Fashion high street for Indian Palette – Prathiba Devi Wilson, Tamilnadu


Fighting over Monday morning blues, I was rummaging through my wardrobe for a perfect outfit that would enhance my spirits and preserve my fashion quotient. While I searched for the perfect outfit my thoughts drifted towards fashion. Fashion is getting complex by the day wherein, not only is it imperative to color co-ordinate your dress, also the accessories. Accessories have extended from elementary earrings and bangles to stoles, shoes even handbags. While ladies take fashion conscience as a cardinal duty men have slyly dodged it or at least accessories are limited to sock and tie.

Milan is called Fashion capital of the world. It’s fuzzy how Milan’s spring, autumn fashion shows have an effect on hot Indian Palette. Devil wears Prada’s Meryl Streep character does explain how a cerulean (blue to non-fashionistas) gets actually selected by a high end designer house, which becomes a hot theme in many shows in a season before trickling down to high street fashion, hence no one can be immune to fashion according to her. As for Indian palette, we are dependent on the regional-wood industry led by Bollywood, which emulates Hollywood, infusing Indian spirit into it. Jean and tee of Hollywood morphed to jean with a kameez combo, and legging worn with barely covering tee in Hollywood is worn with kameez of varying length. The length of kameez being inversely proportional to cosmopolitan quotient, the more cosmopolitan one is the lower the length of the kameez is.

Fashion recycles itself every year with a twist here and a turn there. Hair bun which was a mandatory hair-do of my grandma’s school teacher days peep in every year with a variance. Arm length, kameez length keeps varying; shades of colors fade in and out. I wish there was some scientific formulae that could be applied to predict the duration of a fashion and cyclic gap before it reemerges later. This way I could at least save out-of-vogue dresses in storage units preserved with moth balls. Case in point is when I noticed Carrie Bradshaw sporting a deep orange designer dress with a violet purse (of course the colors would have more apt names in fashion world), in one of the SATC reruns. The exact color mix is in a silk saree my mom has till now in her collection of favorites from her early marriage years. The saree body is in violet, border and pallu in orange. I, being the self anointed fashion police of my family have ridiculed her for having such an out of vogue color in her possession and have discouraged her from wearing it to any ceremonies we went together.

Did the designers get inspired by Indian colors of early 80’s? Is fashion a natural phenomenon where colors and patterns splash across the globe in eureka moments of designer’s inspiration. Either way I am taking possession of my Mom’s precious saree for now. When bollywood slowly catches the color trend, in no time, I can take it to my tailor for a makeover.

Fashion policing is a favorite segment in many lifestyle magazines and shows. Reading such magazines train the eye to mock at fashion challenged. It is equivalent to getting a long distance education degree and a certificate to police around. Shopping mall is the best place to witness many fashion kills and some class. While fashionistas can be defined at various levels, fashion aspirers are meat for fashion literates like me. They are the daringly experimental or blissfully ignorant types who fuse the western fashion with Indian touch beyond the agreeable norms set by Lakme fashion week. One girl I noticed wore a body hugging tee, with jean, and adorned her long beautifully plaited hair with jasmine. Even as I passed my judgment on the girl’s ignorance, my friend snapped me reminding violet saree episode. It got me thinking, who could say, this could inspire some designer and it might make its way into the ramp show.

When did fashion become so complex and when did we Indians become fashion forward? Blessed were those days when a black sandal and a handbag matched all attires. Hair was oiled and plaited tight, no worry of a bad hair day. While trendiness invokes envy in our female peers, it does very little whatsoever with men. Finally after fixing my wardrobe for Monday and reminiscing on nostalgic past of simple fashion days I waited for my office transportation in the stop. I noticed a young college girl wearing a simple yet beautiful salwar kameez, accessorized with small golden earrings and bangles, powder applied face adorned with tiniest black bindi, nothing fashionable yet so pretty. I yearningly admired her simple beauty and she complimented me with an envious look.


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