Seams Quite Possible


Seams Quite Possible

Botox and Bollywood will be banned on the catwalk. Indian universities will offer PhDs in fashion. The handloom sari will be the new powersuit. Twenty things for 2020.

The future of fashion makes me homesick. In my wardrobe,it carries the weight of tradition and the lightness of modernity — a Mondrian-inspired chiffon sari edging out a faded kurta with Sindhi embroidery. A bangle of Venetian glass stealing the thunder from a nimbu-mirchi pendant made out of cloth. In my mind,fashion’s future is like me and my kind. Imperfect. It will take more than a decade to wash away the sins of the past: unwearable garments; the rampant use of industrial plastic; shoes,bags,watches and gowns worth lakhs of rupees being made and sold in countries where children die of malnutrition and men and women of cold and heat. And it is the Japanese concept of wabi-sabi (acceptance of the imperfect) that will define the future of fashion. And so here they are,20 imperfections for 2020.

1. Fashion will free the modern woman from being a laborious cliché. Bye-bye cling-and-bling femme fatale with impeccably styled hair,matching nose rings,and plastic nails. Fashion was your enslaver; now allow it to liberate you.

2. Avant-garde will evolve from a mindset to a market. Yohji Yamamoto’s ponderous black clothes will be worn in Ludhiana kitty parties,Kallol Datta’s crab dresses will become the new Auntie Chic.

3. Organic and eco-friendly in fashion will mean natural fabrics made from the produce of non-pesticide farming,not man-made in Hill Road,Bandra. It will no longer be a word used to jazz up press releases. Stars of slow fashion,Stella McCartney and Samant Chauhan,will join hands to fight the fraud.

4. Botox,Bollywood and boob jobs will be barred from the Indian catwalk.

5. John Galliano,Rahul Mishra,Marc Jacobs and Abraham & Thakore will give fashion lessons through iPad apps. Galliano will advise on spectacle and incredulity. Mishra on how to wear handwoven Chanderi dresses. Marc Jacobs on why God Created Woman…and the future of the female body in fashion. Abraham & Thakore on rooted,wearable,fuss-free Indian fashion.

6. Nude will no longer be a fabric or cosmetic colour; it will go back to being an adjective. Bajra Gold,Boyfriend Blue, Shaadi Pink,Haldiram Orange and Idli White will be trendy Indian colours.

7. The handloom sari will be worn with the body language of a power suit; the power suit with the cheek of a bikini. Cholis will become bashful and will give the boot to push-up bras. Socialites will wear salwars to Louis Vuitton parties and Sonam Kapoor will play an ageing Mayawati. Ferragamo will do product placements in the film.

8. All designers will answer the phone when Gujarati and Gurmukhi fashion journalists call them. Tarun Tahiliani will host a bash for the Vogue Hindi editorial team.

9. Rhea,Reo,Rudrani,Rithambara and Ram Singh — everyone will be able to afford fashion. The weaver and the wearer will live symbiotically,ever after.

10. Logos will be inscribed on buttons,billed as fashion’s favourite fasteners. “Written into a button is a designer’s DNA. More than any part of a piece,the button is our contact with the hand that made it. When you lose a button,you lose the soul of a garment,” wrote Paula Cocozza. Believe her.

11. Fashion will mean value-for-money clothes in better designs. Not exorbitantly priced kurtis with a little flower here,and a little slit there,that rip at the seams before the first wash. Lack of quality control will be a punishable offence.

12. It will be mandatory for designers to give the geographical denomination of the craft they have used on their garments,instead of a label saying Dry Clean Only.

13. Rohit Bal,the pied piper of Indian fashion,will lead the Nationalist Fashion Movement and make Zubair Kirmani of Kashmir,Jenjum Gadi of Arunachal Pradesh and Imcha Imchen of Nagaland feel at home in the madding crowd.

14. Sabyasachi will work as chief designer,Fabindia. William Bissell will be the Indian government’s advisor on sustainable fashion.

15. Dior will showcase the New,New Look,21st century statement in global fashion and style. The radical collection will be unveiled in New Delhi.

16. Hair colours in orange,red,pink,blue,mahogany,deep-fried blonde and walnut will not be allowed at the workplace. Black-or-go-back would be the office code.

17. Fashion has a soul. In the next decade,it will get a spine. The industry will say “yes” to talent and perseverance and “no” to charlatans and plagiarists who waste time,resources and money trying to be the designers that they are not. Fashion journalists who copy from press releases will be fired.

18. Indian universities will offer PhDs in fashion. It will be serious business and an impossible-to-sideline cultural studies subject.

19. Men (not just the metrosexuals) will be back in fashion. Women in the sexiest of clothes will actually have sex.

20. My blog will be called slapmeifiwriteonfashion.

& The Last Decade

Bling it On
“I am bling,” says designer Raakesh Agarwal. He gives voice to the biggest fashion conspiracy of the last decade: Flash. Make her shine. For she who shines is an Indian.

Loud and Proud
In a decade that saw the mounting and multiplying of fashion weeks,more than 300 new and emerging designers,six international fashion magazines and some of the best homegrown ideas in organic textiles,and global Indian garments,our “loud” alter ego won the screaming match. We were blinged down by our tremendous love for embellishment.

Crystal Daze
No revival,no debut was as momentous as the arrival of Swarovski in 2000. Ten years since,“it’s omnipresent,” says Sanjay Sharma,director of Swarovski Elements. “India was a natural market with a cultural history of adornment. We were here to add,” he says. Austrian crystals rained,and reigned. Shining little stones in 3D,they edged away traditional zari and fine sequins from our desi couture.

Easy on the imagination,crystals are at home on Suneet Varma saris,Tarun Tahiliani’s jewellery,Chhabra 555 lehngas,Kanjeevaram weaves (local weavers buy crystals in bulk),Manish Arora’s Reebok shoes,bathroom tiles,chandeliers,Levi’s jeans,bridal dolis,golf and media trophies and Krishna idols made in Vrindavan. “The recession years were better; Swarovski recorded a double-digit growth in India,” says Sharma.

United we shine
Sindhi and Punjabis love flash most; designers say as much. But don’t be fooled. Dazzle is the glue that bridges the north-south divide. Embellished goods sell in Hyderabad as much as in Ludhiana and Ahmedabad,on Kolkata designer Shantanu Goenka’s garments,as on Gaurav Gupta’s Grecian silhouettes for the Middle East market. “We are because the Sheikhas wear,” says a catty designer.

Trying-to-be-Indian Katrina Kaif loves it as much as NRI Madhuri Dixit. Munni wore it on her choli and Munnabhai as gangsta bling chains. Kimaya stores in Delhi and everywhere else,Manish Market in Mumbai,Nalli Next in Bangalore,or Kumaran Silks in Chennai—it’s the same difference. Glitter helps sell lipsticks and eye shadows too. The truth is we like all that glitters.