Designer Chhaya Mehrotra showcased her collection "Bubbly in Paris" in the recently concluded Amazon India Fashion Week Spring Summer 16 .... The show started with a lilting track with a bubbly schoolgirl in plaits, school bag and tennis keds .... who skipped onto the ramp, bright eyed and full of a young hearts curiosity .... Bubbly SS16 was obviously a return of the character of "Bubbly Banarsi", who first took the ramp in Chhaya's Spring Summer 15 collection !! .... Not many know, but "Bubbly" happens to be the designer's nickname and Banaras happens to be her hometown :) ... So if last Spring's "Bubbly" was essentially a small town ingenue .... This Spring, Bubbly has travelled from Banaras to Paris ... and the sights and sartorial influences of the French capital has coloured her small town dreams as showcased in the beautiful amalgamation of Banarsi prints, brocades with French street style inspiration !! ... We caught up with the designer for a tete a tete after her successful show, closed by ace journalist Shereen Bhan in a stunningly elegant handcrafted handloom saree with scalloped edges and french rose embroidery :)

Chhaya Mehrotra Bubbly in Paris SS16 AIFW
Chhaya Mehrotra Bubbly in Paris SS16 AIFW

Designer Vaishali Shadangule's collection this Amazon India Fashion Week Spring Summer 16, Yajna, the Woven Universe, was based on the simple concept of Fabric as thread, and Thread as fabric ... Sounds simple, doesn't it ? ... But to most Indians, the term "Yajna" (literal meaning sacrifice) is the central concept of "Shrota" ... the tradition that follows from the "Shruti" (theVedas) ..... The Hindu Vedas define Yajna as more than the mere connotation that the English word "Sacrifice" carries .... Yajna, derived from the root word "Yaj" (to worship) is thus described in the Gita : "All life is said to be a yajña. Every action, when made as an offering to the Īśvara (God/deity), is a yajña. Worshipping, eating food, fighting war, creating wealth, contributing to human knowledge, running family, each of these is a yajña. Doing these as offerings to derive something greater, makes these actions yajñas. When these actions are not done for material gain but with a selfless motive, that is the highest form of yajña. Sacrifice brings transcendence (a state of being beyond the limits of material experience).Transcendence through sacrifice is the meaning of life in the Vedic religion."
 The designer in her press note says of Yagna SS16 The Woven Universe : "the collection is an effort to interpret vedic concepts through Indian hand woven textiles and unique modern silhouettes" .... The term "Universe" itself is a construct of the human mind ... Science and modern philosophy based on rational theories, are just that ... Theories, not proof, of how we came about .... How the idea of the Universe as we know it, took shape .... out of the millions of human thoughts that wove it into a story defined by chronological time and space !! ... So if we are to paraphrase the thoughts as the Threads ... the resultant idea of the Universe is the Fabric ... and vice versa ... If the Universe is a thought, constructed out of millenniums of thought processes ... the Fabric can also be a Thread, constructed out of millions of threads .... in action as a thread, in the bigger canvass of the fabric ... Everything is connected, everything is one ... and Vaishali S has brought this Vedic concept alive in her collection ... Her ensembles are a homage to the eternal thread, and every outfit and accessory is designed to reflect this worship of the woven universe !!

Vaishali S Yajna SS16 The Woven Universe AIFW

The moment i realized that Sahil Kochhar would be presenting his collection Phool Mandi Festive Winter 2015 at Lakme Fashion Week, Mumbai ... i was dismayed !! ... Just because he has been showcasing in Delhi since his debut collection, and we made a great personal connection post his first show, i always anticipated him showing at the capital's FDCI event ... In other words, i selfishly hoped he always showed in Delhi ... because we don't attend the Mumbai fashion circuit :p ... and well to be really honest, he is one of the brightest upcoming talent in the country !! ... His debut show a year and a half back, knocked the wind out of the jaded frows, editors and designers alike .... I think it was the most recorded show on social media that season ... and his industry mentor, the legendary designer Rohit Bal gave him a standing ovation and bear hug after his final bow !! ... And all of a sudden, the fashion fraternity had the words Malakars (garland makers) and Sholapith, a craft form from West Bengal on their lips ! ... Such was the artistry and sheer mastery he had .... over the 3D hand cut embroidery, and other exquisite surface details over silhouettes .... which was as modern in form as was timeless !! ... From that first collection, "Phuler Tora" (bouquet of flowers) to this latest one, his fourth, "Phool Mandi" (flower market) ..... one senses quite a vast, albeit rapid journey ... and we caught up with our young friend to talk about his tryst with flower power and his dreams of the perfect future show :)

