THE CROSS BEYOND RELIGION

I have always been in awe of the Cross ever since I was an adolescent for it’s style quotient; thanks to it being taken as a fodder for style of the rock,glam and punk looks of the ’80s. I grew up to rockstars like Madonna and George Michael iconising the Cross and raising it  to a completely far away space than where it rightfully belonged to. The Cross started to appeal to  nominal Christians and to non believers big time and all of them adorned it without ill intent. And so did I.The Cross was available and is still available in the most versatile designs and the raw materials used for making a Cross jewellery is quite interesting and tickles your creative appetite.

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Justin Bieber, Lady Gaga, and Pope Francis  share very little wardrobe-wise, apart from a very important , very trendy item: the Cross. It has featured on Popular celebrities and the collections of eminent designers like Versace and Dolce and Gabbana sans the religious relevance. Influential Internet style stars and bloggers  have been wearing the Cross with attitude which has transcended into huge street styles  that the mainstream retailers have to follow their leads as they  always turn to such street styles for inspiration.

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‘A crucifix is now just a fashion statement and has lost religious meaning’
Justin Welby says the purpose of wearing a cross has been lost
Archbishop of Canterbury says the sign has been trivialised
He said it was once a ‘badge of shame’ which is now popular
Christian leader made claims in a foreword of a new book

In celebrity circles and for some big-city fashionistas, inverted or horizontal crosses worn as jewelry or imprinted on clothing are turning heads . This trend has picked up from 2013 onwards and  is still going strong. While some folks view the trend as anti-Christian, others say it’s just the opposite.Lady Gaga, Rihanna and Paris Jackson, daughter of the late Michael Jackson, have been photographed wearing inverted crosses on their clothing.

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Even if there seems to be contrary opinions on the usage of the Cross as a fashion statement, it is going strong and is being used by believers and non believers for their own reasons. The Cross remains on the top as a fashion symbol. Salute to the Cross ; Style and otherwise  for it’s magnanimous iconic status! Stay thus.

Courtesy: MailOnline, Virtue Online, Whitney Bauck(Writer)

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LAZY OVERALLS

The Overalls or Dungarees are classic fashion which has been there since fashion kind of originated or so I feel. This is a fashion so popular among children and in kid’s clothing. And there is no gender for this garment. There would be very limited children who wouldn’t have worn an Overall when they were kids in these times.

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But what amuses me is not the kid’s fashion, but the fashion of Overalls among adults. Actually as I said earlier, this is a genderless fashion, but we do not see the Dungarees being worn so much in my part of the World (India) beyond a certain age by boys. Maybe, they would wear it till they are like five or so. Beyond that, probably they consider it a little too feminine to be wearing one. But in reality, it is so cool to find a young boy sporting an overall. And if they would wear it in their teenage..Well, nothing like it. And men who can carry it off are rare yet awesome!

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Anyway, the fashion is more seen among women; but even among women, not every other girl embraces this classic piece of clothing. It is worn only by a select few, who i guess have a sort of emotional thing for it. Maybe wearing an Overall makes them feel very “kewll” and disparate.

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Well! If you ask me, my version of the story is , I was and still am completely fascinated with this item of clothing. I still remember the days , when I was terribly young ; say like sixteen, I had this major crush for Overalls. But then again, all these garments being western styles were not available at all in my region; especially, we are a little slow or rather we are less in number to embrace the world fashion. I have mentioned earlier also how our society is restricted to such fashion which is anywhere near modern or meagre.

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Anyway , my fantasy(I say fantasy, because it was highly improbable to happen)to buy and wear an Overall stayed inside the closet till we went for a family vacation to Mumbai; which was and still is the fashion capital of India….apparently I now live in this vibrant city. When we toured, we went to a street called “Fashion Street” which is dotted with lots of street shops and hawkers. It was like a very popular destination those days for tourists also. Anybody hitting Mumbai could hit Fashion Street for some very cool, casual fashion that too at dirt cheap prices.

