FUN is in VOGUE
SANGEETA BAROOAH PISHAROTY converses with fashion expert Harleen Sabharwal at the ongoing Lakme India Fashion Week on what essentially shapes style trends. The bonus, though, is the key forecast for 2005.
WHEN IT was the age of bellbots, Tom, Dick and Harry wore it no matter what. When drainpipe trousers hit the streets, Eena, Meena Deeka no way could miss it. Now that flared trousers, strappy tops and short kurtis are in galore, Sita, Gita, Rita have used up all their pocket money to have them.
Indeed, style changes like seasons. Somebody somewhere has been deciding what should fill our shop racks and we evidently have been falling for them. But, 14 years after the trendsetting National Institute of Fashion Technology opened its doors to creative minds willing to be officially called fashion designers, that `somebody somewhere' is today said to be the designer. No matter how much we call fashion on the ramps not wearable, to go by style expert Harleen Sabharwal's words, traces of it are now seen trickling down to the street shops.
Present at the ongoing annual fashion extravaganza, Lakma India Fashion Week at The Grand in New Delhi, Mumbai-based Harleen describes it: "This is fad. Started by designers through ramp shows or otherwise, the design filters down to a common man through street shops at a reasonable price. Indian consumers have just evolved. So, we now have fad conscious customers ready to change as per these fads."
After blindly following the West till just last year, both Indian designers and consumers together seem to have decided that the trend that is fashionable at present is "returning to the roots; back to basics." Offering a loaded label, `Glocalisation' - globally aware, locally rooted, Harleen in her accented English, brings in not only the Jassi influence but also 9/11 to define what is trendy in contemporary Indian fashion and also to forecast for 2005. "Day-to-day happenings around us really influence fashion. How plain Jane Jassi looks like in TV is beginning to become fashionable among people. For instance, 9/11 made the world topsy-turvy. It affected fashion trends too," she though predicts, by the next year, "things would fall into place."
Well then, it is the same influence that is continuing - before Jassi stepped in and Balaji Telefilms entered television with their `saas' and `bahus' in a standard format, for years together, Bollywood has been defining fashion in India.
Fashionably yours_Collections by designers Rina Dhaka, Payal Jain and Rajesh Pratap Singh at LIFW in New Delhi.
Here, she adds that so many well-known names from the fashion world are now designing costume for Hindi films. So, it is a full circle.
And if 9/11 can cause so much ripples in defining fashion trends, what about the ensuing US elections, Iraq war and our very own shining India?
"Of course, all these factors will influence fashion in India," Harleen, however, stays away from forecasting what exactly would it translate into. "Fusion is going out and is now being replaced by mixed media. You could be wearing a shirt from India, trousers from China and do up your hair in London."
Niki Mahajan's collection at LIFW. Photo: S. Subramanium.
In the mode of that famous song from "Shree 420" by Raj Kapoor, be it 2004 or the next year, you would nevertheless flaunt a "Dil Hindustani".
But then, there are some straight cut conclusions she offers - diagonals and stripes are out; orange and yellows in vogue in 2004 are to be replaced by bright, sunshine hues in 2005.
Herself in grey Western formals, Harleen says, she does not want to walk like a collage. "I would like to follow the classic mode. There is fashion and then there are trends. Trends begin with designers and go to retailers and to the street and finally get replaced. But classics remain." Herein falls the immortal sari and that pair of blue jeans.
And, if you are comfortable in this attire, then perhaps you can save yourself from the trends she is talking about. Leaving many a question unanswered to help you connect well between fads, trends and classics, a smiling Harleen offers: "There is a saying that a good forecaster is the one who gets his/her ignorance organised." Well, no more queries to you, what you just said summed it up.
Photos: S. Subramanium.
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