HAS PARIS HAD ITS DAY AND NEW YORK ITS NIGHT?
Move over Mr Lagerfield… As a swirl of sumptuous silks, dramatic drapes, extraordinary embroidery,
mesmerising mirror work and kaleidoscopic colours parade down international catwalks. Bollywood designers have the International market spinning around their little fingers. And the fabric of fantasy has woven its way from Mumbai across to Manhattan, Milan, Monte-Carlo, Munich, Moscow, from Dubai to Durban, Latvia to Lebanon, Spain to Singapore… Indian motifs, traditional themes and embroideries are the rage of the international fashion scene. Since the success of Selfridges – Bollywood fashion saga, Indian designer labels have been eagerly sought by the most prestigious buyers including Saks Fifth Avenue, Harrods, Paris's Celine, GalerieLafayette and the exclusive Maria Luisa boutiques (where John Galliano had his first break). “Ensembles with intricate detailing and embroideries stand out from the crazy clutter of American brands, which seem to be doing more or less the same thing every year. It's also the essence of the exotic that fascinates the up market consumer,” declared Komal Mirchandani, who attends Mumbai Fashion Week to buy for her up-market Hong Kong store "Sanskrit". Galliano, Jean-Paul Gautier, Armani, Valentino have long declared their fascination for India's expert craftsmanship imbued with an age-old heritage. Arguably the most exotic and extravagant in the world, sometimes adorned with embroidery in real gold and silver thread or studded with crystal, precious stones and taking years to complete, Indian textiles encompasses an entire gamut of elaborate and magnificent types of apparel, saris, lenghas, shararas, kurtis – the list continues – and needlework techniques representing traditions unique to different regions, towns and villages, a tapestry of the rich cultural heritage and ethnic diversity of India. Indeed, Indian designers travel to faraway villages to source techniques, fabrics, beads and reinvent traditional Indian arts into inspired haute couture creations, that only the elite can afford. Success at international fashion shows has revolutionised Indian fashion. Tapping in to the international market has meant adventurous developments in “desi” designs (derived from the Sanskrit word 'desh' meaning 'motherland', "desi" means "of the homeland" and is a term used by the South Asian diaspora to refer to themselves). Traditional themes are re-incarnated in Western avatars. Noted fashion expert Harleen Sabharwal's Trend Forecasting predicted, "Fashion will witness a new form of fusion called mixed media, which will be a blend of global and traditional trends." Indian designers have grasped that the secret to success is transforming traditional textiles and techniques into contemporary creations with international appeal. Designer Monisha Jasing's sporty ensembles fusing embroideries into western cuts and silhouettes including sexy halter dresses, sassy tops, t-shirts, skirts and trousers are almost exclusively for export abroad to top fashion stores like Harrods.