While I was lingering around some very pretty stuff on the street, my eyes fell on a bright orange thing. I dug it out of the pile of clothes to find to my utmost amusement that it was a chequered dungarees! Wowww! My excitement leapt. I was on cloud nine. I behaved as if I had conquered the fashion world. And guys, you wouldn’t believe that I just paid Rs 100 for that thing .And it looked to me as if it was out of my sweet reverie.

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And i did flaunt that precious piece of clothing for a long time in College and even when I started working. In my times and space, I did stand out like an unusual thumb; just for the reason that I embraced fashion which was not seen regularly around.

Even today, after so many years, I still own a pair of very funky Dungarees … the Classic Denim Ones! For me, wearing an Overall means a few things,

• A dungarees makes me feel “kewll”!

• A dungarees makes me feel laid back.

• A dungarees makes me feel androgynous.

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In fact it is one of the coolest garments that I feel can be worn by a girl! Hey, get going gals…grab a pair of cool Overalls this season and make it versatile by teaming various stuff with it like a Tee or a Tank top or a shirt or a Western blouse etc.. So plunge.

A bit if history…

 Dungaree was mentioned for the first time in the 17th century, when it was referred to a cheap, coarse thick cotton cloth, often coloured blue but sometimes white, worn by impoverished people in what was then a region of Bombay, India a dockside village called Dongri. Hindi name of this cloth was “dungri”. Dungri was exported to England and used for manufacturing of cheap, robust working clothes. Everyone who needed clothes for hard work that would not tear after a short time, from workers to slaves, began to wear dungarees.Dungaree is often compared to denim but there is a difference. While denim is woven from uncoloured yarn and only coloured after weaving, dungaree is made from pre-coloured yarn. They became fashionable in the other half of the 40s and by the start of the 50s they gained wider acceptance as casual wear because they are comfortable, easy to wear and practical.And the garments that are trousers with an attached front patch that covers the stomach but leaves the chest uncovered and has shoulder straps which are made either from denim or dungaree fabric came to be called as “Dungarees” or “Overalls”.

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Facts about Overalls

  • Overalls as maternity wear look damn kewll!
  •  Overalls or Dungarees look very interesting in other fabrics as well and not just in Denims.

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NEVER ENDING ROMANCE WITH CROCHET

I am definite all you guys have heard about this amazing craft called “Crochet”. No matter what your age could be, I am sure all of you, at some point of your life would have seen or heard your mother or your grandmother refer to this amazing needlecraft called “Crochet”.

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It is one of the oldest and the most classic fashions that I have ever watched in my life. And the best part is, it is not limited to just clothes, but trickles down to home décor and just about anything around us.

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My first memory of seeing “Crochet “(I am definite it would be the case with many of you) is that of seeing these round table mats called “ Doilies “which were used as a decorative piece for the centre tables or corner stools in the living room. They used to always move me to a fairyland. For some reason , these delicate pieces always made me feel very special about our home especially so because , no matter what, if some guests visited our home , my papa used to religiously pull out these “Doilies” and spread them in the most appropriate places. And so I had a feeling that, these were very special stuff that is displayed for very special people.

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Later I also listened to stories of “Crochet from my grandparent’s days when they used to live in Penang in Malayasia . My grandmom, it seems, used to make huge table runners made of “Crochet”. There was also this very girly story of the women of a village called “Mankurussi”, of Pallakkad district in Kerala (India), where to my grandparents returned after their stint at Malaysia as this was their native place; a quaint sleepy village , where I have spent some of my best ,happy days as a child. The story was that of “Crochet” being made as lace to be attached to the edge of the in-skirts that women wore underneath the sari (a long piece of cloth that women drape around their bodies), as the straps of bodice that was worn as an undergarment beneath blouses and as lace attached to the hemlines of petticoats worn by little girls. I assume this was some sort of lingerie for the women of the village! So lingerie is after all an old romantic thought; not so modern as we think!

