Fashion takes a walk on the wild side

With batik, geometric, ikat and animal prints in vogue, tribal patterns sure have taken over the urban jungle

Published - May 16, 2014 09:28 pm IST - chennai:

From primitive cultural attires to Spring/Summer 2014 runways, the tribal trend has resurfaced once again. With a variable history that dates back to early centuries, tribal art has underlined its influence in modernism, time and again. This time the influence has been fairly dominant in its sartorial parallels.

After thriving as a major trend in Spring 2012, tribal looks are being interpreted in newer ways for this season. “Currently, the tribal trend is all about modernity. The Spring/Summer 2014 runways exuded free-spiritedness and a non-conformist vibe. The tribal trend that has just come forth is a reflection of that. It has a very resort-wear feel to it. The popularity of the trend, however, also depends on geography and demographics. A certain trend may or may not catch on in a certain region depending on the traditions and customs of that society,” says designer Pria Kataaria Puri, who has frequently incorporated animal prints and bohemian looks into her collections.

The trend has however, been a cardinal part of the Indian culture. Traditional ikat and bandhini prints are all cited as tribal prints and often fused into numerous ethnic looks. Agrees freelance stylist and consultant, Isha Bhansali, “Tribal influences from western India are prevalent in most stores and on catwalks. Rajasthani block prints, for instance, are used generously today. In fact, tribes and gypsies from Kutch and Rajasthan contribute to most of the tribal designs on designer sketches.”

Although, its prominence in Indian culture has been apparent, Indian designers have confined to more experimental renditions of it. Designers at Ankur and Priyanka Modi, for example, exhibited ancient tribal motifs with an architectural touch for their Spring/Summer 2014 show. Likewise, designer Pia Pauro unveiled a mix of African prints with a geometric edge for her latest collection. An amalgamation of ethnicity and modernism was prevalent all over the runway, while conformity took a backseat. “The thumb rule to wearing this trend is wearing it with a hint of novelty. The easiest foray into it would be by mixing a piece from an ethnic outfit with a contemporary one. Bandhini chiffon saris paired with a monochromatic black blouse, or a tribal inspired silk blouse worn with a pair of shorts are ideal ways to begin with. Alternately, if you’re too afraid to experiment with the tribal apparel, add a tribal accessory to your look. Traditional mojris and tribal headgears are perfect accessories to add an instant edge to a monochromatic look,” suggests Puri.

International runways were also very suggestive of innovative styling done with brazen tribal accessories. Brands such as Alexander McQueen and Givenchy presented tribal looks infused with accessories such as tassel bags and unusual chunky leather sandals. But while accessories are a safe way to partake in this trend, it is very easy to go wrong with it. “Tribal trend has been around for so long now that it can be deemed as a classic.

However, tribal prints and motifs are a bold whim to carry. The most typical mistake is overdoing it. A heavy mix of tribal accessories paired with an ostentatious tribal print completely ruins your look. Also, don’t mix your tribes; wear one print at a time. It is easy to get confused with the wide variety of tribal prints available but don’t go overboard. Moreover, try to stick to brighter versions of this trend for summer and keep the darker hues for the winter. Lastly, keep it contemporary and not entirely traditional,” advises Puri.

Bhansali too shares similar views on the subject, “Tribal trend is such that it must be styled wisely and not generously. Team it up with minimal separates to do justice to it.” With the presence of the wide variety in tribal prints such as ikat, Ganado, batik and tapa to name a few, its emergence as a feisty trend isn’t completely surprising. However, its transition from just an ancient tie-dye technique to a staple of consumerist fashion has been nothing less than inspirational.

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