INDIAN WOMEN ENJOY THEIR FEMININITY AND TAKE PLEASURE IN DRESSING UP
India fever fits the fashion ramps of Paris this spring as the house of Christian Dior uses India as their muse. Their spring-summer collection carries an 'Indian patchwork' line. Dior's interpretation of India features liberal use of phulkari, batik, mirrors and aari embroidery for their T-shirts and jackets, and the bags come with ambis embossed on them. Even the colours reflect a very 'desi' sensibility – hot pinks, mustards and soft greens.
The iconic Christian Dior bracelet now has ghungroos, as do their stilettos. Bulky silver payals and baalis accessorise the look, which is very eclectic, very chic.
Rajasthani design and sensibility play a major part. The piece de resistance has to be the 'surya skirt' that looks like my mother's saris torn up and artfully stitched back together to form a sensual and elegant skirt.
Galliano is credited with infusing Dior with an inherently sexy, sophisticated audacity, a glamorous street style that appeals to a younger clientele. Nicole Kidman and Kate Moss are fans; Gwen Stefani wore a Galliano-for-Dior dress for her wedding. Last year, Dior chose the allure of Egypt as a precursor to his designs; this year it's India's sensuality. Dior has entered the Indian market with its accessories and perfumes.
Why did you choose India as your inspiration? How were the designs researched?
Last year I went on a magical trip to India and just about everything I saw there captured my imagination and the country surprised me with its abundant and majestic beauty full of hidden treasures. When I travel for my research trips we make sure to capture every moment on either photo or on film. On our return to Paris we put it all together in the form of scrapbooks, images of everything from people in the streets, magical evenings of traditional dance, a wedding ceremony, even down to a close up of the hand-painted toenails of an elephant.
What is the appeal of Indian clothes? What distinguishes them from western design?
I love their lightness and the wonderful mix of colours, they are extremely feminine. As opposed to western design, Indian creations are for a much warmer climate, but aside from that, they belong to a culture that approaches life in a different way to the west. What struck me on my trip was that the people are always smiling and seem happy most of the time. This positive attitude is reflected in the clothes, jewellery and make up. Indian women enjoy their femininity and take pleasure in dressing up.
Do you like any particular designer's work?
I quite simply fell in love with the traditional sari designs that I saw in boutiques. I saw some really extraordinary ones, with the most incredible embroideries, made up of the finest silks, fantastic craftsmanship.
Do Indian clothes have a worldwide appeal?
In today's modern global world, all cultural specialities have their own place and as people travel, more ideas move around the globe and infuse themselves into various cultures, be it in food, music or clothing. Hence, I believe that the sari, perhaps impractical for Western weather and daily lifestyle, still makes women dream. And the process is reversed as the young generation of Indian designers are influenced by Western clothing and incorporate that into their designs.
Dior has not entered the Indian market yet. Can we see a Dior sari in the future?
Dior has been slowly expanding its line of boutiques. Six years ago we had less than 10 principle stores worldwide, today we have 159, so don't worry, we'll get there! I think I should leave the sari to my Indian counterparts. But one should never say never.