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Maybe since I had a thing or two for fabrics, garments and designs, way back itself when I was just a little girl, I loved these stories about textiles. I started designing and getting my clothing made to order ever since I was in the ninth grade.
I would look at the images of dresses in many foreign magazines which were absolutely gorgeous. And in my part of the world, in those times, we never used to get to buy dresses or frocks beyond an age for girls (this age being highly limited; say ten years) .And beyond this, girls generally don’t wear little dresses. Either we pass onto something more traditional like typical skirts (half and full) and blouses or maybe to Salwar Kameez. Even if we got to wear or buy dresses, those would be mostly long ; in the sense , the hemline of the dress would be definitely beyond the knee or maybe till calf. So there was nothing pretty or girly about these dresses whose style quotient was also zilch or so I felt.
And there I was, on a mission to do my own clothes in a very serious way. I used to draw my own sketches (definitely influenced by all those foreign magazines) and would go about searching for suitable fabrics to make them. I also hunted out tailors to kind of understand my sketches and make them like the way I ideated. These guys always had a problem doing what I exactly wanted. They would give their own conservative inputs and always tried their luck at manipulating my designs to which I revolted strongly. There arose probably my traits as a designer to get what I really wanted. I learnt to say “No” in a firm yet prudent manner. And I fought tooth and nail with this clan to get my designs done without diluting.
There is this vivid memory of a Black dress with white polka dots. I wanted the collar in “Crochet” And I knew it was nearly impossible to get a collar crocheted in any of the commercial places unless you knew someone who would do it personally for you. Sadly I didn’t know anyone. Thus, I just picked up a doily mat that belonged to my father and took it to the tailor to convert it into the flat Peter Pan collar of my dress. Thankfully the tailor was also experimental and he agreed. Voilà! I had my dream dress with the crocheted collar. What an accomplishment!I wore the dress proudly and clutched dearly onto it for many years. I still remember I had it even when I was studying for graduation (Maharaja’s College, Kochi, India; the best place where I have spent my youth and fell in love too).

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My dress looked exactly like this illustration. Illustration coutesy: Kabeer & Monica

“Crochet” has ever since remained close to my heart and I still remain a sucker for all things crochet. When I used to run my lifestyle store (Ahom in Kochi, India), I had sourced out beautiful lampshades done in “Crochet” from Pondicherry and Auroville(Tamilnadu). I can’t really explain the awe I had when I saw local women do these “Crochet” lamps. They were gathered under a thatched roof in their traditional saris and were engrossed in a chat; relaxed and pulling out needle to create some of the prettiest lampshades that i had ever seen. The whites were classy. The coloured ones were so much like, out of a fairytale with the glass beads tied at the thread ends. I can never forget the high I felt , standing amongst those women admiring the intense simplicity of this craft. As samples, which they had made for a foreign client, they showed me more pieces like a belt, a wallet, and a beautiful bikini. And guess what? I coaxed them to sell that sample bikini to me! Smart eh?

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Some amusing products where Crochet is used

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Image coutesy: Pinterest

 

SOPHISTICATION….THY NAME IS LINEN

Linen is yet another fabric which has been around from God knows when. In fact every one of us who discovers Linen, feels that we have discovered it first. I still remember my exhilaration when I came across the fabric for the first time, when I was a design student, years back. I was on cloud nine thinking I found out the coolest, most sophisticated natural fabric in the world.
Linen which is a textile made from the fibres of the Flax plant, is laborious to manufacture, but the high absorbency of the fibre makes it a hot choice for summers. It keeps the wearer exceptionally cool and fresh.

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The collective term “Linen” is still often used generically to describe a class of woven bed, bath, table and kitchen textiles, traditionally made of Linen.

