Is Fashion Worth It?

Gaurav Gupta is strongly influenced by anti fashion and avant garde movements on clothing and style.

Written by Shefalee Vasudev | Published: April 20, 2012 5:50 pm

“Unfashion,” reminded designer Gaurav Gupta yesterday,“was one of the most important fashion movements of the world.” He studied at Central St Martins,London and is strongly influenced by anti fashion and avant garde movements on clothing and style. As Unfashion,a new,fast,furious and hopefully fiery blog that takes wings today,I do want to add that Unfashion as interpreted from me,is not an underdog’s view of the fashion world. It will focus on the underbelly now and then but largely it is about both–those who vye and defy. It upholds street fashion triumph as much as a couture mistake.

Let’s begin with an Unfashion question that stung me yesterday. Tina Malhotra,who owns Evoluzione,one of India’s most well curated fashion store (Delhi,Bangalore and its founding branch at Chennai) hosted a brunch for her clients and designer friends in Delhi yesterday. At her posh store at Kila in Mehrauli,the garments were a superbly selected procession,carefully dressed for the curious and serious buyers. The smart thing the hosts had done (the brunch was jointly hosted by a couple of designers and Gaurav was one of them) was to have a few models walking around the guests wearing designs from the new,Spring Summer collections. I found Anamika Khanna’s line stunning. Likewise a sari by Gaurav,an arresting aqua green creation,completely diaphanous with a long sleeved chiffon blous (also diaphanous). The chiffony blouse had embroidery on its wrists and the entire back of the see through blouse was intricately embellished with silver embroidery. It was worn with a lycra petticoat with a little slit that you could see and I found the entire styling very effective. The model,to add to the sensousness wore red eye shadow. But I am getting carried away. Let me return to Anamika’s collection to make my point. It had the riotous statement only intricate craft can make with colours and ideas that merged as if there had been a cloudburst of unedited thoughts. Anamika is India’s Dries Van Noten and that’s the best way to describe her.

Everything in her line was priced above Rs 60,000! These were sets of course,not separates and too beautiful for me to describe. But the middle class and logical question nevertheless came up in my head: why does designer wear cost so very much? I asked Gaurav Gupta as he sat alongside doing his guest list for the Wills fashion week that starts this afternoon. People have too much money I added a bit put off. Yes,I can see the craft and the embroidery,the dexterity and the yards of fabric that creates these wondrous garments but sixty K for a churidar kameez?! Oh and yes,I also remember that a designer is an artist,a creator and must charge for design.

“You don’t get it. No one charges for talent or design,” said Gaurav. “The best fabric costs from Rs 300 to Rs 3000 per metre. The hemming and stitching is so fine on our garments that you can’t point out a stitch. The cut is impeccable. There are karigars involved and tailors too,besides a chain of people who make a garment a success,” he added turning upside one of his chiffon saris to show me what he was saying. “The zari we buy is five times superior to what you will see on cheap and so called affordable clothing. Then there is the promise of the brand,which means not one seam should ever come apart as long as you wear and want the garment,” he said turning apologist for his fraternity.

It was a sobering lecture,I admit and corrected my repetitive presumptions. And while I am going to tell you more about Gaurav’s peculiar evolution and growth as a fashion thinker and designer who has found the quivering pulse of the Indian market,let me say he makes sound sense.

Does this mean all designer wear is excellent quality fabric,pure and superior zari and faultless stitching? Oh no. There are hundreds of designers (if not more) in the Indian market who make sub standard stuff and rescue their mediocrity or attempt to by calling themselves “designers”. Mediocre and poorly finished designer wear is a reality,a bigger reality than Anamika Khanna’s stunning craft and Gaurav’s chic Grecian saris. From this afternoon,while I tell you about collections,celebrities,front row memsahibs throwing mini and major tantrums,I am also going to keep an eye on finishing,value for money and value for design. Gaurav’s rant has alerted me. Watch this space.

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