When Karl Lagerfeld showed his collection this fall he surprised the world with his latest muse being India. The collection was aptly titled ‘Paris-Bombay collection ’.
Though the collection was inspired by the styles of Indian rajas, Lagerfeld remarked ‘India’s poor are chic ’. The remark brought into focus the travesty of couture which is ostensibly responsible for glorifying the dichotomy of ‘poverty and affluence ’ .
Lagerfeld said emotionally “it sounds terrible to say this but India is one country where even the poor have something very chic about them ” . His feelings seemed to stem out of seeing India’s flamboyant culture of colour and festivities for everyone . It is significant to note that till today even among the poorest of the poor, women wear lots of jewellery and colourful saris or lehngas . One can even see these on the beggars on the Indian roads. The use of colour in India specifically fuchsia , magenta , scarlet , cranberry , which usually westerners find very difficult to use in their wardrobes , continue to be Indian wardrobe staples .
The exuberant use of pinks made the famous Diana Vreeland , the iconic Vogue editor exclaiming ‘Pink is the navy blue of India ’. French Designer Jean Paul Gaultier was the first designer to use extensive Indian jewellery complete with head gear , nose rings and intricate chains but only on men, which brought out a fantastical Postmodern identity which raged the Paris run ways and brought in the fetishistic obsession of today with tattooing ,body piercing and cross-dressing .
However this is the first time that western couture is officially paying a tribute to Indian couture by designing totally on traditional Indian lines .
So what we get is a dream wardrobe in the colours of rich ivories , soft silver , dazzling golds , sooty greys and off course the iconic Indian hot pinks ,with lavish touches of old gold or sophisticated silver on shoulders, belts and necklines.
The majestic Indian silhouettes are teamed with silver jewellery which is like a mix of Kundan and byzantine , lending the collection its exotic appeal .
The use of translucent lace worked on with bold yet subtle embroidery , satin woven like a cascade of water yet cut and draped into tight fitting jackets makes one marvel at the sheer perfection of Lagerfeld’s art.
Now with Indian aesthetics becoming central to the world of Fashion , are we Indians ready for it ? ‘I say 'yeah!’ ‘Just bring it on’ and ‘bling it on’.
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