Playlist November 2012

This one is for you, heart. Going to put you in slumber with these songs. 
Take some rest and wake up to a new tomorrow. 

Bad Religion by Frank Ocean

Pursuit of Happiness by Kid Cudi feat. MGMT

Heartless by (cover) The Fray
Bad Girl by Devendra Banhart

Blue Skies by Noah and the Whale

Daughter by Pearl Jam
River by Joni Mitchell
Go Do by Jónsi
I can’t make you love me by Bon Iver
Never change by Jay-Z

Akaaro by Gaurav Jai Gupta | Fall Winter 2012

wool sleeves with sparkle woven inside

winter winds

Its that time of the year. When you want to spend every breathing moment inside a mammoth blanket. you breathe with mouth open so breath exhaled warms the tip of the nose. copious amount of hot water with tea/coffee/anything to have variation in water taste, is consumed. The vicks vaporub is in arms distance. at all times. you want to eat anything and everything right from the fryer. you watch popular television shows with cheery people celebrating much worse winter while singing, eating and giving each other gifts. effing cold. wool sure is an upside. And can now finally wear the new buys. Just don’t expect me to fashion them outside my blanket. 

(clockwise from top left corner) wool choker from rajasthan; hand knit wool socks; winter green oil from Kerala ‘for quick relief from pain’; Maroon nail enamel, natural color lambs’ wool shawl from Himachal; striped wool socks; some kind of green tea from Korea; Ladies Coupe by Anita Nair to accompany my single-lady heart.

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House of Péro

There are many moments in fashion that get me excited. Most are revolved around meeting people who are deeply absorbed in creation and passionate about their craft. Speaking of craft and passion, Péro is a young brand that has made a name for itself because of their clear ideology and design directions.  “At péro we believe in the organic evolution of design through experimenting with traditional techniques and locally available skills.” reads the Spring-Summer 2013 note. The clothes are an amalgamation of different skill sets mostly form India, taking design inspirations from what is seen on the streets and villages.
This post is about spending a day with the founder and creative head of Péro – Aneeth Arora. A graduate of NID Ahmedabad and NIFT Mumbai, more than a fashion designer Aneeth is also an anthropologist in my opinion. Her knowledge of the local crafts and Indian cultural references makes you want to live in her world and soak in the vast education. The first time I came to know more about the brand was when I was covering the British Council Awards for HT newspaper and Aneeth was awarded 2011’s Young Creative Fashion Entrepreneur. Her designs are creative, but also make a viable business model that gives steady income to local artisans and women who work from home in their villages.
Below is a post done in collaboration with photographer Zacharie Rabehi who has travelled in remote locations within India to shoot humankind. Though he has not shot “fashion” before, his portrait images of the Gujarati and Rajasthani people made it clear that the patterns, textures and organic fabrics of Péro by Aneeth Arora would be captured well by him. Below are a series of photographs shot by Zacharie at Aneeth’s home and work place. 

Aneeth lives walking distance from her studio and prefers to make tea and serve food herself with no help. Today the lunch was idli and sambhar prepared by her south indian cook in the morning.

(Left) Her fridge is covered by memorabilia from her travels and images of her friends shot on polaroid. (Right) The coats rack was seen on one of her shows at Wills Fashion Week where models dressed themselves with an outer layer on stage right before walking on the runway.

Aneeth collects glass bottles. wine bottles, jars, perfume bottles and even a lone Thumbs Up in the mix.

Numerous books cover the living rooms in her home. Mostly about art, textiles, jewelery, craft and cultures. 

Twin persian cats have found a cosy nook in the apartment, which is upholstered with hand patterned fabrics -some which are left over from past collections. 

Our next move was to her studio where Aneeth meets her clients and buyers. There is a rack of kidswear ‘Chota péro’ facing the rack for womenswear neatly organized for a client who was to visit the same day.

Collection from SS12 which had bright colors and mini floral motifs. Transcended here for the kids’ line. 

The Fall Winter 2012 collection was a favourite and could be seen on manequins at high end fashion boutiques like Ogaan right now. Notice the trademark red heart on the jacket sleeve which makes an appearance on all Pero ready-to-wear garments. 

Péro’s first runway collection shown at Lakme Fashion Week as part of the ‘GenNext’ show got a lot of attention from media and critics. Here are a pair of shorts shown at the show inspired by the boxer shorts. 