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The radically coarse fabric has a coveted place in the history of the world and is among the oldest, of a natural origin. Linen was sometimes used as a currency in ancient Egypt and the Egyptian Mummies were wrapped in it as a symbol of purity and light and as also a display of wealth. I was fortunate enough to see some shreds of these oldest surviving Linens on the bodies of the Mummies, when I visited the museums of Cairo. Right from a very young age, I was intrigued with the Egyptian culture and the Mummies. When it was taught in school, I was full of awe for the procedure of Mummification and how the Mummies survived for so long without perishing completely. Ever since then, I wanted to visit the land that celebrated death like nowhere else in the world. Right from their birth, their preparation is towards death and how to glorify their tombs; or so it seems. A space to sleep the eternal sleep is still a very sort after and prestigious things for the Egyptians. And thus, Linen along with the Mummies held a very esoteric place in my heart.In the past ages, Linen was mostly reserved for the royalty and the very wealthy. Even today, this fabric is extravagant compared to the rest and thus considered very sophisticated.

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If you are an avid user of Linens, you would know that this fabric looks equally cool as casual clothing, a business suit or a lounge wear. It is a very versatile one. And it adorns the various moods with élan. The various varieties of Linen depending on the weave and finish could at the same time be crisp or wiggly. And there are folks who use stiffener on Linen to get an extra crisp look. But personally, I love them to be in their congenital, wiggly state and cling down as if they are so much in love with the wearer. There is a beautiful coarse yet soft feel to it and the texture has immense clarity. You can actually trace the beauty of the weaves if you feel it. Not to mention the breathability of the fabric. You can wear it in all climates as your most intimate garment and still feel cool or warm.

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There is a very rusty, earthy, raw feel about this textile and it makes you feel more close to nature. When you spot a person wearing a good Linen shirt or blouse (top for Indians), you form a very mature, sophisticated opinion about him or her. And may it be a shirt, a blouse, a jacket, a skirt or a dress, there is an undeniable simplicity and straightforwardness about the garment. And generally clothing made in Linen are constructed on simple design storyboards; never too complicated. I also personally feel that you should not mess too much with this basic one.

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Although Linens take dye beautifully and hence can be dyed in any colour, there is nothing as virgin as white Linen….so pure and pristine like a country song! And white Linen again is a sure shot “classic” look! You can never go wrong wearing this combination. In fact ,you can walk in anywhere confidently with head held high, laced with a careless smile on your lips, letting people think that you are the “upmarket types” and a connoisseur of good taste.

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Many a time, when we go to buy fabrics or garments, we end up buying not pure Linens but Linen blends. It is widely blended with cotton and used in tons for clothing. But can’t say it’s any lesser because it looks equally rich and flamboyant. Compared to pure Linen, it’s very cost effective too. Let me give one word of caution to all you Linen lovers out there. Please check for the tag inside the clothing which gives you the details of the fabric mix and don’t just go blindly by the sales person’s words. Linen silk blend is another chic choice; quite rare but extremely exotic.

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And last but not least, for all Indian women who are in a never ending love affair with the saris, there are pure Linen saris and they carry an aura of mature sophistication which befits stylish women; especially the ones holding higher office for the quaint classiness that they have to project! Anyone can flaunt a Linen sari though, and make it look easier or more casual by playing around with the fabrics of the” choli” or blouse. Happy romancing with Linen!

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PRESENTING TO YOU FIVE INDIVIDUALS WHO SWEAR BY LINEN

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  JAVED PARVESH,  CHIEF REPORTER,   MALAYALA MANORAMA, THIRUVANANTHAPURAM

“I love Linens as they give a sophisticated yet approachable look. And being a journalist,I meet people from all strata and the sober colours and feel of Linen is received by all with respect and calm. Now  a days ,I prefer the earthy colours of the fabric and avoid bright colours,stripes,plaids and prints.”

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  DEEKSHA  KAPOOR  KHANNA,  PROPRIETOR,  TEXTILE AGENCY,  MUMBAI

“Linen for me is a noble fabric and after years of lusting after it,when I work with the fabric now,I respect it even more. When I was young, I thought it was a regular fabric and so would be really cheap. But Linen ;especially good quality Linen ,can sometimes really set you back. While I love the summer colours, I feel it is best for me worn in it’s pure off white form”.

