From the Taj Mahal, Shekhawati, Qutab Minar to the banks of the river Sabarmati and the historic Port Jail in Goa, the FDCI has effortlessly paid a tribute to traditional techniques, by synchronizing them with presentations at unforgettable heritage sites.
By Asmita Aggarwal
There is a certain magic that Rahul Mishra seems to imbue in each of his presentations, especially when he elevates the spectrum with a 300-year-old haveli tucked away in Madawa, Rajasthan. The age-old structure in Shekhawati was just one of the many attempts of juxtaposing heritage with ancient crafts that the country is famed for. The couturier in 2021, when the pandemic had dampened our spirits, made us feel the beats of Faiz’s unforgettable Urdu couplets in his line “Kamkhab”.
This is one of the many brilliant showcases that have been an integral part of the Fashion Design Council of India’s journey to intermingle culture and vintage processes. The fashion film captures the intricate detailing on wooden doors faded by time, but still standing tall in the eye of adversity and facing the onslaught of the unstoppable hands of the moving clock.
Rahul’s vivacious florals, embroidered swans, met with the imposing carved pillars, roomy hallways, as the dimmed frescos, remind us of an era gone by. The geometry in the structure, was seen on Mishra’s fishtail gowns, tapered lehengas, soothing icy blue saris, he didn’t forget to pay homage to the 40 feet tall peepal tree, brought to life, as well as his muse Jayati Bose, taking us on a trip to memory lane.
Qutab Minar-Rohit Bal
The sandstone minaret dating back to 1129 AD witnessed a confluence of red roses, the iridescent voice of Shubha Mudgal, and the delicious looking Arjun Rampal dressed in classic Jodhpurs by Rohit Bal. The FDCI grand finale in 2015 was a fitting tribute to the imposing structure known to be built over four centuries, and is the tallest brick monument. The monochromatic visualisation with men in skirts, bold flowers on full length lehengas, as well as the ramp lit with old world chandeliers seemed to create a mood for grandeur, as the moonlit night met with marble toned angarakhas, his signature, at this UNESCO heritage site standing tall at 240 feet.
Sardar Patel Memorial-Khadi show
The “Huts to High Street” showcase could not have found a more suitable showstopper than the quintessential fashionista Sonam Kapoor. The Sardar Patel Memorial, built in 1622 by Shah Jahan, Ahmedabad on the banks of the Sabarmati River, saw a melange of ensembles by three gurus known for romancing intricate embroideries, Rajesh Pratap Singh, Rohit Bal, and Anamika Khanna.
The Mughal architecture, is a befitting tribute to the iron man of India; the FDCI enlivened it with live music by Kutle Khan and his troupe adding flavour with Bulleh Shah’s poetry serenading the audience, with khadi at the core of the presentation.
Weekend with Dapper men-Goa
The FDCI India Men’s Weekend has all the trapping of an everlasting memory—a luxury yacht, the ramp on the sea, and the heritage venue Port and Jail Complex, Sinquerim, Goa held in January 2023. The 17th-century Portuguese-era structure is a showcase of Goa’s freedom struggle, and those who fought against British rule were jailed there. The fort was originally constructed in 1612 to guard against the Dutch through the sea route. Could there be a better venue than the one overlooking the Arabian Sea?
Abhishek Gupta, Abraham and Thakore, Arjun Khanna, Ashish N. Soni, J J Valaya, Manoviraj Khosla, Rajesh Pratap Singh Rohit Gandhi + Rahul Khanna, Shantnu and Nikhil, Varun Bahl, showcased their new-age collections displaying how modern men have embraced the spirit of abandon and are now intrepid shoppers.S & N offered Retro varsity jackets, sweatshirts, while Ashish Soni, announced the arrival of colour through canary yellow and blazing reds. Mumbai-based veteran Arjun Khanna recycled vintage textiles, as an ode to the venue of the show, which has also been renovated recently to give tourists a sneak-peak of the untamed citadel. Thus, old US army Camo uniforms with hand painted nose art (used on bomber planes in the 50s), were revived by the designer. From gender neutral clothing which was watched in rapt attention by a discerning audience, to Varun Bahl bomber and biker jackets with recycled patchwork, it was a show that combined architecture accentuated by the Mandovi river, the impressive lighthouse casting a shadow on the ramp leading to the vastness of the sea beneath it!
Real Currency-Anamika Khanna
Imagine a 200-year-old Currency Building in Dalhousie, restored with its staggering wrought iron gates, eye-catching brick arches and dramatic Venetian windows seeing artisanal creations by the queen of detail Anamika Khanna. The FDCI brought metaphysical sparkle to the three-storied work of art built in 1833 when Lord William Bentinck was the Governor General. Smriti Z Irani graced the show as the Textile Ministry’s “Artisan Speak” outreach initiative, paid a quiet tribute to handlooms and invisible warriors behind the weaves on January 7, 2019. The designer combined the hues of ivory, indigo, black, silver and gold, with jute and khadi.
Monument of Love:
Always channelling a larger-than-life theme, this time the husband-wife duo known to have dressed a bevy of Hollywood sizzlers, including Paris Hilton, outdid themselves with a film paying tribute to Taj Mahal. Dating back to 1628, love transcends all boundaries when Shah Jahan immortalised his beloved Mumtaz in this pristine white mausoleum, with Persian influences. The same were replicated in spirit on Bollywood dreamboat Shraddha Kapoor as red signalled the return to tradition mimicking the structures red sandstone gateway. But convention was bridged with a twist in the tale—the dupatta replaced by veils and trials. The delicate inlay of lapis lazuli, crystals, and pearls in the marbled wonder, saw an intricate representation through the embellishments, intermingled with faux feathers and French lace in this 2019 campaign. Love really is…when glamour meets luxury in a wind caressed fishtail embroidered lehenga!