Aneeth chooses to have an extra stock of hand woven and printed fabrics in her storage from previous collection. As the winner of Vogue’s Fashion Fund, which she was awarded earlier this year, she will be designing a high-street collection for Westside. A treat for Péro fans since the fabrics will still be organic and from Aneeth’s stock rather than synthetic which high street shops usually use to lower costs. 

 Aneeth’s NID Diploma project was surprisingly with a paper company where she developed paper products made using textile weaving techniques. Another book she presented in NID was a thorough research analysis on the N-East people and culture titled The Monpas and the Sherdukpens’. This book takes you through a complete journey through the homeland of these tribes – from the food they eat to the hand crafts they make. 

This shot was especially close to Zacharie who had conceptualized it after going through her work online, before even meeting Aneeth. 

péro’s attention to the details is well crafted and not just by accident. Each garment bought will have her signature red heart, made-in-India tag, and text on cardboard letting the customer in on the conceptualization of the piece. 

I am super privileged to have Aneeth stitch a Cow(!) herself for me with a hand stitched initials of ‘péro for lovestruckcow’ !

Zacharie got a heart stitched on his sleeve as well. He promised to bring his wife shopping to péro real soon. 

Aneeth in her vintage red ambassador with red heart helium balloons – idea by her talented friend Imcha Imchen. 

Modeled by an 8 months old potential chota péro fan. 

‘péro’ literal meaning is ‘to wear’ in Marwari. The garments seen on the hanger or on the runway models entice you to wear them yourself. Her style is easy and tailored perfectly for the modern gypsy. Well ‘gypsy’ only because you like to collect things from the past and pick up different items from the places you visit. Because you want your clothes to reflect an idea which is more than something ‘shiny and tight’. péro clothes are far from costumey or tribal. The techniques are handpicked and put together in a way that could be worn in Europe (and most are) or to a religious place in India. This is one name that will only grow bigger and make us prouder to be Indian. 

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photographs by Zacharie Rabehi –

wear to work

Like the photo story shot by photographer Shovan Gandhi and stylist Rin Jajo. Pick up Caravan Style and Living from stands to see in print. A clean layout with a simple and clear concept. Just the kind of photo stories I like to flip through in a magazine. 

complete story Caravan Style & Living issue 

Shillong Fashion Week Dairy #1

There was a lot to look forward to as we drove up to Shillong for the fashion week. Most of the designers and models from Delhi and Mumbai who were participating had never been to the North-east before let alone Meghalaya. The excitement was already palpable at the airport in Delhi as everyone checked in, despite the early flight. I for one, was going back to Shillong after a visit about 15 years ago and was excited to see how it had fared after all these years.

Shillong is one of the most cosmopolitan cities in the North-east. Apart from the dominant Khasi and Garo tribes, there is a rich mix of Bengalis, Anglo-Indians and migrants from neighbouring states. It is well known as an educational hub in the region with a number of boarding schools and colleges. In the 1970s, Shillong witnessed the courtships of innumerable college-going aunts and uncles in our big extended family, and any mention of the city is always with a tinge of nostalgia.

After a bumpy ride and a steady climb from Guwahati airport, we were in for a pleasant surprise when we reached the Orchid Lake Resort, where we were put up. Built on the shores of the Umiam Lake or Barapani as it is locally known, the resort has a series of two storied cottages, with an expansive view of the lake from every room. The inspiring view coupled with pleasant weather over the next few days made the stay exceedingly blissful. The staff at the resort were commendable in their service apart from making us feel genuinely welcome.

Some glitches aside, the first day of the fashion week took off with shows by Rakesh Agarwal, Bung by Bung, Senti Nongrum, Heritage Mizoram, Magic N, Chandrani Singh Flora, Sophia M Sangma and Jenjum Gadi. While Rakesh Agarwal and Jenjum Gadi showed edited versions of their WLIFW collections, the designers from the region showcased collections based on different influences and inspirations. Senti Nongrum used traditional weaves from Nagaland and Meghalaya to create contemporary silhouettes. Sophia M Sangma took it a step further by mixing traditional elements and using it with other fabrics to create some unique and wearable pieces. Magic N also presented different versions of the traditionally worn sarong, following a mainly floral theme and pairing them with blouses. That it was an exciting showcase of regional talent was apparent, since the more traditional outfits met with noticeably more appreciation from the show-goers.