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  JOHN JOSEPH, OWNER, SALT STUDIO, DESIGN BOUTIQUE, KOCHI 

” Linen has an elegance to it and is comfortable to wear especially in a hot and humid weather”

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   DIYA .K,  DESIGNER & CO OWNER, SALT STUDIO, DESIGN BOUTIQUE, KOCHI

“I  love the sober colours in Linen and the casual style of it. Also, people tend to notice the simple elegance of it.”

FACTS WHICH I DIDN’T KNOW AND SO SHARING

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 The Shroud of Turin or Turin Shroud (Italian: Sindone di Torino) is a length of linen cloth bearing the image of a man who appears to have suffered physical trauma in a manner consistent with crucifixion. There is no consensus yet on how the image was created, and it is believed by some to be the burial shroud of Jesus of Nazareth, despite radiocarbon dating placing its origins in the Medieval period.

 

 

Courtesy: Oxygenart.tumblr.com, etsy.com, getcottage.blogspot.com,and-rosa.tumblr.com, RosenberryRooms.com, bizzyathome.blogspot.com, 52flea.blogspot.com, augusta-auction.com

Javed Parvesh, John Joseph, Deeksha Kapoor Khanna and Dia.k

THE HUMBLE KOLHAPURIS

Who in India doesn’t know about “ Kolhapuri” sandals? And it’s amazing that, though originally, they hail from a place called Kolhapur in the state of Maharashtra, they are available in any city in India. They have been around from time immemorial. They are so original in design and details that they stand out royally among all footwear.Think of those beautiful braided straps in leather and the bright red signature thread that kind of juts out like a feather on the cap.

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74e8d202217b51a3cbcd360c7558733b-1 I can remember seeing the “Kolhapuris” ever since I was a small kid. The concrete memory of these beautiful sandals was, when one of my cousin brothers, who studied in Pune in the early eighties, brought a pair each for his siblings and for me. I instantly fell in love with them. And although, originally they are beige in colour and made in leather, there were colour variations and mine was dyed in a deep reddish maroon. And as there was excess dye on the sandals, every time I wore it, my feet would turn red on the soles and I just loved it.

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Years rolled by, but nothing much happened to the rustic, romantic status of the “Kolhapuris”! And I realized when I grew up that, these sandals looked amazing with just about any garment. They could be used with traditional wears like Saris, Salwar kameez, Lehengas, etc for women and Kurta pyjamas,Dhotis etc for men. Similarly, they go easily with western wear like Jeans, T-shirts, and Capris and even look funky with shorts. The best they look on a man or a woman, I feel is when they are teamed with a Blue Denim jeans and a White shirt preferably Linen. Wowww! There is a mandatory charm about this look. The person looks approachable, warm, intelligent, simple yet sophisticated. Although a stranger,he or she will always look like someone from your past, someone whom you knew as a cheerful person .It may sound a little weird to some, but just try looking at someone who puts together this look. And I am sure you will also start feeling what I feel.

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PhotoGrid_1406779757246 It goes without saying that”Kolhapuris” transcend as classics. They never went out of vogue and never will. They keep evolving in colour, texture, design, ornamentation but will never go out of fashion. They are best described like a favourite next door neighbour who brings in a crusty apple pie on a rainy Sunday or an old school crush whom you could never really forget and who keeps giving you a friendly call now and then. They will always be there; round the corner, with a warm knowing smile.

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PhotoGrid_1406176918441 And boy! The breathability these sandals give you is amazing. Nothing can give more freedom for your feet. Slip it on…slip it off… and let your feet always feel the wind. So to make your feet feel happy, loved and content, grab a pair of these amazing footwear. And as I said before, there is no anxiety whether you are in vogue or not. And many a time there is no gender difference nor status difference for this really cool pair. Quintessentially fashionable; on ramp or in raw life.

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 JUST FOR YOUR INFORMATION AND MOSTLY FOR YOUR INTEREST!

“Kolhapuris” have been the inspiration for other product design and print.

Check out the super cool mobile covers and purses.

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