Monday, March 31, 2008

Hip, Hip, Hippie!!!

I have been accused of being a bit of a Hippie; whatever that means. I am easily distracted, love changing cities, am a tad obsessed with the concepts of freedom and love. I do voice loud protests against any indication of authority, and have pretty sharp political views. Does that qualify? Even if it does, I am a couple of decades late, ain’t I?

So maybe I am a Hippie in spirit and philosophy; that much is possible. I love fashion, and like stylish people and proclaim to all who hear (and read) that dressing well is NOT inversely proportional to your IQ. I would not trust a man or a woman with anything, if I can’t trust them with taking good care of themselves. So hate me.

The movement is all gone and done with, but not the essence of it. It crops up, in art, in fashion. And now, more than ever before, the way this generation of people dressed up, is vindicated. From the fun and feisty Etro to the white and breezy Topshop Unique, the Hippie is back. Modernized and accepted by the fashion conscious, tie-dyed dresses, colorful sandals, peasant blouses and full-length skirts are a rage for this summer.

Etro's Colorful Prints

Topshop Unique Does A White Number

Roberto Cavalli Revisits The Hippie Culture

Veronique Branquinho's Tie-Dyed Stunner

Derek Lam Make It Floral And Feminine

I have made a conscious choice to prove the accusations right. I start my new job tomorrow, and my work wardrobe is full on hippie fashion statement – each piece is eccentric and unique, and is an extension of my own personality. There is no specific style, just unique clothes with a lot of color. So I guess, there is no denying now… maybe in a past life, I was indeed a Hip Hippie!

(All Images courtesy

Friday, March 28, 2008

Is that Summer I smell?

I would be lying if I claim that I actually look forward to summer. But these pretty things I saw at Urban Outfitters, almost made me look forward to the summers. Even in a city like Mumbai! Extreme right is the Kimchi and Blue scarf print skirt, and on the left, printed lace strap frock, my two favorites from their collection. I would team them with the plaid gauze scarf, and the striped aviator or swan lake sunglasses. Other lovely pieces worth acquiring are the Lux Digital Floral skirt, and the cherry blossom jersey dress.

For once, the summer seems worth the heat.

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Summer Sunshine

Ran into her again. Yup, the first ever shotcouture girl! It was a special day, because the blog has come a long way since then. She was, as usual, dressed well, and this time it was her shoes and her bag. The bag was an old Ritu Kumar design. Those fringed boots are being graced by the most fashionable feet across town. Her skinny jeans and layered tees combo are perfect for her petite frame. She wore an ancient silver Rajasthani necklace, called Hasli. It’s like a massive, rigid ring for the neck. A pair of well-suited shades and our young lady is all set for a day out in the Mumbai summer!

Sunday, March 16, 2008

WLIFW --- Priyadarshini Rao

Wednesday marked the start of the Wills Lifestyle India Fashion Week. The autumn-winter edition of the fashion week saw 82 designers showcasing their work over five days. Buyers from London, Paris, Tokyo and Europe lined up to pick and choose from among the best Indian fashion has to offer.

I have been following up the collections over the past few days and only a few really stood out for me. I look for designs that truly say “Indian” and not appear to be inspiration-starved interpretations of “Western” trends. One designer who hit a home run as far as my aesthetic sensibilities are concerned, is Priyadarshini Rao.

This year, the designer presented a very contemporary ethnic collection, with perfectly blended western influences. The highlights of the collection were a range of Kurtas and tops worn with churidars, saris worn with trendy bubble-tops, full length skirts with long jackets and empire line kurtas.

Priyadarshini is not a designer to shy away from color and colors were aplenty in her collection with ochres, olive greens, rusty reds, mud browns, orange, pink and turquoise blue making an appearance.

What I loved about the uber trendy bubble tops were the seamless way they can transition from a blouse to a perfect match for a pair of skinny jeans.

Pleated cuffs on the kurtas were another charming feature of the collection. In fact, the pleats were an integral part of her designs this year. They were there, on the sleeves, on the kurtas , and on the tops worn as blouses with long skirts or saris.

She gave the puffed sleeves a sleeker avatar, adding yet more character to the kurta dresses. I say kurta dresses, because some of them really could be worn as dresses. Priyadarshini has played with fabrics, getting playful now and then with motifs. Like in the kurta below, where a summery motif balances the warm colors of the dress.

