By: Kimi Dangor
French-Malian designer Mossi Traoré and Chinese designer Zhen Wei, the two halves of Paris-based label Zhen & Mossi, are all set to make their debut at Lakme Fashion Week (LFW) at the event’s Summer/Resort 2014 edition (March 12-16), bringing their “luxury ready-to-wear” line to India. Founded in 2011, the duo will present their spring-summer collection at LFW, inspired by the wonders of the sea and its natural riches. It will play upon soft sheers and pleats in mineral shades, with a generous dose of embroidery, crystals and pearls.
And while Traoré, 28, hopes to dress a Bollywood beauty in their threads very soon, Wei, 30, is looking forward to discovering “the country’s major embroiderers”. We spoke to Traoré about Zhen & Mossi’s Indian fashion foray. Edited excerpts:
What is your design philosophy?
Our brand can be articulated in four words: fashion, art, crafts and the world. Our concept of haute couture is for everyday fashion, chic and choc.
You come from two very different cultural backgrounds — Malian and Chinese — and are based in Paris. How does that influence your work?
Our brand is a cultural marriage, which was born in Paris, but it is not limited to our respective origins. On the contrary, we are open to the world; each collection is a journey through space, time and culture. Patience, our different social lifestyles, cultures and our arguments have become our core strengths in creation.
What prompted you to bring your label to India?
India is a special country to me. It is my “Mother India”. I am not only passionate about Indian culture, but am also moved by the people who are warm and generous. I grew up around Indian cinema and the first movie I watched at home was a Danny Denzongpa film. And all Malians are familiar with the film Disco Dancer.
Bollywood rocked my childhood. I have a collection of around 200 movies and I have seen them all. Bollywood is my drug. The sari inspires me the most and I especially dream of dressing Indian women. Participating in LFW was a crucial dream when I was a student. In 2008, I promised myself not to trim my hair till I dress a Bollywood star — I hope Kajol, Aishwarya Rai (Bachchan) or Deepika Padukone will soon bring me a pair of scissors.
Does India or any aspect of its culture inspire your work?
India is incredible and full of cultural diversities and our brand gains divine inspiration from around the world. India is a shelter for all those artists seeking freedom in art — whether in its streets, songs or dances. Even the colours spread fresh inspiration in the air.