Category: Fashion


The silver lining

 

The sterling metal can be your style statement for every occasion. For young and old alike, it’s the new gold

 

Supreeta Singh

 

 
Like every woman, actress Koneenica Banerjee loves to dress up in traditional wear and resplendent silver jewellery is her favourite pick. Wrapped in a classic black saree, her delicate bangles and earrings generate lilting melody as she shares her fashion mantra. “I love authentic silver ornaments. I used to have a huge bag of jewellery worth `12,000 which I would carry to the set every day. Since I have many friends in Delhi and Jaipur, I prefer getting it from there since the designes are exquisite,” says Koneenica.
Silver jewellery is fast gaining popularity among women and men alike as more functional and practical piece of ornament that can give gold diggers a run for their money. “Affordable and fashionable, silver has been in fashion for quite some time now. But more and more designers are experimenting with the metal in the way it is crafted in terms of designs and polish. And customers are more than eager to try different looks,” says Anargha Chowdhury of Anjali Jewellers.
At present, jewellery designers are captivated by floral and geometric designs. Green is the colour of the season and the use of precious and semi-precious stones embedded in silver is the latest trend. Globally, the demand is more for light-weight and delicate pieces that can be worn at both informal and formal occasions. Designer Manas Ghorai says, “Gold and platinum are expensive. So silver could be a good substitute. Currently, silver jewellery is combined with materials like wood, beads and glass to make it more contemporary. I also use enamels and stones like agate which has a remarkable variety of colours and texture.”
Unlike gold, which is shiny and bright, silver is known for its subtle charm. Its beauty lies in its simplicity. In a bid to enhance or combine that subdued elegance with art, Manas has recently launched a collection based on Pat paintings. Manas has done a course from Gemology Institute of America. “I was always fascinated by Orissa’s folk art. Because silver is enriched with tribal connotations, I decided to use Patachitra encasing them in silver pendants and earrings,” informs Manas. His workshop at Howrah employs 10 craftsmen from the surrounding areas. Priced between `500 and `15,000, each piece is handcrafted and exclusive.
Silver is also popular because of its affinity with the Indian skin tone. Jewellery designer Nilaanjana Chakraborty says, “Indian women look gorgeous in silver. I get orders for both light-weight and heavy jewellery. But most often, women want a single chunky piece, like a statement necklace or chandelier earrings or a chunky bracelet. Abstract shapes in brushed silver that look neither golden nor silvery are in vogue.” The designer has her craftsmen in Jaipur who chisel out the designs sent by her.
According to Nilanjana, the enthusiasm for silver began to gain momentum when socialites and celebrities flaunted the chic metal. She reflects, “I have experienced that the demand for silver increased when it became more visible in the media. Whenever a celebrity sports a certain piece of jewellery which is nice and exciting, people flock to the shops and it becomes a trend.” For example, in a recently concluded television series called Gaaner Opare, the protagonist only wore silver jewellery supplied by Anjali Jewellers.
Earlier, silver didn’t have as much re-sale value as gold, but now buying siver has become a good investment policy. “The price has increased from `56 to `65 per gram in the last few days. So hoarding silver accessories isn’t a bad idea after all,” says Manas.
Manas adds that most of his clients are high-profile. The age bracket hovers somewhere between 16 and 60 years, reveals Anargha. This means that silver can go beyond age factor and make anyone look attractive, trendy and stylish. No wonder, women are donning silver jewellery with Western wear like dresses and trousers too.

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In splitting image

 

 

Fashion designer Kiran Uttam Ghosh launched her new collection Multiplicity that underlines her evolution 

 

 

