Punjabi Rock n Roll & Kitsch Kedgeree

Ritu Beri 1

Who can say regardez-moi, the loudest?  On one monsoon evening in Delhi two of Indian fashion’s most entertaining designers presented their couture collections.  Both have strong associations with Paris but the words chalk and cheese were never more relevant.  The first was Ritu Beri, India’s 80s Paris-trained girl wonder whose show included a live band and a couple of designers she worked in collaboration with.

Exotic Punjab was the theme and fabrics included rich velvets and silk with a colour palette including scarlet, gold, gold, more gold and aubergine. The choice of masquerade accessories provided an interesting and different look.

Ritu Beri 2

Ritu Beri 3

The state of Punjab gets a lot of stick from design crowds as the state is associated with sacks of cash without the sense and sensibility of how to spend it.  Gaudy and ostentatious are adjectives that pepper sentences describing P unjabi taste.  On the one hand I take offence as I am Punjabi, albeit from over the border, with what I would regard as good and understated taste (although a little flamboyant at times ;-)).  However, after seeing Ms Beri’s show dedicated to her home state one would find it difficult to argue with the negative opinions.

Ritu Beri 4

Ritu Beri 5

Ritu Beri 6

A contrasting viewpoint would be to reflect on this collection and others like it to a recent Guardian newspaper interview with Adam Sandler.  To summarise, Sandler said he didn’t make movies for critics he made them for his audience.  Ritu has been in the industry for almost as long as I have been alive so although most of the collection is not to my personal taste, I think she knows her customer well and I hope they relished it.

Manish Arora 2013 1

Talented couturier and self-confessed showman and king of Indian kitsch, Manish Arora,  presented his bridal collection on the same evening.  The show was entitled ‘India’ and referencing contrasting themes such as baroque, Buddhist temples and Indian jewellery.

Manish Arora 8

I’m rather saturated by Indian kitsch and don’t find it appealing after seeing it for the umpteenth time.  Manish shows his Western wear collections in Paris as part of the official schedule and the show is usually repeated in Delhi.  He is so wonderfully skilled and his ability is tangible and demonstrable in his Western designs with an oozing sexiness that used to be reminiscent of the great maestro Gianni Versace.

Manish Arora 2013 2

Whilst the colourful Manish kaleidoscope is always eye-catching and the styling of his shows is creative, the thing that was missing for me in this couture collection was the body of a woman.  As thick as a tree truck with no place for a waist or contours of any sort, the result left me wondering whether the exquisite hand woven and hand crafted creations are best admired from behind a prestigious glass exhibition screen.

Manish Arora 2013 4

Manish Arora 2013 7

The collection was made predominantly from natural textiles such as silk and hand made silk brocades from Varanasi which were then  treated and embellished with spangled sequins, surface enhancing zardozi embroidery along with cutwork metal, faux leather, crystals and enameled stones.

Manish Arora 2013 8

Manish’s show notes stated that he would set a new standard for bridal wear.  I’d like him to design a whole new silhouette for Indian traditional clothing, can’t it be done?  Maybe his Indian bride could have a Bianca Jagger moment and wear a trouser suit to her wedding??  Instead of kitsch, Manish, please inject some kryptonite you’re talented enough!

Bubbly

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One Comment to “Punjabi Rock n Roll & Kitsch Kedgeree”

  1. Beri’s collection is divine! I want!

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