DESIGNER IN THE MAKING OR SO I THINK

After a long stint of taking off ,though not entirely, I am coming back into my designing and styling  world. As an important part of equipping myself better before I relaunch, I am doing some studies within my spectrum of  design.

I HAVE ENROLLED BACK TO COLLEGE; THE BEST IN THE COUNTRY FOR FASHION; which had been a dream for me for a very long time.

And as part of the studies , I am given various projects and assignments on fashion illustration which forms one of the core subjects. And boy! am I excited?

I have started doing my illustrations and colour rendering with the same excitement as when I had discovered the wondrous world of drawing with my papa years back . He was the one who introduced me and my brother to art.

I look at the colour pencils with the kind of uncontrollable glee that a 5 year old would do when she gets her brand new pack of these vibrant tools with which she would paint her future.I love the way the colour pencils glide over textured paper; so smooth.

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During these times, I stumbled across a realization or maybe  it’s just a feeling that my child could be serious about taking up a career in design too. Well, You would say and I also know that it’s too early to say,  as she is all of only 7, yet let me just bask in the glory of this beautiful feeling that she could follow my footsteps…. maybe!

I got a bit more convinced about this, the way she is serious about following all my work. She tries to copy and replicate all my projects and I am amazed at the way she is coming close to it taking into consideration her age.

The other day I just did an illustration and as soon as she saw it , she wanted to copy and I let her do it. Well! I had used some fabric also for a three-dimensional effect and it was a multimedia  thing.

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I WAS IN AWE AS ANY MOTHER WOULD BE , OF HER OWN CHILD’S TALENT!

I have decided to give her exposure to the world of design more; just in case she wants to take it up professionally but i promise myself one thing. I shall not over do it. She can choose to fly in the direction she wants to and she should. At this juncture, I remember my mother, my tower of strength and motivation and about her undying trust in her kid’s talents where in, without even knowing much about the fields we took , my brother and I , she just let us fly. She only checked whether the wind beneath our wings were just right to take us to the places we wanted to go.

THANK YOU AMMA.

THE TWO SIDES OF A SINGLE WORLD

The Two way earrings have been in furor since now almost a year and there is no sign of them stepping down anywhere soon. They have been a clear favourite and have stolen all kinds of hearts from the moment they got launched.

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This design was originally launched by Christian Dior. But as everyone knows fashion is a world of “Knock offs” and so it didn’t take much of time before it trickled down to all the lower layers and was easily available in all the small stores and as in India , even on the streets. Not to take street shopping as a lower cadre thing at all especially in India as you find some of the best styles on the streets.

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This earring has come in so many variant styles now; deviating not much from the basic design yet distinct in patterns. Three things I would say about these earrings.

CLEVER

MINIMALISTIC

PROVOCATIVE

And the enticing part of the story is you could use this as much with a traditional wear  as with a western wear.

And another particular use of these earrings is , supposing you opt to wear an elaborate  neckwear which could be the highlight of your look, these earrings will support the look in the most subtle yet utterly stylish way. No question of going wrong here.

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And they started off with a “Huge blob” like design on one side of the ear and a “small blob” on the other side. But now they have got into so many manipulations of this fundamental design; branched out into colours , florals and geometrics.

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DRAPES SO SENSUAL

All people from Kerala(India) know the allure of this drape called”Mundum Neriyathe” or MundumVeshti or “Settum Mundum”.Although  this beautiful drape which consists of two pieces of fabric ; one which is draped around the lower torso  called” Munde”and the other which goes as a drape around the lower and upper torso of a woman called the”Neriyathe”, typically belongs to the Hindu religion,now a days women from all religions wear it as it is looked upon as a traditional wear of Kerala.And during a main festival of Kerala ,”Onam”, all  malayali women wear it to some function over the span of these ten days .And so we can actually say that it does not anymore belong to any religion but to the beautiful women of “God’s own country”!

