Mickey and Minnie in Mumbai

India's only trained milliner Shilpa Chavan can’t remember much about the time when she was introduced to the world of Disney as a child,but she does recollect how taken in she was by the bows and polka dots of Minnie Mouse.

Written by VIDYA PRABHU | Published:February 27, 2012 12:29 am

Designers Shilpa Chavan and Nitin Bal Chauhan revisit their Disney memories for a special show at the upcoming Lakme Fashion Week

India’s only trained milliner Shilpa Chavan can’t remember much about the time when she was introduced to the world of Disney as a child,but she does recollect how taken in she was by the bows and polka dots of Minnie Mouse. “The image of Minnie — togged out in a dotted skirt and wearing a matching dotted bow on her head — stayed with me,” says the accessory designer,whose label Little Shilpa is a meaningful one in India’s fashion industry. It is also a part of the statement Indian fashion now makes on the global stage.

Delhi-based designer Nitin Bal Chauhan also has several Disney memories. The mere mention of the word Disney instantly takes him back to his drawing class,when he would gladly sketch the outlines of his favourite cartoon characters. “When I wasn’t sketching,I would be reading comic books,” he says.

No wonder then,both Chavan and Chauhan are excited about displaying their collections at the forthcoming edition of the Lakme Fashion Week (LFW),in Mumbai,on March 3. Titled “Disney Couture Presents Memories of Mickey Mouse & Minnie Mouse”,the show will see the two designers reinterpret the timeless appeal of Disney’s most popular characters.

“I have had to scour the recesses of my memory and watch the cartoons again to come up with my own take on the characters. While some of the pieces will bear an obvious allusion,the collection,in its totality,will balance the intense with the playful. I have been inspired not just by the bows and polka dots,but also by the equation between Mickey and Minnie,” says Chavan.

Chauhan,on the other hand,had to unlearn a few things to do justice to his segment of the show. “I have always been known for my edgy creations,but this time around I have toned it down a bit. Since these cartoons have a series of frames running one after the other,I have used multiples of everything: from multiple pockets and seams to multiple collars,hooks and loops. Buttons and polka dots too figure prominently and one of the highlights of the line is a dress made of over 2,000 buttons,” he reveals.

Interestingly,this show also marks Chavan’s new innings as a garment,shoes and bag designer (she has only shown neckpieces and headgears so far). “I couldn’t have chosen a better platform to showcase my apparel,footwear and bags. The collection will have around 18-20 ensembles,with a fair share of gowns and tunics,” she explains. And while her womenswear line mainly uses cotton,lycra,knit and silk,Chauhan’s line — targeted at young men and women in the age group of 18-30 years — will be dominated by denim. “I have added an element of grunge to the collection. It will also use novelty yarn and hand and machine embroidery,” he says.

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