Priyadarshini’s designs work on the wearability and minimalism principles. And this collection too was a reflection of her style that has made her one of the better selling designers in India. Her silhouettes are flattering and uncomplicated. And she works well with natural fabrics, creating collections that are a reflection of international trends, but with very Indian sensibilities.

I find her collection complete, with her designs transcending day and night wearability. I can see myself wearing her clothes for just about any occasion, such is her versatility.

# All photographs, courtesy

Sunday, March 9, 2008

Thinking Out Of The "Box"- Installation Art

This one is really interesting. We have all heard of the Tibetan Prayer Wheels. They are literally wheels on a spindle. Traditionally made from metal, wood, leather, or coarse cotton, they form the base for depiction or encapsulation of prayers, mantras and symbols such as the Ashtamangala (too complicated to explain in this space). It is believed that the spinning of the prayers wheels has the same effect as orally reciting the prayers or the mantras.

Prayer Wheels In Samye --- Photo courtesy, Wikipedia

What some of you might or might not have heard of are the Mumbai Dabbawalas. The word translates literally into “one who carries a box”. A “dabba” is a cylindrical tin or aluminium container or box. It is used for carrying one’s lunch, and there are special delivery services that use men to send these pre-packed lunch boxes to their destinations. So a dabbawala loosely translates into a “lunch box delivery man”. This is a highly specialized service, and an integral part of the life and culture in Mumbai. Many people in Mumbai commute to workplaces far away from their home. This makes it inconvenient for them to carry a wholesome, elaborate lunch-meal to office. So many office workers order cooked meals sent by a caterer who delivers it to their workplace, in the dabba. These are recollected the same day, and the next day, a fresh dabba is sent over. To mark the dabbas, the dabbawalas use a distinguishing symbol or color on them. Many NGO’s use these dabbas to put spread social service messages across the city, simply by putting a removable sticker on them!

Dabba! - Photo courtesy, Wikipedia

So what am I getting at? Yes. The installation art at the Kala Ghoda Festival. As a tribute to this integral part of the bustling city, one of the installations was a depiction of the simple dabbas as … prayer wheels! It was truly inspired and breath-taking. I loved the use of vibrant colors on the dabbas, made to look like rotating prayer-wheels. I love the way art can seamlessly bring together a spiritual concept and a day-to-day survival idea. Brilliant!

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Great Minds Think Alike?

I love Deepika Padukone's smile. I think she is among the prettiest faces in Bollywood. Jennifer Garner too is a gorgeous woman, albeit from the other side of the world. But it seems that the distance has nothing to do with their sartorial preferences. Because when it came to dressing up for the biggest night of the year (Filmfare Awards and The Academy Awards, respectively), the ladies were pretty much in sync.

Check out Deepika's form fitting gown, designed by Gauri and Nainika. And then see Jennifer sparkling in an Oscar de la Renta fishtail. Amusing, ain't it? Well, all I can say is that they both looked awesome.

Images via indiatimes photogallery and celebutopia

Kala Ghoda Festival - Cat Tales

As I promised earlier, I am starting a series of the installation art pictures from the Kala Ghoda Festival. But first, a breather. This was perhaps the cutest site at the Festival. There was this exhibition stall with artwork made from scrap. Pretty interesting stuff. While I was browsing through their junkyard art, I spotted these two metal kittens. And right behind them, were two real ones. They was just too well-placed! I was not the only one to notice this sweet coincident. There were cameras flashing all around me. I took several pictures from different angles. The black one, especially, was a real dude. They were not scared of the cameras, and lounged comfortably as the world around them took their pictures.

I wanted to buy one of the cats: the metal one. But the prices were, as usual, prohibitive. Besides, after seeing the two lovely kittens sitting behind these two, buying just one somehow seemed unfair. I know that a lot of hard work must have been involved in the making of these pieces of art. But the entire idea of the festival was to make art more accessible. I know for sure that they did not sell as much as they’d have liked to. Maybe next year, the sellers will get the drift. Volumes of sales will make up for the margins. I hope they see the buyers’ point of view.

Saturday, March 1, 2008

Culture Khichdi -8

One of the final pictures in the series. After this, I plan to do an entry on the installation art and the shops at the Festival. I love the long dress-knit jacket combination. It’s really simple, but works for me because of the way it bring out the colour of her eyes. In the background, you can see the audience gathered for a rock band performing at the makeshift amphitheatre. For the entire duration of the Kala Ghoda Festival, this is the stage where several arts, dance, theatre and music performance draw people from across the city. This is my favorite part of this festival and every year, there are some memorable performances.