Supreeta Singh

 
Just before leaving home, she broke her fingernail and arrived 45 minutes late to the launch of her own collection. By that time, 85 Lansdowne was a flurry of activities with Kiran Uttam Ghosh’s dedicated line of clientele immersed in trying the designer’s latest offering called ‘Multiplicity’.
Touted as a pop-up store, the exhibit was an ordinary showcasing of clothes and accessories. While the garments consisted of ethnic wear and western drapes, leather bags in yellow, red, peach, blue, black and white fitted into the accessories section.
 Talking about her motivation, Kiran explained, “I have evolved as a person and as a fashion designer. My collection represents that spirit in multiple techniques, ideas and thoughts.”  She further added, “All designers do the same thing but the world has forgotten simplicity and that’s me. The idea is to tell the story with elegance and not shout from the rooftop.” Translating this into fashion sensibility, Kiran’s collection is divided into layered drapes in metallic coral, gold and camel shades in fabrics like satin, brocade and chiffon. The styles and silhouettes vary with detachable neck-pieces that add to the ornamentation. On a different note, there are voluminous anarkali kameez in blazing red, emerald green and smooth white coupled with trailing dupattas and a golden metallic texture on the border. Jersey sarees for the young bride and crushed drapes in purple, green, black and red also feature in the collection.
 Apart from being a designer, Kiran also played the part of a flawless salesperson, answering every query of her young and old clients, explaining the convenience of a particular drape and fabric, recommending colour and cuts, and advising on style and comfort. “I think I am the worst salesman but when I see someone making a wrong choice for themselves I always speak up,” she said.
 Since most of her clients were looking for wedding apparel, Kiran doled out wisdom on how to look fetching on such an occasion. “Wearing a saree is not outdated. If you wear a chic blouse or choli with a saree then you won’t have to look like a behenji. I always say that be an aunty but not an aunty ji!”
 To Kiran, simple things make a long-lasting impression. “When you dress up, people should notice it and remember you. Just by adding a little drama to the way you drape a saree, a boat neck choli, a clutch in a vibrant shade and classy jewellery can lift your look. Today, the Indian client is ready to accept metallic colours in gold and coral that goes very well during pre or post-wedding events,” said Kiran. 
 After reaching a milestone with her accessory line, what’s next for the designer? “I want to make more beautiful clothes and reach out to more people. The next 100 ideas are ready in my mind,” she smiled.

 

 

Sudipta Dey

Film: Tron Legacy
Cast: Jeff Bridges, Garrett Hedlund, Olivia Wilde
Director: Joseph Kosinski
Rate: Good

Back in 1982, when the original Steven Lisberger directed Tron released, it gave an engrossing insight to what goes on inside a computer. The sequal Tron Legacy takes it a step forward and shows how computer generated programmes can build an army to take over the real world. The filmmakers have utilised the three decades well as the sequel is a better, graphically enhanced version.
Jeff Bridges reprises his role of Kevin Flynn, a man once known as the world’s leading videogame and technology developer. The film starts with his disappearance in 1985. Sam Flynn, (Garrett Hedlund) now a rebellious 27-year-old, is still haunted by the mysterious disappearance of his father Kevin. When Sam investigates a strange signal supposedly coming from Kevin, he finds himself pulled into a digital Grid. There he meets his father, who has been held captive there by Clu, (Bridges) Kevin’s alter ego.
The Grid, a digitally modified set with laser beams running across, gives an imagery of a computer chip. There are a couple of brilliant shots in the film. The fluid camera movements often give a 360 degree view, adding to the 3D effect. Yes, the whole film is shot in 3D, which transports the audience into the computer generated world of the Grid. 
The film has a not-to-be-missed action sequence which adapts the original film’s cat-and-mouse light-cycle chase.
The film’s plot is interesting and the actors have done their bit. Academy Award winner Jeff Bridges is the only one who looks convincing. He has essayed diametrically opposite characters with elan. Garrett Hedlund, with his boyish charm is a treat to watch. Michael Sheen, who appeares for a short while, deserves a mention for his portrayal of Castor and Zues. The British actor should have had more screen time.
There are a few flaws in the script which decrease the believablity quotient. The aged Kevin Flynn utters lines like “You’re messing with my Zen thing, man…”. Sam develops a strange romantic connection with Quorra (Wilde) a digital warrior, who later travels back with Sam to the real world.
The film spends considerable time in explaining its history. It oscillates between high-speed action scenes and overtly serious interaction between the father-son duo. At two hours and five minutes, the film is a treat for sci-fi film buffs and video-game lovers. Can’t say the same for all cinegoers.

