India is on the global radar. India is the “talk of the globe.” India is Conspicuous!
It has gone from being the land of snake charmers, beggars, saffron robed sadhus (hermits) and the home of the “new” 7th wonder of the world, the Taj Mahal, to one of the fastest rising BRIC nations, boasting the top 15 richest people on the Forbes list and having an array of luxury brands forgoing opening stores in U.S. and Europe and courting and serenading India.
The tags have changed from the “third world country” to the “rising super power.” All of a sudden the peaceful yogic and meditative nation has become an exploding power to reckon.
Fashion has come to the forefront with the rise of the middle class and increase in the disposable income. Expedited globalization has increased the awareness quotient for international brands, fashion styles, the “it” bags, shoes etc. There is an exponential growth of the fine taste of luxury.
There is a boom of international brands such as Louis Vuitton who released a special edition Diwali dress to join in the jubilations of the festival of lights; Gucci who came up with a special clutch as the accessory to be carried with the traditional sari; Burberry, Christopher Bailey himself made a recent trip to India for a tete-a-tete with the who’s who of Bollywood; Dior; L’Occitane and of course the very flamboyant Roberto Cavalli to satisfy the ostentatious element of the Indian psyche. After all, what is the point of all the wealth when one can’t flaunt it by wearing a theatrical Cavalli caftan!
Indian designers have jumped on the fast speeding fashion Ferrari as well (no longer the term band wagon can be used for the speeding growth in India.)
Indian designers have made an effort to understand the “international” fashion market. The fashion shows have increased. The fall/winter, spring/summer concepts have been adopted and the runway shows are becoming artistic productions with Bollywood stars being lured to walk the ramp as “show stoppers.” Famous musicians croon in the background in fashion shows as gangly and lanky models with “not so” quintessential Indian features slither on the runway with angry expressions on their faces.
The designers have learnt that they need to veer away from the traditional dresses such as the sari to cater to the global market. They have grasped that they need to make their clothes reach out to the “much enamored by the West” masses of India if they want to compete with the infiltrating international brands.
I understand that change is the essential element for all growth. Stagnancy can only cause decay and eventually death. However, as a much exposed fashion aficionado, I do have a bone to pick with the Indian designers. I understand that they need to compete in the global market and venture outside the customary conventionalism. However, simply aping the West is not the answer either. Because then there is no uniqueness, no originality, no newness. We already have the McQueen, McCartney, Balenciaga and Lanvin, we do not need a clone of them. Anna dello Russo has done the cherry hat a million times, conjure up another accessory! View the photos below, are they reminiscent of looks we may have recently seen…a deja vu, if you will!
There are a few Indian designers who are unique and churn out awe-inspiring designs season after season. They have stayed true to their unique signature designs and incorporated them with modernism for the global appeal. My favorites are Sabyasachi, Masaba Gupta and Anand Kabra.
I perfectly understand that we all seek inspiration from somewhere. Even the masters such as Da Vinci and Michelangelo were inspired by other artists. Nothing wrong with that. Be inspired, but bring your true identity to your designs to make them unique. Especially in fashion, uniqueness is a prerequisite, else it is “mass fashion.”
I am a practicing attorney, who hates law and loves to make fashion statements. I turn heads and raise eyebrows with my sense of style and quirky fashion combination’s. I consider myself a renaissance style woman. I think of styles that I see 5 years down the road from the date of inception in my mind….a sort of a fashion clairvoyant!! I will be putting up many videos so stay with me and there will be a fashion revolution.
Just read a line on style icon Carey Mulligan: “She’s got great taste; carefully avoiding anything above the knee, tight…” Buck, Joan Juliet. “The Talented Miss Mulligan.” Vogue. 2 September 2010. http://www.vogue.com/magazine/article/the-talented-miss-mulligan. 30 September 2010.
As a lawyer, it set the wheels of my analytical legal mind in action as to what exactly is the definition of “good taste.” Is it subjective or objective? Can it be loosely interpreted by each individual’s own sensibilities, or do certain established standards apply to define good taste? Are being sexy and having good taste synonyms, antonyms or both? Is the good taste of one the obscenity of another? After all, there can be art form in pornography as well.
For some, an above-the-knee short (or very short) dress is taste. For others a tight fitting (even better if skin tight) dress is taste. For yet another demographic it’s chest-baring dresses, and for others if a woman wears all the above rolled into one it is the epitome of style and sex appeal. Conversely, for some (not necessarily the puritanical ones) it could have the opposite “turn off” effect.
Believe it or not, there is law on the issue of interpreting what I will call “good taste,” for the purposes of this blog. It is outlined in a 1973 Supreme Court case, Miller v. California. No, I will not belabor you with the case as we are on to something more important and interesting here.
The Court analyzed whether a certain form of art (style/fashion are forms of art) would be offensive to an “average person” applying “contemporary community standards.” I question the test, as the definition of “contemporary community standards” has significantly changed from 1973 to 2010. As a lifelong observer and student of style and fashion I have observed that any style that is not form fitting or body baring to some extent is not appreciated by the “community.” Loose clothing, no matter how stylish, is considered matronly and homely. (Right about now I can hear Stella McCartney, Alber Elbaz and Nicolas Ghesquière scoff!)
As a personal observation, and nothing against the opposite sex, I have noticed the tighter and shorter my clothes are the more admirable glances I get from my darker halves. I could run around in the most stylish and tasteful Balenciaga or Prada dress but somehow fail to pique the interest of men.
So, if we follow the above logic is it appropriate to deduce that our “community standards” adhere to a blatant exhibition of a woman’s curves? Unless a woman succumbs to such exhibitionism will she not be considered stylish? Is that in keeping with “good taste?” Has there been such degeneration in our society that style and taste is all about body-baring sex appeal?
The sad part is that we are talking about “community standards.” Most of us human beings are gluttons for approval and such approval will obviously come from a “community.” And to please that “community” we will continue to comply with the “acceptable standards of the community,” i.e. body baring tight clothing, conformity and lack of imagination!