Whether it was Sahib Jan played by Meena Kumari in Kamal Amorhi’s unforgettable Pakeezah or Umaro Jaan by the lithe-footed Rekha, the tales of unrequited love and courtesans have lived on in our collective memories. It is this ethos that gets recreated through Tarun Tahiliani’s ode to the woman, who dances despite the deep pain that will reside in her heart forever.
By Asmita Aggarwal
The fresh smell of Jasmine flowers, a vintage chandelier, rows of crystals and Manjari Chaturvedi’s kathak performance made Tarun Tahiliani’s show a fitting homage to a line seeped in the era of the courtesans.
The red roses in the hair complemented the delicacy of Chantilly lace as the ramp was awash with ready to wear couture which included a muted palette of beige and chikankari as gotta patti on gossamer duppattas and saris took us down memory lane. Jaali-like blouses, mirroring an era where art and music formed an upbringing based on tehzeeb, the subtle sheen that the velvet embroidered borders on saris exuded to the rusted orange sherwanis, each ensemble was synonymous with vibrancy and soaked in detail.
The creative stimuli was provided by the asymmetrical Benerasi brocade lehengas, draped to perfection which came armed with beaded tassels. And the innovation was the discovery and modernisation of the brave, newsharara which was less wider, more taller, transparent and came in everyone’s favourite hue charcoal black. Meena Kumari’s Pakeezah- style short and fitted kurtas with gotta bordered shararas slowly emerged accessorised withbajubands, maang tikkas and elaborate necklaces.
Baby pinks, washed down greens, ink blues to glimmering silver and gold touches and deep blacks were given a touch of luxury through glittering emerald safa pins, gold jhumkis and diamond brooches.
The play this time at couture week is on the backs and shoulders with the latter becoming the canvas. Dropped to off shoulder cholis have found favour along with interesting backs—-dipped, heart shaped to squares, with tie back details.
There was a smattering of traditional zardosi, but it remained restrained, while sitara and tilla work took centerstage, as Tarun created the mood with mother-of-pearl, sparkling crystals as tulle veils observed convention on the superlative footwork of the veteran danseuse.