Eye candy

 Paa is one film that has had people talking for more reasons than one

 

Nasreen Khan

 Abhishek looks hot and how! He is one daddy that the whole country has been going gaga over. His look in Paa, which recently won four National Awards, still has women drooling. Pray what makes Abhishek so desirable? “Look at him in Paa. He looks sweet and sexy at the same time. Every woman wants to take him home to mummy,” exclaims 38-year-old Nakhat Sultana, a lawyer at Kolkata High Court. “I had felt like rushing into his arms just from watching the promos of the film,” declares college-goer Shruti Jaiswal. “He’s really come of age I must say and looks dashing with those glasses,” agrees Gita Baral, mother of a teenage son. Yes, you got it! It’s those glasses. No doubt Abhishek’s performed well, but it’s the glasses that have women of all ages drooling over him. Glasses were always an important fashion accessory. Be it the glamorous or the nerdy, retro or chic there are numerous frames and styles available in the market. And it is no longer “guys don’t make passes at girls who wear glasses”. Look at Alaska governor Sarah Palin. Her signature rimless glasses are hot fashion accessory. It’s not that glasses have suddenly appeared from nowhere. They have always been around. Remember the pogo glasses and the black square frames? It was only in the 90’s when contact lenses and especially coloured lenses came in that they went out of vogue. The old grandmother frames have always sat pretty on those who wanted to stand out in the crowd. Even actors started experimenting with eyewear and we had Preity Zinta sporting glasses in Kal Ho Na Ho and before her Hrithik Roshan sported a pair in Kaho Na Pyar Hai. But right now eye wear is the most ‘in’ thing. “To be honest I always liked my man with glasses. Even tried to make my boyfriend wear them even though the poor fellow didn’t need them!” chuckles Mita Banerjee, Bangalore based travel professional. “Strangely I didn’t like it when my husband took off glasses after his vision correction surgery,” confesses Mumbai based Sucheta Bhattacharya. And why should you go off your glasses when there are all kinds of options available? There are coloured frames, thick frames, narrow frames, rimless glasses, changeable frames and so much more. Today glasses are no more just for vision. They are much like the goggles that you select on the basis of your facial contours, your personality and lifestyle. “Glasses are more defined now,” shares designer and stylist Tejas Gandhi. A lot of people wear plain powerless glasses just to be fashionable. And with affluence being visible one gets to see frames, that are anything but cheap (albeit Chinese products making everything within everyone’s reach) being changed quite frequently. Seems like glasses are sitting pretty on almost everyone’s nose and calling for a change at the way we look. What with an over dose of sexuality all around the nerdy intelligent look is definitely what is appealing to everyone now. For designer Nil of Dev r Nil glasses are a style statement which the duo change every six months. “It’s the easiest way to change your facial look and go with the times,” he shares. Metrosexual look is passe says the designer and the androgenous look with lanky, unkempt guys with glasses turning the heat on. No wonder then that Abhishek has the women asking for more even though his look is anything but unkempt! n If you are the experimental types and use a lot of colour you can still go for coloured frames. Stress on the design and look for frames with interesting sidearms. n Wide rectangular frames look best on thin and oblong faces and are always in fashion. n Angular narrow eyeglass frames make a round face appear thinner and longer. n To keep the oval face’s natural balance, look for eyeglass frames that are wide. n A square face will look longer with narrow frame and it also softens the angles. n Those with dark skin tones should go for silver frames or even black with a bit of colour for a touch of contrast for a chic and sophisticated look. n Camel, khaki, gold, copper, peach, orange, coral, off-white, fire-engine red, warm blue and blond tortoise are good colour for those with peaches and cream complexion. n Those with olive skin tones the best eyeglass frame hues are black, rose-brown, blue-gray, plum, magenta, pink, jade, blue and darker tortoise.

 “Eyewear has a very strong intellectual, nerdy trend quotient and what it does for men is that it gives you that little bit of edge and you start looking very matured and responsible. It is almost like a man who you can take home to your mother. I think somewhere down the line it has a huge frivolous-control quotient. A man wearing glasses looks like someone who is educated, has studied, who thinks and probably takes responsibilities. There is certain amount of aura which is associated with it. Today if a woman is given a choice between choosing a reckless and daredevil kind of motorbike guy and someone who wears glasses and has a nine to five job and is responsible a lot of women will go for the latter. It is the security that comes with it and I think the look personifies that very strongly. A woman with glasses looks like someone who has a mind of her own. Fashion is about aspiration. And aspiration has a very psychological quotient. Whatever you don’t have you are willing to aspire to get that and so if a woman who is beautiful and yet wears glasses looks like someone who is independent and has a mind of her own. A classic example would be Jennifer Cavelleri from Love Story. She is the iconic girl who was young, poor, educated, independent, brilliant mind and she wore glasses! For Indian skin you should stick to dark brown and black. Tortoise shell looks very nice. Choose the frames depending on the length and width of your face. As for the colours, for example, someone with very dark eyebrows or someone like me who has a lot of facial hair covering half his face should refrain from wearing overtly dark glasses because then the face will become one black mask. Often pale people who wear dark glasses look very nice. Also dark glasses can compensate for very fine eyebrows as well. Depending on the width of your eyes and spacing between your brows and the length and breadth of your face glasses should be chosen” — Sabyasachi Mukherjee (Designer)