I had managed to get a peek of the venue earlier in the day, having been driven to the NEHU campus from the resort. The auditorium at the university had been done up much in the style of fashion weeks elsewhere in the country. It speaks a lot for the organizers to have pulled off something of that scale. I also spent a couple of hours thereafter walking in Police Bazaar, one of the main markets in Shillong. Durga Puja being a big festival in the city, I had to navigate through hordes of festive shoppers. The city doesn’t seem to have changed much except for the now perennial traffic jams.

The second day witnessed the collections of Urvashi Kaur, Anand Bhushan, Rapbor, Elizabeth Marbaning, Amoii, Gaurav & Ritika and Nachiket Barve. I’ll save details of the shows for a latter post which will be coupled with backstage images. Anand Bhushan, Gaurav & Ritika and Nachiket Barve also showed edited versions of their WLIFW collections. Elizabeth Marbaning showed an extensive collection of the traditional Khasi garment called the Jainsem, amidst loud applause. Moii showed a mostly contemporary collection with some on-trend pieces that were quite appreciable.

While there were obviously marked differences in the collections between the established designers and regional ones in terms of concept and presentation, it gave everyone involved an equal platform to showcase their interpretation of fashion. What was exciting was that this platform also allowed for an exchange of ideas and experiences that wasn’t just limited to the participating designers, but also involved the people of the region. There were different levels of interaction and in that lies the importance and relevance of the event.

Speed boats moored on the shores of Umiam Lake 

Shoreline of Umiam Lake

The auditorium in NEHU

Mizo model Mami in a Raakesh Agarvwal ensemble.

Raakesh Agarvwal’s line up

Model Lekha in Bung by Bung
Naga model Ketho in Senti Nongrum

Magic N 

The finale by Gaurav & Ritika
The finale by Nachiket Barve
Report and images by Rin Jajo


Another new place visited this year was Hyderabad. Had read about it in history books in school and since having started writing for the Hyderabad daily ‘Post Noon’, become further more curious to know about the city. 

Anand Kabra, a young designer based out of Hyderabad, a month ago had shown a Spring Summer 2013 collection conceptualized after the singer-dancer Taramati. Taramati was a courtesan who had won the heart of king Abdullah Qutub Shah (the 7th Sultan of the Golconda) and used to perform at the still existing open pavilion located in Hyderabad called the ‘Taramati Baradari’. Kabra’s collection takes you back to the courtesan’s world. Using the same arches and inlay tile patterns from the baradari on the fabrics, the inlay tiles used as a print, jali cutwork onto jackets… just a close attention to his details and Taramati’s tale was clear. 

We also went to the Golconda Fort which was built in the 16th century. It took 100+ years to build the entire place, which means 2 ruling kings didn’t even get to see the finished fort in their lifetime. It is strange but such old relics and buildings are free for visitors to walk on, touch, jump on etc. It is a privilege to have no holds bar access, but sometimes people decide to scribble, pee and spit at these sites which will not let these monuments last much longer. Ofcourse, the fort is stripped down of all its jewels and ornamentations. Was told that in the area surrounding the fort where new houses have been built are proud owners of a wall fixture or two of the fort’s etched stones. Would like to see the Antique Roadshow to travel down here and blow brains up. 

Also visited the Chowmahal which is in better care. Could be two reasons – it is privately owned by the Nizam’s first wife, and it is available to lease as banquet hall for balls, parties etc. The engravings and arches are quite different from the ones in Rajasthan palaces. The art is Persian/ Iranian in nature and thus the difference. 

 The royal family diamonds and stones might no longer be in Hyderabad, but the clothes were on display. 

The Falaknuma Fort is another gem to visit. Now run by Taj hotels as a five star property, one can visit if staying as a guest or going to their coffee shop for a meal or high tea. We squeezed in a high tea and experienced a regal treatment in a quiet palace. Everything was spick and span as only recently it has been renovated. Was recommended to see the sunset Quwalli session at the balcony which was an A+! The balcony oversees the cityscape and the music was enthralling. The best talents are the local ones. Opt for Nizam high tea over English tea I say.

some images by Patricia Feria