Save the Day in Style

Comics,cartoons and animation characters are increasingly catching the fancy of the design and beauty worlds

Written by VIDYA PRABHU | Mumbai | Published: June 27, 2013 5:02 am

Anand Bhushan has carved a niche for himself in the fashion industry by using unorthodox material to create textures that offer a modern,edgy take on upscale dressing. What many are not aware of is that the Delhi-based designer is a self-confessed geek,who treasures his comics with passion. “I am a superhero junkie and have been collecting comic books since my childhood days,” he says.

This passion has manifested itself in Bhushan’s Spring-Summer 2013 collection. Showcased at Delhi’s Wills India Fashion Week (WIFW) and titled “Hero”,the line was an ode to Superman,who turned 75 this year. “The idea was to evoke a sense of nostalgia surrounding Superman. I chose to

interpret the superhero through my signature textural format. The sequinned gowns represented both my design philosophy and my fascination with the man of steel,” says the designer. He skipped the obvious red-and-blue reference and instead chose to work around the diamond motif from the Superman logo.

Bhushan may have looked at Superman as a source of inspiration,but comics,cartoons and animation characters,in their original avatars,have increasingly come to influence fashion,beauty and lifestyle today. For instance,check out Disney’s range of clothing and accessories. In the children’s segment,the brand offers a wide variety — right from T-shirts to flip-flops and umbrellas. Designer duo Shantanu and Nikhil Mehra recently designed a Disney-inspired collection for 30 children as part of a campaign.

These characters from popular comics and animation series are no longer restricted to just children’s fashion; adults too can join in the fun. For one,there’s a collection of T-shirts and scarves inspired by characters such as Mickey Mouse,Minnie Mouse,Donald Duck,Goofy and Marvel superheroes,such as Iron Man,Spider-Man,The Avengers and Hulk.

Among the designs that made news last year was an eye-catching limited edition slipper inspired by Cinderella,created by footwear designer Christian Louboutin. Also deserving a mention is the Summer-Resort 2012 edition of Lakme Fashion Week,where a contemporary range of fashion apparel and accessories — inspired by Mickey and Minnie Mouse and designed by Shilpa Chavan and Nitin Bal Chauhan — was showcased.

Roshni Bakshi,Managing Director,Licensing and Retail,Disney UTV,emphasises that their apparel and accessories are customised keeping in mind the tastes and the popularity of the Disney and Marvel characters. “Through our fashion range for different age groups,we give our fans an opportunity to take a piece of their favourite story into their homes,” she says.

Among adults,the T-shirt category is a front runner — a fact also reiterated by the response French Connection has been garnering for its range of tees bearing artwork from DC Comics. Shiraz Bhavnani,who heads marketing for the apparel brand in the country,reveals that their products hold great potential among the 18 to 35 age group. “The response to the Superman tees has been phenomenal. With these launches,we continue to build on our collections of retro-film inspired apparel featuring catchphrases,film logos and original comic book illustrations,” she says.

The new online retail site,planetsuperheroes.com,sells

T-shirts,flip-flops,pyjamas and shorts for men,and tees for women. Their USP is that their products also feature characters such as Bizzaro,the Simpsons,Asterix,Obelix,Spongebob Squarepants and Bugs Bunny. They are now branching out into a children’s line and a range of accessories.

Cosmetic products,too ,are sporting the comic connection — the M.A.C Archies girls’ collection being a case in point. The now sold-out line had colour collections themed around Betty and Veronica. While the former’s segment had soft and innocent shades,the latter boasted of deep and seductive tones. Internationally,too,the British label Rodnik Band has designed a capsule collection featuring Snoopy,

Charlie Brown and the rest of the gang from popular cartoon strip,Peanuts.

Bhushan sums it up best when he says that comics today are more than just entertainment. “The Superman line helped me reconnect with my childhood. I didn’t have the rights to the character,so I went ahead and crafted a fresh take on one of my favourite heroes. After all,who does not like comic heroes?” he says.

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