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This is such a beautiful dress and will actually appeal to anyone around the world who loves drapes as this is typically in a offwhite colour with Gold Zari border which looks extremely classy and has an aura of royalty. Any woman wearing this dress has a beauty of her own and looks complete with generally some gold jewellery and jasmine flowers on her hair and a red “bindi”(round spot) on her forehead.

The typical ” Mundum Neriyathe” comes in Off white and a flat gold Zari border called “Kasavu”, or the border will be in a flat colour or stripe called “Kara”and was always woven.But as in any other dress , this drape also has evolved over the ages and now a days come in all sorts of designs. The main change happens with the border mainly; it has gone from printed to embroidered to attached brocade borders. And the “Zari” also has changed from Gold to Silver or a mix of both. The body essentially remains off-white. But now a days, experiment is happening with the colour of the body too. And typically this drape is found in Cotton only ; but now  a days it is done in Silk as well ,due to demand for a more expensive look for weddings.

This drape is used by a lot of Hindus for a part of their weddings. Both the traditional and modern styles of the mundum neryathum are depicted in the paintings of the Indian painter Raja Ravi Verma. In olden times,the attire was worn with the “Neriyathu”wrapped around the bust and also a blouse was not worn . Women of Kerala also wear the drape for a traditional folk dance called “ Kaikottikalli” and “Thiruvathirakali”.

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 I have always been fascinated with this drape from a very young age. The best image that has been stuck in my mind is of my mother wearing this drape in the mornings after her bath and with “Sindooram on her forehead on her hair parting ! She would even wear a basal leaf on her long hair which sort of completed the look( both practices being done by Hindu women of this region). When I woke up in the mornings ,it was such a positive image to see…..for me she looked so beautiful like a goddess of love! And yes she was one, in her nature too.

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I grew up having this fascination for the drape and till date it is more alluring to me than a “sari”! I feel it is more sensual in look and very feminine too. It is extremely simple to drape it unlike the “Sari”! And thus convenient to move about as well as airy and breathable  in the humid climate of Kerala.

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When I talk about Mundum Neriyathe , another drape which comes to my mind and which has struck me is “Meghela Chador of Assam”. I came across this drape accidentally through a friend who was assamese and I saw her wearing this for my brother’s wedding. I was really surprised to see something so similar to our own drape of Kerala. Then I really got to know about this drape.There are two main pieces of cloth that are draped around the body. The bottom portion, draped from the waist downwards is called the mekhela (Assamese: মেখেলা). It is in the form of a sarong—very wide cylinder of cloth—that is folded into pleats to fit around the waist and tucked in. The folds are to the right, as opposed to the pleats in the Nivi style of the saree, which are folded to the left.The top portion of the two-piece dress, called the chador, is a long length of cloth that has one end tucked into the upper portion of the Mekhela and the rest draped over and around the rest of the body.

Ornamental designs on the Mekhela chadors are traditionally woven, never printed. Sometimes a woven pattern, called the pari is stitched along the sides of a chador, or along the bottom of a mekhela. These drapes come in Cotton as well silk traditionally but now a day are also produced as blends of Cotton and Silk with Synthetic Fabrics.

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I saw a huge collection of these beautiful drapes in my friend’s collection. And there is even an antique one which her grandma had woven by herself and handed it down. And surprisingly for their weddings also just like in Kerala , they wear the traditional colour of off-white and Gold. I was flabbergasted; how can two regions so far away from each other have the same kind of drape and follow the same colour scheme? Such is life!…..I conclude.

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For folks around the world who would like to see how a “Mundum Neriyathum ” is draped, here it is.

For folks who are interested to watch how a “Mekhala Chador” is worn, here it is.

