Nida Mahmood .... Story Teller !!




Nida Mahmood SS 2013 

For those of us who attended Nida Mahmood's Spring Summer 2013 collection "Sapna Cinema"  on day 5 of Wills Lifestyle India Fashion Week SS 13 ... we were plunged into 15 odd minutes of technicolor dreams dreamt in the mental landscape of Nida's vivid imagination....... First came the Masks, ...... a psychedelic mixture of masquerade masks from Venice ..... to Indian green Kathakali face masks, ........ Goddess Kali masks,  Nazar Battus ( a Nazar (eye) Battu is an icon, charm bracelet, tattoo, face mask or other object or pattern used in North India and Pakistan to ward-off the evil eye ) .... to the dragon masks of China and Bhutan .... it was stunning ... it was surreal .... it was very Alexander McQueen as in it was edgy, fetishtic and dramatic beyond a person's imagination !





Lady Gaga in a custom made Alexander McQueen mask


Sidenote : The Alexander McQueen connection to Nida Mahmood

1. Alexander McQueen was a British fashion designer and couturier best known for his in-depth knowledge of bespoke British tailoring, his tendency to juxtapose strength with fragility in his collections, as well as the emotional power and raw energy of his provocative fashion shows, and the face masks he used for his runway shows and installations. He was also the Chief Designer of the fashion house of Givenchy from 1996 - 2001. ( He is a graduate of Central Saint Martins College of Art and Design, London, D's college :)

2. In May 2011, D went for his posthumous art exhibition, Savage Beauty, organized by the Metropolitan Museum of Art's ( the Met, New York), Costume Institute ( read about it here ). The exhibition had holograms, wind machines, two way mirrors and was "exciting, stimulating and thought-provoking – and a raw vision of the wild McQueen imagination" - Suzy Menkes ( fashion critic). The face masks were done by artist Guido Palau, and were at once scary and fascinating! Take a look at the McQueen face mask worn by Lady Gaga above.

3. Icelandic singer Björk sought McQueen's work for the cover of her album Homogenic in 1997. McQueen also directed the music video for her song "Alarm Call" from the same album and later contributed the iconic topless dress to her video for "Pagan Poetry". Nida Mahmood started her show with Bollywood dialogues with the word Sapna (dreams) and Björk's - Army of Me from the soundtrack of the Hollywood film Sucker Punch ( a 2011 action fantasy film).



Nida Mahmood


Nida Mahmood is a self taught artist and trained designer from NIFT. Awarded for the “Most Creative Design Collection” in 2002, she continued with trail blazing concepts through the fashion weeks she participated in. Indian Kitsch being her muse and forte, her last collections at WIFW titled ‘High on Chai’, ‘Bioscope’, ‘Sadak Chaap’, Machis and ‘The Great Indian Bohemian Tamasha’ met with rave reviews, critical appreciation and commercial success. She also regularly writes on art and fashion for reputed newspapers and websites. Hailed as the Queen of Indian Kitsch by the media – she travels extensively for fashion and art shows, talks and an incorrigible wanderlust. Her collection at WIFW SS 13 was titled "Sapna Cinema" - in her own words .... "Psychedelic dreams in Technicolor cinemascope. Where colors, creatures and characters pounce, prance and play out their roles in a riotous drama. Dystopian storylines set in utopian dreamscapes. Surreal in parts and Freudian in context. Stuff that dreams are made of. This collection is a manifestation of several colorful stories that unfold in my dreams." - Press Release.


Nida Mahmood photographed by Rahul Datta 
Viewing her collection was a revelation for us ... its obvious this Fashion Designer is not limited to designing ... she is an artist with the soul of a nomad, .... she loves colours (must be that strong Indian subcontinental gene :), ... she has a keen eye for street art and Indian nautanki(local theatre) ... she is experimental with the use of LED lights on her clothing ( designed a dress for Lady Gaga with more than 1000 LED lights n called the dress "Jadugaar", to be worn with a Ramlila mukut/crown !!!!!!! )... she has a keen sense for the traditional, but being fun and part of Young India, she subverts it with a tongue in cheek irreverence, like only someone who understands the essence of tradition and culture, and wistfully romanticise about the olden golden days of Bollywood art and Indian street kitsch can !!
The Invite
The above is the Media invite for her show. Its a CD with her Press Notes, and a Hibiscus flower with the Pistil (the female reproductive part of a flower) glowing with a LED (light emitting diode) light ..... hahahahaha ... and the CD cover shows 2 cocks ( roosters in polite terms ... lol ) .... how delighfully irreverent ...
The Rooster motif carried on in her clothes designs with a sound track of Cousin Sex by Pad Class featuring Electro Lise ... check out the You Tube vid in the Runway music list ( here )... you can hear the rooster crowing at the end of the track :D .... the other 3 songs - Army of Me ( Bjork), the Queen mash up, and White Rabbit ( Emiliana Torrini ) are from the soundtrack of the movie, Sucker Punch (2011). We are not going to discuss the movie here, you gotta see it to understand the world of imagination that may have influenced Nida's choice of music for the show. ( Disclaimer : we have not spoken to or interviewd Nida for this post, its entirely Delhi Style Blog's perception of the show and the music :)
The Music
All four runway tracks are not your regular pop fun music .... the show started and ended with :
1. Bjork's Army of Me
Stand up .. You've got to manage .. I won't sympathize anymore .... And if you complain once more .. You'll meet an army of me .. You're alright ... there's nothing wrong .. Self-sufficience please! ... and get to work ... And if you complain once more, you'll meet an army of me ... You're on your own now ... We won't save you ... Your rescue-squad is too exhausted ... And if you complain once more ... You'll meet an army of me ....
(kickass lyrics for a kickass designer's show :)
2. Queen's I Want It All/We Will Rock You mashup feat. Armageddon
I want it all ... i want it all ... i want it now ... i want it all ... Buddy you're a boy ... make a big noise ... Playin' in the street ... gonna be a big man some day ... You got mud on your face ... You big disgrace .. Kickin' your can all over the place :)
3. Emiliana Torrini's cover of Jefferson Airplane's White Rabbit
One pill makes you larger ... And one pill makes you small ... And the ones that mother gives you ... Don't do anything at all ... Go ask Alice when she's ten feet tall ... And if you go chasing rabbits ... And you know you're going to fall ... Tell him a hookah-smokin' caterpillar ... Has given you the call .... And call Alice when she was just small ... When the men on the chessboard ... Get up and tell you where to go ... And you have just have some kind of mushroom .... And your mind is movin' low ... Go ask Alice, I think she'll know .... When logic and proportion ... Have fallen sloppy dead ... And the white knight is talking backwards ... And the red queen's off with her head ... Remember
What the Dormouse said ... Feed your head ... Feed your head  ...
( Alice, White Rabbit, Caterpillar, White Knight, Red Queen, Dormouse are all characters from the book Alice's Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll ... and if you haven't read the book ... you have no appreciation for imagination ... and therefore Nida's clothes will only appear as a colorful lot of designs in Holi colors :D )
4. Cousin Sex by Pad Class feat. Electro Lise
The Clothes
















Nida Mahmood taking a bow :) 


Saree with jeans, Nida Mahmood designs 
Needless to say, we at Delhi Style Blog love the quirkiness of Nida's designs ... the heart prints, the polka dots, the saree with denim leggings, the cropped pants ... all Indian with a contemporary twist .... fun, very in, and individualistic !! Hope you liked this post ... do visit again :)
DS

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