 “I liked Abhishek’s look in the film. It is normal and without any effect. It is how the role demanded it should be. I think he modelled it after two of his friends in politics — Mr Pilot and Mr Deora. I am no style icon and for me glasses are a personal choice. To me they are a necessary requirement for better vision. As a father I feel very proud to see my son not just excel in his acting but set a fashion trend as well. — Amitabh Bachchan

“My look was styled by Falguni Tha­kore. Both of us spent a lot of time with Balki working on the look. I am very happy with it. I personally love eyewear. Chrome hearts is a personal favourite.” — Abhishek Bachchan

“Geek look is in and spectacles are the new sunglasses. Solid blacks suit most faces but try whatever you fancy. Strangeness is considered cool so go ahead and be cool” — Anaita Adajania Shroff (Stylist)

“I started teaching a bit too young and my hair and eyewear became my identity so I couldn’t leave it. At a young age you try various things which are a little fancy and they have carried on with me. I enjoy them and they are more of a personal excitement than anything else. I like some very few designers and I like Cavalli and I wear them. I let myself have the luxury of wearing these geeky and sexy glasses if I may say so” — Arindam Choudhury (management guru)

Fashion designers Shantanu and Nikhil will complete 10 years in the fashion industry this year. A tete-a-tete with the designer duo…

Supreeta Singh

Say Kolkata and they blurt out Rosogolla! On a more serious note, they are bowled over by the city’s commitment to heritage and traditional art. Fashion designers Shantanu and Nikhil Mehra may be brothers but they are as different as chalk and cheese. If Shantanu is articulate with a subtle sense of humour, Nikhil is playful and fun.

Recently in the city to participate in the Blender’s Pride Fashion Tour 2010, the duo had only appreciation for Kolkata as a fashion conscious city. “Unlike other places in India, here you can really splurge because fashion is cheaper here. We have loads of clients from Kolkata who come to us in Mumbai. The state’s craftsmen and rich bank of embroidery and fabrics is unmatched. But the city is also ready to try out new things. We have done many weddings here where the bride was ready to try out gowns and drapes instead of sarees and lehengas,” said Shantanu.

The collection that they showcased at the tour was called Play Right, which drew its inspiration from heroines of director Woody Allen’s films. The colour palate consisted of black, white and red capturing an element of mystique. Duchesse satins and silk jerseys looked alluring when combined with brilliant jewel-like crystallised Swarovski work. “Our collection is for a woman who wants to experiment with her life. Although she is individualistic, she would not mind bringing exciting changes into her life. She will want to wear our clothes not just now but carry it with aplomb many years later,” said Nikhil.

The brothers are known for their exotic fusion wear. According to them, this is a trend that is here to stay and may become a classic. Nikhil said, “Even six years back, India was more traditional. But now the country is opening up to global influences and thus the concept of fusion was bound to strike a chord. This reflects the amalgamation of various cultures which is inevitable.”

Sport is a passion for both brothers. In the field of cricket, they have designed for Mumbai Indians jersey for the Indian Premier League. Interestingly, Shantanu was a tennis player and had represented Delhi at the national level. No wonder sports personalities like Sania Mirza, Zaheer Khan, Irfan Pathan, Glen McGrath, Stephen Fleming and Serena Williams have endorsed the brand. Their penchant has also made them the first ever designers from India and third ones from all over the world to tie-up with sportswear giant Adidas after Stella McCartney and Yohji Yamamoto. Ask them about it, and their faces light up. “Oh yes! It was challenging as well as stimulating to bring together the practicality of sportswear and the finesse of fashion. Our first range was inspired by New York taxis and the garments were in black and white. Our latest collection is inspired by Goth. The theme is adventurous meant for the age group of 16 to 21 years. It’s ready-to-wear affordable luxury. The mainstay is the silhouette which is comfortable and chic,” informed Shantanu.

