Even though I am not one of those over enthusiastic dressers, Cecile d’Ascoli’s line of pure fabrics seemed like one of the most obvious choices to me this summer. French at heart but Jew by birth, she met her husband 9 yrs ago at the Oberoi Hotel, New Delhi, when their common friend introduced them to each other for sourcing Indian fabrics and embroideries. Destiny played its part well since now she is settled in the same country which helped her establish her work elsewhere and also find her soul mate.
Shifted 5 yrs ago, Cecile loves India’s diversity, the peace in the hinterland and handmade luxury. For someone who has showcased textile and fashion accessories in Paris at the ‘Maison et objet’, dabbling in everyday wear in India is not so unnerving….the detailing, Ikats and bright colours in malkha fabric are dresses and tops, pants and shirts with a very European casual chic look, but are proudly made in India.
According to her Indians take their heritage and culture for granted and most people do not know their fabrics, or the right style for their body type specially in westerns, as the woman’s dressing sense here has been completely different down the ages.
Indian designers Aneeth Arora of ‘Pero’ and David Abraham and Rakesh Thakore of ‘Abraham and Thakore’ are her friends who have helped her relate to Indian fashion better, along with many other fashionable associations. Now she seems excited about wooing the Indian body type, and at some point even designing the ‘nine yard unstitched cloth-sari’ which is truly an enterprising piece of garment and can be worn in several seductive ways to look absolutely ravishing on just about anybody.
Cecile has now adapted to this way of life, primarily because of her husband, Peter d’Ascoli, who simply loves everything about India. He was associated with the Malkha project which combines the ancient craft of cotton making in India with modern engineering skills- keeping the entire textile chain from cotton to cloth village based. The new machinery empowers the villagers to handle the delicate cotton fibres gently, maintaining their elasticity which gives the fabric a swing. It is known to be soft, which breathes, absorbs, holds colour, reflecting the handmade heritage in its texture.
At present she is simply enjoying the process of catering to the whims and fancies of few upmarket stores like Moon River, En Inde and Ogaan in Hauz Khas Village, New Delhi but only Ensemble in Mumbai. Summer 2014 line is priced between Rs.4000 -7500 and their washing instructions are ‘handwashed with soft detergent’ as they are delicate fabrics. Buckling under production pressure isn’t her type of fun as it kills her creativity, and so she is happy growing organically while continuing to soak in a completely different lifestyle, combined with motherly duties…….since it feels good to be lost in the right direction.