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Updated: December 2, 2009 19:53 IST

A fusion of art and fashion

Madhur Tankha
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To make an unusual fashion statement, Delhi-based designer Nidhi Jain has come out with a brand new winter collection of traditional saris on which pictures of paintings have been aesthetically emblazoned.

As Nidhi wanted her sari collection to be different from what she has done so far, she decided to have a harmonious blend of art, craft and design. The designer first took pictures of paintings made by artist Alka Raghuvanshi, her partner in the latest venture, and then digitally juxtaposed the pictures on saris. This entire exercise took her almost three months to complete.

“I feel you cannot isolate one art form from the other. There is some correlation between art and fashion. Through my new collection I have demonstrated that just as paintings are a visual art form, fashion is a form of aesthetic expression. While the saris in Bhagalpuri, georgette and tussar and raw silk are traditional, the abstract paintings on top of them give them a contemporary look for the modern Indian woman. Besides Alka, I was assisted by my partner Vaishali Jain in this collaboration,” says Nidhi.

The elegance of the Indian sari even in its modern designer avatar has charmed women of all age groups and tastes. “And when a designer sari comes decorated with art, it becomes a heirloom of everlasting beauty,” she adds.

“Extending Metaphors” pays tribute to Indian weavers and craftsmen. It will showcase the saris at a fashion show at The Claridges here this coming Thursday. The defining moment of the show will be the grand finale in which celebrities from different walks of life like Anjolie Ela Menon, Jaya Jaitley, Sharon Lowen, Shovana Narayan and Sushma Seth would sashay down the ramp to the accompaniment of live Hindustani classical music recital. All of them will be draped in handloom saris that have been hand-embroidered by karigars.

There will also be an exhibition of nearly 20 paintings by Alka Raghuvanshi which will later be displayed at a one-month show at Gallery Ragini in Lado Sarai beginning this coming Saturday.

When Nidhi Jain floated her fashion label with Vaishali almost a decade ago, their first collection together was also of saris. Their desire to recreate the timeless drape in various contemporary avatars remains unchanged. “We look at the sari as the epitome of femininity and hope that it will continue to find a place in the wardrobes of future generations as well. It is our duty to preserve and pass on our rich heritage and culture, our textiles and most importantly our regional art to the next generation,” she says.

Alka Raghuvanshi says the artists and designers play a distinctive role by going beyond the conventional art forms and supporting contemporary design. “The handloom sector in our country employs about 40 million people and the unstitched garment is as much a part of the cultural fabric as it is a part of the attire of people,” she says.


The lure of the sariDecember 2, 2009

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