What’s next for Shantanu and Nikhil? “We are in expansion mode. We plan to open our sixth store in Hyderabad after opening one in Delhi. There is a desire to be more committed to our signature lines and make Shantanu Nikhil a better brand,” signed off Nikhil.

Youngsters and Spirituality

Supreeta Singh

When Akshay Kumar sings Hare Ram Hare Ram, Hare Krishna Hare Ram sporting a saffron bandana and branded glasses, the whole nation chants along. A jilted Justin Timberlake croons What Goes Around, Comes Right Back Around about karma. Amish Tripathi’s debut novel The Immortals of Meluha portrays an upright man deified as Shiva.
 
Clearly, fate and destiny are no more the concern of only the elderly or unemployed – and god-men. Kismet, or divine will, now fascinates and enthrals the youth too. Are terrorism, degradation of the environment and racial-religious fault lines plunging humanity into pre-ordained violence? And what’s the purpose of life? Do human beings really have a soul? Is soul timeless? Does it survive death?
 
Teenagers, besides young men and women in their 20s, are grappling with these questions as never before  – and want answers. 
 
Amish Tripathi is floored by the response to his book. “Readers as young as 12 are writing to me. A few of them said they were afraid of God but now they see God in a new light. Others have described my book as a wild ride, while many have changed their Facebook profile picture to the book cover.”
 
Moreover, the character of Shiva impressed a reader so much that he got the book cover tattoed on his arm. A 16-year-old called Shiva a cool dude. “What I find most gratifying is that the response not just from Hindus but Christians, Muslims, Parsees, Jews and foreigners who know very little about India”, adds Tripathi.
 
Youth is breaking free of the shackles of religion it seems. It sees God as a supreme power. Period. Riddhima Toshniwal, who has a post-graduate diploma in journalism and mass communications, says: “I am spiritual rather than religious.
True, I’m a Hindu by birth and read the Hanuman Chalisa every night. But I also visit churches often and have also been to gurudwaras. I really don’t have a name for the God I pray to. In that sense, my birth certificate doesn’t tell the full story”, says Riddhi. 
 
In an age of strife, God clearly is a source of strength. The distinction between good and evil is inevitably highlighted when one has to choose between right and wrong. But many don’t see it from a religious or spiritual perspective. Debak Das, a student of International Relations at Delhi’s Jawaharlal Nehru University remarked that good and evil cannot be defined in absolute terms. “I am neither religious nor spiritual. Incidents like murders, for example are circumstantial. Caste conflict stems from socio-political
reasons. So I try to be as objective as possible. You could call it a scientific approach. We can shape our own destiny with hard work and time management.”
 
 
There are many who do not believe in God at all. They want to experience what they call the “truth” sans religion. According to them, religious belief is rooted in fear which leads to superstitions. Student Amoha Das says, “Beliefs distract people from the beauty, grandeur, splendour and divinity of existence. Priests across religions inspire people into believing in God, heaven, virtue
and sin. But spirituality is more individualistic: it’s all about communicating directly with a supreme power.”
 
“While religions have everything to do with the past and the future, spirituality is about the present moment.”
 
Abhishek Basu, an MBA student, says: “What you do today will have a bearing on your future. I cannot control everything that happens to me but I can definitely control I how react to them. To remain truthful is my mode of worship. I am not
concerned with spirituality per se. But I believe in giving my best and living as honestly as possible.”
 
A thoughtful Riddhima says: “There is a purpose behind whatever happens. And while you may not get what you want, you get what’s good for you at that point of time. I have seen this happen in my own life. So I see God as a protective force prodding me in the right direction.”

 

