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


Every Suneet Varma couture show is remembered, as vividly for its show styling as the actual collection itself ! ... Suneet's signature elements lend an idiom to his presentations, which for its consistency, hardly finds parallel in the Indian Fashion pantheon ... Take the famous metal breastplate first showcased on model Shyamolie Verma in his 1992 collection "The Greek Sculptures" ... It has been re invented again in other fashion stories and has made countless appearances on the pages of Vogue and other fash mags till date ... For students of Indian Fashion, that breast plate says "Suneet Varma" even without credit mention !! .... Or the hugely popular and staple Suneet Varma tiered long skirt !! .... It fans out in yards and yards of sensuous fabric and any supermodel worth her salt has twirled or dreamed of twirling in that iconic skirt, just once in any of his couture presentations .... If one were to walk down memory lane, every show can actually be categorized according to the "It skirt twirling" moment of each show :) .... But the most iconic of all his style elements, is undoubtedly the magnificent SV headdress !! .... Whether it is tied in silk organza turban like ... or it is a massive fountain of exotic plumes .... or a gem studded Sarpech / Indian tiara ... or most recently, birds in flight soaring dramatically from invisible hair frames ... Suneet Varma's iconic turbans and head dresses are the Soprano in his sartorial Opera !! .... When we got a chance to style one of his headdresses on Aanchal for India Bridal Fashion Week, we were ecstatic beyond jumping with joy, and this is how we styled it :)


Suneet Varma Couture Headdress AIFW AW15


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