?
I enjoy fashion. It makes me happy. I don’t mind people forming opinions about me because of what I wear. I care a lot about what I put on my back. I feel naked in denim and t-shirts alone. I feel the world is my prom and I need to dress up.
You studied English Literature at Loyola. How was it? And how did you get into fashion?
It made me speak better English. My feminist professor adored me. Nice people…that city. However, studying there was just to make my mom happy with a college degree. Fresh out of college I wanted to be independent so I took a job at a call center. Worked there for 3 years. Then one day Carol wanted me to style her portfolio. I helped her. A make-up artist called Chandni Singh liked my work and helped in spreading the word. It moved from there.
What’s the best and worst thing about Dimapur?
I like the fact that alcohol is cheap there. Also, the fashion for sure…the flea markets, and the quality pork. Worst: Well the roads are only meant for cows.
How often do you go back? Any favourite hangouts? I go back once in a year or two. Hang out mostly at cousins’ places or occasionally at some bars. I love Dimapur but I could live without going back ever.
What do you think of fashion in Dimapur?
Fashion is ‘the all’ for Dimapurians. We thrive on it. Ask anyone. It’s fashion before food and air. I used to love it before people became richer. Now it’s a little vulgar with everybody acting too uptight and dropping brand names.
You told me you grew up dreaming about making clothes..
Yes. Since I was 9ish. I used to sketch gowns and shoes all over my books and mom used to thrash me. Once mom collected all my sketches in a huge bag and handed it to my principal. I got 10 blows on my back. My grades were not too good either. She wanted me to do/become something else.
How was your childhood like?
Adventurous, really. I saw things that I wasn’t supposed to see. It wasn’t all gas balloons and butterflies, and hence it made me search for wonderful things beyond. The television was a box of magic and it made me giddy(not that we owned one). Back then I felt I should be on tv and make people love me.
Mom and I used to live in a house made for poultry. Two years. We would lie in bed and see the stars from the holes in the roof. It was fascinating..but not during the rains.
I stayed in an orphanage for a year. Mom was poor. The place gave me free food and stay but made all of us work like crazy. I used to pull a cart carrying pig feed up to like 5 kilometres in Dimapur. I was 9. I know what is embarrassment, shame, what it feels like to be hungry, broke, and hopeless.
Any happy memories?
Well maybe the sundays when we were served meat for dinner. And mom visiting me once in a while. I used to cry when she’d leave.
What keeps you going?
Comic books. Strawberry ice-cream. My dreams of living in an Andy Warhol inspired house one day and a lot of money to buy good stuff pushes me. And on a trying day, a sincere prayer.
Photographed in Delhi & Dimapur.
Is 24 years old. Works as a model. Is from Dimapur. Shuttles between Bombay and Delhi for work.
“It started off after I chanced upon this scrap of writing online. Loosely based on the concept of BORO – mended or patched textiles used as items of clothing in Japan by the peasants, merchants, & artisans. Born out of the forgotten values of Mottainai or “too good to waste” — an idea lacking in the modern consumer lifestyle. The collection would be a series of stories on the ramp, like our past collections.” – Paromita Banerjee
You mentioned cape somewhere. I picked it out randomly.
The cape is something I have always required as being an important item in my personal wardrobe. It is mainly waistcoat style, more drapy. Perfect for layering when you think the inner layer is getting too plain for wear.
I had been staring at these images from my archives while visualizing the cape. I have loads of them so I’m not exactly sure where each one is from. 1st photo is of a Sufi man taken in Uttar Pradesh in 1983. I’m a huge fan of “babasteve” image bank on flickr. Some images are from there. I think he’s brilliant.
Excerpts from a short talk with Paromita Banerjee about her Winter collection and inspirations. It’s her first show ever at WIFW(14th March 2pm). I’ll be there.
Akaaro AW12 by Gaurav Jai Gupta.
Photos from the AW 12 shows at WIFW earlier this year. WIFW SS 13 starts in a week from now — from 6th to 10th October.
Schedule: Nachiket Barve 4.30pm October 8. Rishta 5.45pm October 8. Anand Bhushan 4.30pm October 9. Péro 5.45pm October 9. Hoping to make it to Delhi..and the shows.
Kuku wearing Péro. Is a musician from Nagaland. Was hanging out at Péro stall with other Tetseo Sisters promoting their new album Li: Chapter One. Check their blog here where they talk about music, clothing, and life.
“Péro’s fall-winter 2012 collection is a patchwork of textiles from various parts of India- khakis from West Bengal, ikats from Andhra Pradesh, pashminas from Kashmir, and woven wool from Kumaon.”
Péro means ‘to wear’ in Marwari, the local language of Rajasthan. I previously documented Péro at LakmeFashionWeek in 2010. See here.
The label is owned by Aneeth Arora, a textile/dress maker. She is mostly inspired by the clothing styles of local people & considers them to be the real trend-setters of our times.
“Pret in silk, chiffon, organza, lightweight dull crepe, and lasercut georgette. Animal skin textures and patterns are recreated in Anand Bhushan’s signature ornate surface styles. Drape, soft tailoring, roomy bodycon, & options for varying frame are constructed in precise proportions….a chic harmony of surface and shape.”
Anand Bhushan is showing his collection Tribe at Wills India Fashion Week 2011 at 2p.m. on 11.10.11. Come.