Supreeta Singh

Gorgeous fashion designer Nandita Mahtani has legs that can give any professional model a inferiority complex. Tall, blonde, sexy and dressed in a simple black dress, she drew more eyeballs, catcalls and claps than many of her models.
Recently in Kolkata to showcase her resort and evening wear at the Blender’s Pride Fashion Tour 2010, Nandita proudly announced her Kolkata connect. “My father is from Kolkata and we have few relatives here. Jewellery designer Raj Mahtani is one of them. I was here for one of the Indian Premier League (IPL) matches and this is my second visit to the city. I will definitely come back soon,” she says.
Nandita has been travelling for the last few days before landing in Kolkata. Just back from Paris where she went on a business trip, she had been busy with the fashion tour as well. However, she looked relaxed and quiet much like the women she designs for. “My clothes are breezy, feminine and comfortable. I design clothes that I would like to wear myself,” she emphasizes.
Known for her stunning collections, Nandita’s garments cover the two extremes. There are scores of formal evening wear that are ideal for the clubbing and partying. The other range is resort wear that is easy and breathable. She says, “Travelling is a passion. Wherever I go, whether it’s a village, beach, forest or a metropolis I pick up elements that go into the making of my creations. I put them together on the basis of my mood and emotions.”
Apart from her seasonal collections, Nandita caters to a wide base of clients most of whom opt for multi-purpose clothing. The designer loves to mix-and-match her outfits. For example, she says, a tunic dress can be worn as a single piece and teamed up with churidars for an ethnic touch.
“I like clothes that are effortless and can be managed easily. Today, young girls do not mind wearing an off-shoulder dress to a wedding and then move into a nightclub in the same dress. Usually, the older generation sticks to traditional sarees but recently a woman picked up eight heavily embroidered kaftans for a wedding. So you can see there is a shift in what women want to wear,” Nandita reasons.
She also feels women should be careful about what suits them and what does not. “Focus on your best features. Whatever flaws you may have, they can be corrected with the right mix of fabrics, accessories and styling,” she recommends.
Personally, Nandita is addicted to classic colours like white and black. She says that to keep her team happy, she wore a blue dress at one of the fashion shows but now she is again back to black. Her friends have been asking her to wear more colours and she is trying hard to be more adventurous with her own wardrobe.
As a veteran in the profession, Nandita knows all the tricks of her trade. Her designs are available in Paris, London, US, Australia, Italy, Middle East, South Africa and other places. “I am blessed with a wonderful team. I look after the creative part and my team looks after the business. My sister Anu manages everything for me,” she says.
With so much under her belt, Nandita has few words of wisdom for young fashion designers. “Stay true to yourself. It is a very competitive profession. Don’t get too mesmerized by adulation. Focus, instead, on your collection. You are bound to succeed if you have it in you,” she smiles.
One thing that makes Nandita unhappy is the degree of plagiarism in the fashion industry. She fumes, “It’s insane! Step out of my boutique and there are so many small stores that rip off my design and sell it for Rs 200. How can you ever compete with that? My only safeguard is a faithful clientele who value quality.”
Last but not the least, what would recommend for young girls going out on a first date? “Nothing too short or revealing. Even if you are wearing a short dress, then keep the top part covered. For instance wear full sleeves. But if the dress is off-shoulder wear it long. She can put on a blazer also for a classic look. There is a thin line between sexy and cheap, so be careful,” she signs off.

The Trousseau Tale


Supreeta Singh
When it comes to bridal wear in India, it cannot be anything but grand.  Simply by virtue of its nature, the occasion demands an extravagant display of opulence reflected unapologetically in the clothes worn by brides and grooms. Fashion designer Neeta Lulla proved yet again that weddings are an elaborate affair where every bride needs to feel like a princess. Her opening show on the first day of KCFW was a mood piece that took the audience from a sober and elegant beginning to a breathtaking finale through five sequences. Pale pinks, greens and beige with silver work and border shifted to heavier embroidery, puffed sleeves, and elegant blouses in the first two sequences. Heavy georgette sarees, lehengas and even dresses formed part of the collection. The most attractive features of the range were richly embroidered jackets and tunics, knee length flared dresses worn over sheer churidars and draped with long trails of dupattas, glittery bustiers and plunging back with tassels. Towards the end, more luxurious fabrics like velvet, heavy chiffons with ornate zardozi and zari work in eye catching colours like aquamarine, magenta, blue held everyone in rapt attention. The evening moved towards the final ceremony.
Showstopper Rituparna Sengupta looked stunning in a corset top and heavily layered lehenga. Draping by Dolly Jain was innovative and subtle makeup by Inglot helped to enhance the striking collection.