Courtesy: Sameera Dipshikha Dowerah

YSL QUOTE

There would’t be a better statement about the make-up of a woman. It’s so true that the cosmetics are easier to buy as passion doesn’t come so easy to a person. Passion has to ignite within self by default and can’t be bought or worn whenever needed. Ans it’s so true if  a woman has passion on her face , it shines so bright; it ignites her eyes; it makes her skin glow ; it plays as a beautiful smile on her face; her eyebrows will dance animatedly that she will attract attention from so many people. And this attraction will happen so spontaneously and genuinely. There is no effort ,no expenditure, no time lost on putting on a mask of make-up.  But then that has to happen naturally or at least a woman has to put some effort to build the right attitude to have passion for whatever she does.

If not, she should definitely  buy some of the best cosmetics and man it’s easy as there are tons of products and brands to kind of dip oneself in , to project a new you; a new face; a new look that you actually want the world to believe that you are.

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So women ….indulge in make-up but if passion happens, flaunt it and let cosmetics be just  an add-on for that extra bit of accentuation and fun in life.

I also take this post as an opportunity to salute one of the best designers of the world .Many of you are so familiar with  these three letters YSL as a brand and flaunt the designs , the fragrances, the cosmetics etc which come under this famed name.

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A few interesting facts about this legendary designer who is no more.

Yves Saint Laurent (1936-2008) was one of the greatest names in fashion history. He became the head designer of the House of Christian Dior when he was just  21. He moved on in 1960 and became an independent name creating designs that redefined the world of fashion.

  • Childhood was not easy as he appeared as a homosexual and was bullied often by mates and was a nervous wreck nearly everyday.
  • He shot to fame for his adaptations of tuxedos for women in 1966.
  • His signature pieces included the sheer blouse and the jumpsuit.
  • He is credited with feminising the male wardrobe.
  • He always mixed masculine with the feminine in the most rhythmic and peaceful manner.
  • He was the first designer to use black models in his runway shows.
  • A Saint Laurent campaign that ran in Elle ,U.K was banned for using an underweight modal.
  • His fragrance ,”Black Opium” shot to fame because of the name chosen and also because the designer himself had posed nude for the campaign picture.
  • A motion picture made on  the life and  and work of the designer was released in 2014 under the name Yves Saint Laurent.

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EARRINGS EXTENDED

There seems to be a sudden enthusiasm in the extended earrings now a days .These are very similar to the ear cuffs. I live in one of the most fashionable and trend following cities in India (Mumbai).This is one of the hubs where fashion gets released first and then trickles down to the other cities.
When I check out stores and bazaars , there is a rush of these earrings. And they are quite captivating and alternate. When you wear one of these, that kind of becomes the highlight and you don’t have to wear anything else in your ears.

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And also another tip for girls who would be using it is that it is best to put up your hair in some style than to let it loose for two reasons ; one being when you let your hair loose , it tends to get tangled with the earring. And secondly the earring tends to get covered and lost. The minimum that has to be done is pin-up one side of your hair or take a style where your ears are exposed totally.

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This style of earrings is such a value add for women with boy cuts, crew cuts and women with shaven heads. I wish I had these when I had shaved my head and dawned that look for some time.

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When I see these earrings,I am reminded of my earrings what I wore as a bride. It was a typical “Jumkka” or “Jimkki”(which is a very popular earring in all of India). And there was an extension piece like a Peacock design which extended up to my ear lobes and had to be clipped there. These earrings have been there from olden times. And it has been a Classic from time immemorial. So it’s just that the new earrings that we use now are a new “Avatar” of an old design.

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Amusingly there is also a collection of earrings that come as a single piece; in the sense only on one ear and nothing on the other. These are also severely attractive but the only thing I disagree on is that, there could have been a tiny piece for the other ear which will complete the whole dramatic look. Now, the other ear is lying vacant as there is only one earring and that kind of gives a little lost look. So what I suggest to women opting for these singular pieces is that just browse around and shop a tiny earring in the same colour scheme as the main one and team it. And voilà!…you have a killer look!

