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A bare bones wardrobe
Despite the fact that India has a rich textile heritage, the fashion or couture tradition is fairly new. It may well shock you to know this but the average wardrobe of a woman was supposed to consist of just 5 saris . One she would wear. The other she would wash and hang out to dry. The third would be for sleeping in. The fourth would be a spare one. And the fifth would be a sari she wore for good occasions. You will be happy to know that no woman really followed this rule, but that is all that a woman was expected to really possess in terms of clothes.
The fashion revolution
Luckily things have changed and it won’t be wrong to say that RITU KUMAR was the one who spearheaded the Indian Fashion Revolution.
Since 1969, when she established her first workshop in Calcutta, she has slowly emerged into a leading Indian brand. She has developed her own unique style wherein she incorporates Indian embroideries ( especially zardozi ) and block prints on exquisite colour palettes in silk, cotton and georgette. Even today the Indian contestants at the Miss Universe and Miss World Pageants are dressed in her ensembles.
Satya Paul with his bright prints in georgette, silk and chiffon has contemporised the Indian sari . He has a range of Men’s wear too and what I particularly love are his scarves. Recently he has started his own pret label which I am sure will be as successful as his saris.
The first designer to establish a multi-designer boutique has been Tarun Tahiliani with Ensemble. While he is also a fashion designer with his own label, this concept of showcasing several designers under one roof has established him as one of the big names in Indian Fashion.
The industry finally got its seal of approval when the Ministry of Textiles opened the National Institute of Fashion Technology . This is on the lines of the Fashion Institute of Technology, NY. Since then the Indian fashion industry has seen a proliferation of talent :
And I could go on and on and on. There are a host of designers like Sabyasachi, Masaba, Payal Singhal and a veritable list of designers from A to Z. And each and every one of them has a design sensibility that is unique yet drawing on the rich heritage of India’s Textile Traditions.
Now isn’t this a fantastic new tradition?
Very obviously I’ve taken images from the designers’ own web pages and I do hope I haven’t violated any copyrights or infringed upon intellectual property rights. The intention was only to illustrate how modern designers have incorporated our traditional skills and created a new couture that combines the best of the East and the West.