 Supreeta Singh
Say Kolkata and they blurt out Rosogolla! On a more serious note, they are bowled over by the city’s commitment to heritage and traditional art. Fashion designers Shantanu and Nikhil Mehra may be brothers but they are as different as chalk and cheese. If Shantanu is articulate with a subtle sense of humour, Nikhil is playful and fun.
 Recently in the city to participate in the Blender’s Pride Fashion Tour 2010, the duo had only appreciation for Kolkata as a fashion conscious city. “Unlike other places in India, here you can really splurge because fashion is cheaper here. We have loads of clients from Kolkata who come to us in Mumbai. The state’s craftsmen and rich bank of embroidery and fabrics is unmatched. But the city is also ready to try out new things. We have done many weddings here where the bride was ready to try out gowns and drapes instead of sarees and lehengas,” said Shantanu.
 The collection that they showcased at the tour was called Play Right, which drew its inspiration from heroines of director Woody Allen’s films. The colour palette consisted of black, white and red capturing an element of mystique. Duchesse satins and silk jerseys looked alluring when combined with brilliant jewel-like crystallised Swarovski work. “Our collection is for a woman who wants to experiment with her life. Although she is individualistic, she would not mind bringing exciting changes into her life. She will want to wear our clothes not just now but carry them with aplomb many years later,” said Nikhil.
 The brothers are known for their exotic fusion wear. According to them, this is a trend that is here to stay and may become a classic. Nikhil said, “Even six years back, India was more traditional. But now the country is opening up to global influences and thus the concept of fusion was bound to strike a chord. This reflects the amalgamation of various cultures which is inevitable.”
 Sports is a passion for both brothers. In the field of cricket, they have designed for Mumbai Indians jersey for the Indian Premier League. Interestingly, Shantanu was a tennis player and had represented Delhi at the national level. No wonder sports personalities like Sania Mirza, Zaheer Khan, Irfan Pathan, Glen McGrath, Stephen Fleming and Serena Williams have endorsed their brand. Their penchant has also made them the first ever designers from India and third ones from all over the world to tie-up with sportswear giant Adidas after Stella McCartney and Yohji Yamamoto. Ask them about it, and their faces light up. “Oh yes! It was challenging as well as stimulating to bring together the practicality of sportswear and the finesse of fashion. Our first range was inspired by New York taxis and the garments were in black and white. Our latest collection is inspired by Goth. The theme is adventurous meant for the age group of 16 to 21 years. It’s ready-to-wear affordable luxury. The mainstay is the silhouette which is comfortable and chic,” informed Shantanu.
  What’s next for Shantanu and Nikhil? “We are in expansion mode. We plan to open our sixth store in Hyderabad after opening one in Delhi. There is a desire to be more committed to our signature lines and make Shantanu Nikhil a better brand,” signed off Nikhil.

Right Up Fashion Street

Supreeta Singh

Kolkatans will get a fair share of high fashion, style and glamour on September 11 and 12 when the Blender’s Pride Fashion Tour (BPFT) 2010 lands in the city. The extravaganza is expected to bring in a lot of sophistication, colour, and spunk with some of the best designers participating in the show. Ask Wendell Rodricks and he says, “Both fashion weeks and fashion tours are important. There is one big difference though. Fashion weeks are serious business enterprises. A fashion tour can be fun but one can always turn it around and sell special trunk collections in each city one visits.”
Wendell’s collection is called ‘Eye Candy’ which focuses on cocktail lounge mood. Crisp linens, butter soft jerseys and sensual silks create a lineup of resort glamour. “All garments are practical and clients are rushing to buy this collection. Even the mini dresses are making good business as they can be treated as blouses and worn with trousers, jeans or even a salwaar or churidaar,” says Wendell.
Designer Mandira Wirk too is excited about her visit to the city. Inspired by the Hollywood classic Breathless, her collection is an ode to the fun, fearless female. She says, “The heroine of the film Patricia was a woman ahead of her times. My garments bring two generation of women together to showcase her timeless feminine side.”
Resort tunics form the mainstay of Surily Goel’s collection called ‘An Anecdote’. Long ruffled peasant dresses, lace-trimmed tunics, and satin moulded into flowers on burn-out party dresses with flutter sleeves are the highlights. For all three designers the response has been phenomenal.
Talking about Kolkata as a fashion hub, she says, “The city is definitely progressing. Designers like Anamika Khanna and Sabyasachi Mukherjee have made us all proud.”
However, Wendell loves Kolkata for its food and women. “For me Kolkata is the foodie’s destination. I binge on fish dishes and mishti doi. Also, Bengali women are the best in India. I find them very beautiful, curvaceous and sexy,” signs off Wendell.

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