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“CHUNARI” RAGE

It’s that time of year in this part of the world (India) when a grand festival called “Navarathri”or “Dussehra” is celebrated with pomp and gaiety. It’s different for different regions in India and they celebrate it in varied styles. This festival refers to “Lord Rama’s” victory over the ten headed demon king “Raavana”. The day also marks the victory of Goddess “Durga” over the demon “Mahishasura”. Radically, it celebrates the victory of good over evil.
People celebrate this festival by getting together, and preparing special foods and blessing of household and work related tools. Some regions put up a grand display of dolls and statuettes of gods in the houses or communities and call it “Kolu” or “Golu”. Many also believe that it is lucky to start a new venture or project on “Dussehra”.
This time of the year, all of India, especially North India swings to this dance form called “Daandiya “. And everyone takes so much care to dress up in their best of best clothes. The colours are very bright and the fabrics luxe .It’s quite a sight to see men, women and children all dressed in traditional wear and killer looks.
When I went out the other day to a typical “bazaar”(market) in Mumbai, I walked into a store to get some mundane stuff and the sight what I saw,kind of hit me like a hurricane. Hanging all over the place were myriad pieces of fabrics, sparkling like crystal sheets with the ornamentation done on them. I was literally swept off my feet with the scene of bling! It was an absolute grandiose display of umpteen kinds of fabrics. They looked all the more pompous as they were small in dimension, yet extremely rich in density with regard to ornamentation. I felt completely thrilled seeing this exhibition of colours and sequins as I am always a sucker for fabrics and such.

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I gathered from the shopkeeper guy that these bits of fabrics range from very small to large dimensions and are mainly used to adorn the idols of Gods. They were mostly called “ Chunari”, he said. I felt these ornate pieces could also be used for various other purposes like adding a little bit glamour for parties or for wrapping a gift or just hanging them from the walls for any kind of celebration. Even just fold it like a fan and place it inside a glass as how a napkin is placed in a restaurant for that bit of a festive mood. My imagination ran high!
Anyway, what I remember most is a dash of flashy colours and how happy they made me feel. And that’s all that matters. Life goes on!

THE STREET ART GUY

It had been there on my mind for long to visit the” Chathrapathi Sivaji Museum” at” Kala Ghoda” (Mumbai) ,since I wanted to open up my girl to the world of art. As we were walking to the museum, a guy on the street caught my eye. Usually there are some artists lined up there with art which is pretty but mediocre. But here was a guy with something very different.

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He had paintings with varietal tickets stuck on it and I thought I should chat up with him and find out more about his unique art.
He said he was from Deharadun and had come to Mumbai way back in 2003 and had started selling real life paintings for as less as 20 bucks as, all he wanted to do in life was to paint. He was also known for his art of writing one’s name on a grain of rice!
Later in 2007, he stumbled upon this idea of “ticket art”; collecting the tickets that people use for their travel on bus, train, etc and create paintings with the tickets being an integral part of the artscape .

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He was a simpleton who was more than ready to spill details. He said he also sold his paintings from a gallery in Goa in” South Paloleum” by the name “Art Resort ”. He stays for a few months in Goa in a year too.
So how does he collect his tickets? He has kept a unique installation in front of the “Victoria Terminal”(Main railway station in South Mumbai),so that passengers leaving the station can drop their useless tickets into the bin installation. His friends also contribute.

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He has been covered by a few newspapers, magazines and websites because of his queer art. He says his business is good and his bucket lists consists of buying a small studio space in Mumbai and also travel places. He has already travelled to more than 20 cities in India till date.

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In addition to his art, what also struck me was, here was a youngster; an artist who was so upbeat about his art and life…so simple and straightforward…..no greed or discontentment. Probably we have a lesson or two to learn from this fellow; to aspire just enough… to lead a simple, happy life.

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Folks!… we all forget something very important; that life is not going to be for eternity! So buck up…and simplify! Love your life and let go! Embrace little pangs of happiness that we always miss. And start writing your bucket list…..today!
By the way the person I was talking about has a fabulous name. He is Swaroop Kaintura….cool name…eh?

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Swaroop with his clients.