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culture

Refashioning the Pakistani Peshawari Chappal

Agender or gender fluid footwear or clothing have been a part of the Indian subcontinent’s culture since ancient days. In recent times, closer to home one notices the ubiquitous Kohlapuri slippers, Punjabi juttis/mojaris or now the Peshawari chappal – a worn especially by Pashtuns in the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa region of Pakistan; have taken over our everyday fashion choices. Eponymous to the city of Peshawar these flip-flops were originally only worn by men, paired with their traditional pathani suit.

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In March 2014, Paul Smith a brit brand staying true to its dry sense of humour came under the scanner for selling slightly quirky Peshawaris without giving due credit to its design influence. After a change.org petition was signed by several they began selling it with a tagline “Men’s high-shine black leather sandals with neon pink trims inspired by the Peshawari chappal.”

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Indian jungles re-fashioned with Bengali Sholapith craft

In high summer, Edward Abbey‘s excerpt from Postcards from Ed: Dispatches and Salvos from an American Iconoclast “The weather here is windy, balmy, sometimes wet. Desert springtime, with flowers popping up all over the place, trees leafing out, streams gushing down from the mountains. Great time of year for hiking, camping, exploring, sleeping under the new moon and the old stars ” reminded the fashion aficionado in me of a subtle play with opaque and translucent fabrics. Herein, Sahil Kochhar‘s Chanderi and Organza in pristine ivory, champagne rose and cashmere blue have scalloped hems. Ethereally ornamented with silk floss embroidery they are neatly finished with a serrated edging; making way for an apparition to come alive.

His previous two seasons easily managed to transport one from the Bugyals of Uttarakhand to the exotic Jungles of India with a signature technique Shola pith craft from West Bengal  – 3D applique work.

Graduated from National Institute of Fashion Technology, New Delhi in 2006 he won the Most Creative Collection Award and the Best Academic Performance for the program, too. Thereafter at Rohit Bal‘s he assisted in designing for about 6 years. Eventually in 2013  he launched his own namesake label. Two years later, in 2015, was encouraged on receiving the Grazia Young Fashion AwardElle Graduate Award and nominated by Stardust Awards for the Best Costume Design category. This winning spree continued when the talent moved a notch higher in 2016, nominated from India for the regional round of the International Woolmark Prize 2016.

Acknowledged by the Indian fashion industry beginning this year, he was announced the winner of the AZA Fashion’s Next 2018 Business Program at the Amazon Fashion Week. It offers him the much needed mentorship in retail business for a year with immense exposure at a nascent stage of his career. Rewinding his last six years we’ve seen different appliques, fabrics, designs and thread embroideries being re-fashioned. So, I thought it best to ask Sahil few pertinent questions.

 

Getting nostalgic over India’s everyday design

“In India, to understand objects in terms of design one has to re-imagine design itself. Design here is not entirely determined by the aesthetic appeal of the object, but by its significance in our everyday lives (often influenced by its users)” is an understanding of the author Jahnvi Lakhota Nandan of Pukka Indian-100 Objects that Define India published by Roli Books.

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Born in Lucknow, she now lives as a perfumer in Paris and confesses “Their composition has given me a privileged viewpoint to design with  senses. ………..Design captures space and moods where the invisible becoming visible, which is the core of my book, with notions of home.”

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The Art of Textiles

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I remember visiting quite a while ago a small store in New Delhi’s tony Khan Market, on the first floor. Along with its amazing line of home furnishings which revived old school Indian needlework with global inspirations (i.e. French, Moroccan, Portuguese) were the wooden plank shelves which caught my fancy. On inquiring one came to know of the painstaking efforts taken to procure tracks from Indian Railway auctions for their wood which is ideal for furniture, weathered well and very sturdy.

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Jamdani – a sublime weave does justice to slow fashion

She remembers sketching gowns from class 7th onwards after secretly gaping at the international fashion magazines for hours on end. Had fancied a German – Karl Largarfeld ever since, for successfully creating three distinct labels simultaneously – French fashion house Chanel, an Italian one Fendi, along with his own fashion label.

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Continue reading “Jamdani – a sublime weave does justice to slow fashion”

Resplendent Benarasi weaves from history and beyond

Jhini jhini bini chadariya.

kah ke tana, kah ke bharni, kaun taar se bini chadariya

ingla pingla taana bharni, sushumna tar se bini chadariya.

ashta kamal dal charkha doley, panch tatva, gun tini chadariya

saiin ko siyat mas dus lagey, thonk-thonk ke bini chadariya.

so chaadar sur nar muni odhi, odhi ke maili kini chadariya

das Kabir jatan kari odhi, jyon ki tyon dhar deeni chadariya.

The Lord Supreme has woven a very fine and delicate tapestry, free of impurities of any kind!

What refined and subtle yarn, what complex interlacing,

He has used to weave it!

Using veins and breath he threads twenty four hours on end,

His spinning wheel turns,

Weaving the tapestry from all five essential elements.

Ten months it takes the Lord to weave his tapestry,

Using the greatest of craftsmanship, care and skill.

That exquisite tapestry is worn by the celestials, by Saints, and by human beings alike.

But they all invariably have defiled it !

Your humble devotee Kabir has worn it scrupulously and meticulously,

And is returning it to you, O’Lord, unblemished and pure !

(cited Blind to Bounds)

Kaaynat - Gold the art of Zari by Swati and Sunaina

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Not just for women

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Tempering is a uniquely Indian cooking technique. I wanted to create jewellery based on the magical act of pouring hot spiced oil into cooked food.-Baanley collection

Had stumbled upon Dvibhumi‘s instagram account a while ago, but one fine day I read on it a cryptic message ‘Utensils of early Indian settlers in Singapore-Ruchi launches this month’ which piqued my interest. To quench my curiosity I wrote and requested Vyshnavi N Doss, its founder and designer, for an e-catalog of her latest creations. The revert read “I design in Singapore and work with craftsmen in India and Indonesia to create modern jewellery with a strong Asian narrative. My signature aesthetic is clean lines and surfaces in combination with textures and motifs. You will notice how the designs go beyond statements and can easily spark a conversation. One should expect more matte finishes and monochrome than bling on geometrical forms with the spotlight on detail.”

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Warangal began with prayer rugs

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Getting festive ready I chanced upon Poludas Nagendra Satish’s Sutra Durrie. This led me to understand how earlier one could differentiate through designs of one village or weaver from the other. The cottage industry of durrie weaving in Warangal, Telengana can be recognized with its geometrical and angular designs in weft interlocking technique (both sides look the same). Here a large population consisted of skilled weavers and dyers. But the unofficial figures stated otherwise, that almost 50% of Padmasali community have left their ancestral vocation as the craft is too laborious, and provides little sustenance or dignity.

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Its bold colours and graphic all the way

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Recently at Mahatma Mandir in Gandhinagar, Textile India 2017 shed light on ‘Make in India’ initiative. So, without digressing much, I’d like to highlight ‘Made by an Indian’ who chooses to use these very same rich woven fabrics on foreign soil.

Continue reading “Its bold colours and graphic all the way”

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