Sahil Kochhar Phool Mandi AW 2015 Lakme Fashion Week
Sahil Kochhar Phool Mandi AW 2015 Lakme Fashion Week

Karishma Shahani Khan was not exactly on my radar two months back ... In all honesty, operating out of the Delhi means that one misses out on designers showing in Mumbai or other cities ... As an accredited blogger with the Fashion Design Council of India, our haunts have been the Fashion and Couture Weeks in the capital ... But we have been following our Prime Minister's call for a return to our sartorial roots with the Reinvent Banaras campaign this season across all fashion weeks in the country ... and although the label KaSha by Karishma Shahani Khan has been around for a few years, it was only during this recently concluded Lakme Fashion Week in Mumbai, that we sat up and took notice of Kasha by Karishma Shahani Khan's collection,  Chavi AW15 !! ... Khan’s label ‘Ka:Sha’ was found in 2011 post her graduation from the London College of Fashion, United Kingdom .... and focuses on design as a form of storytelling .... The philosophy of her products lies in visualizing design as a celebration with an aim to ‘Think global, act local’ ... Glocal in short :) ... The label is influenced by the multi layer sensibility of Indian Fashion .... given the size of our nation ..... with a clear demarcation not only of topography ....  but also different cultural ecosystems with their own weaves, textile heritage and sartorial choices !! ... Creating individuality in this world striving for identity is a quest for Kasha ... and this is reflected quite aptly in the street style layering of Indian elements in her Autumn Winter collection "Chavi" which means "image" or a "persona" .... A picture of an Indian woman just like us .... who straddles our Glocal ambiguity quite comfortably .... without heeding any stereotyped notions of how a modern Indian should dress or be :)

Kasha by Karishma Shahani Khan Chavi AW15
Ka:Sha - Weaving sustainable stories in fashion

I was eagerly looking forward to textile revivalist and designer Gaurang Shah's Autumn Winter 2015 presentation - the "Shringar of Samyukta" , at the recently concluded Lakme Fashion Week ... As a storyteller first and foremost, the whole concept of Samyukta grabbed our attention like no other .... Among all the designers who took up the call to "Reinvent Banaras" at the Indian Handlooms and Textiles Day at LFW for the revival of the Banarasi (Varanasi) handlooms, .... Gaurang's collection of 44 heritage, handcrafted, textile outfits .... all in the hues of the Indian sindoor /vermillion .... stood out in passionate homage to Samyukta, the princess of Kannauj and queen of Delhi !! ... All Indians are familiar with the tragic story of the freedom loving Rajput king Prithviraj Chauhan and his romance of Samyukta, princess of a rival kingdom .... Now the word "Shringar" means adornment or beauty rituals and the "Shringar of Samyukta" refers to the bridal preparation of the royal princess ... Her red wedding dress, jhoomkas, nose ring, bindi and the vermillion on her hair parting ... all these images of a new bride were to be reinvented in exquisite bridal handcrafted couture !! ... The icing on the cake was that the show was to be conceptualized and styled by our friend and fellow blogger Pallavi Datta ( Pallavi Style Diaries) , whose fierce appreciation of India's handloom heritage has been an inspiration to us at DSB ! ... "As a handloom textile enthusiast, it has been a dream of mine to present the luxurious option of handwoven bridal wear to a young woman today. I have been a bystander in many a bridal outfit choosing process to know what a challenge it is for a bride to have a say in it, 'assisted' as she is by a whole range of opinionated relatives. My day is made when I meet a girl who stands her ground and shuns trend driven choices, 'what-ifs' by relatives and knows her mind to create a look for herself that is a reflection of her personality, her heritage and her brave female ancestors like Samyukta. By choosing to marry a fierce freedom fighter - Prithviraj Chauhan - Samyukta chose a harsh, patriotic life over cushy, passive existence with a docile prince. I styled and curated this collection by Gaurang as a celebration and an ode to this daughter of the land."

Gaurang Shah LFW AW15 Samyukta Varanasi handloom
Gaurang Shah : Shringar of Samyukta, Varanasi weaves,
Model Archana Akhil Kumar and Rachel Maria Bayros

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