October 16, 2020 Asmita Aggarwal

No ‘Skirting’ the Issue

Shimmering men, peasant dresses, love for black, and the OG Ravi Bajaj crooning Rafi saheb’ssongs…perfect batter for a delicious serving

By Asmita Aggarwal

Once upon a time, there was a little boutique maybe on the second or third floor, in South Extension market, late 80s and early 90s, which boasted of the latest fashion. No one knew a certain Ravi Bajaj, now a name to reckon with, then one of the pioneers of the fashion world. He offered both genders bespoke clothes in a largely ‘neighbourhood tailor driven market’.

So it is great to see almost 30 years later, the veteran himself back in action, donning a sharply tailored monochromatic suit, bow tie, Woody Allen-esque glasses, salt and pepper moustache in place, crooning Rafi saheb’s songs to a devoted audience.

Honestly, could you have asked for more? Digital format really is the mother of invention, because Bajaj was not just having a lot of fun, but also driving home the point that ‘glamour isn’t buried, my friends, it is here to stay, so enjoy it”! It is there, omnipresent, not in 60 ml doses, but reduced to 30 ml.

His slinky, slithering saris with backless, V-shaped and pearl encrusted strap blouses and beaded bustiers along with Mumtaz-style saris in salmon pink reminded you of the 60s and 70s heroines, who had the power to beseech you with just a flutter of their winged-eyelined peppers. And if this wasn’t enough Badan pe sitare was not just a song playing in the background, it met its match on the antique set Bajaj created complete with a model dressed in a shining sari taking you down memory lane when the inimitable Shammi saheb and his crazy hair flipping all over was chasing Vijayantimala on a night out.

Known for his menswear, Bajaj came from an era when fashion was a reserve of a few enchanted souls, who never had to hustle for seats, in simpler times, when social media wasn’t the game changer, just trusted writing pads were enough.

It was a day of interesting wonders! What happens when after a long lull, the proud owner of a six pack opens a show, in a shiny jacket, rather carelessly slung over his broad shoulders? Well, for starters, it must have made millions of us smile, and second it made sure that shimmer is no longer a preserve of women. Siddartha Tytler’s love for all things shimmering came through his Ss’21 line, with his new-age lehengas, minus the usual zardosi, but with a new-age metallic patina.

His double shaded jackets, with bold, embroidered motifs, sheer lilac shirts, including the adventurous rani pink sherwanis, elaborate headdresses, skirted men and angel wings made sure, gender lines were blurred. The fabric manipulations were interesting and so were the use of graphics, black seemed to be his colour of choice, as it gave him a wider playground to experiment with craft artistry.

They say time and tide can alter your thinking process and so do experiences. The designer who is back, after a hiatus, making her presence felt rather strongly, in New York, Ranna Gill, was once a catwalk regular. Her tasselled peasant tops were a closet staple for her loyal fans, and this time too she set the mood with her free falling dresses and ‘feathery eyes’.  Roomy kaftans and tiered dresses in mocha, cinched at the waist complete with multicoloured thread work serenaded a global customer, who is choosing freedom over constriction. And please, don’t miss the matching masks, the latest must-have accessory.


(11)-27-09-20-Ranna Gill

Trained by the master himself YSL, Suneet Varma this time round, made a 360 degree turn, with a line that channelled his love for ‘less’, not excess. Fashion has made everyone sit up, think and strategise, which is the only way to forward march.

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