Once the pride of a Punjabi wardrobe, phulkari has, over the years, been relegated to just the trousseau. Weddings are perhaps the only places where heirloom odhnis and dupattas now make an appearance. Looking to revive interest in the traditional craft, ‘1469’, a concept brand and well-known art historian and cultural theorist, Alka Pande are coming together to host a Phulkari Mela in Delhi this month. “Phulkari is representative of the cultural identity of Punjab. However, not everyone is aware of its intricate designs and the fact that it is crafted by hand,” says Harinder Singh, Creative Head of 1469.
The last few years has seen the brand work with crafts clusters to revive the art and introduce phulkari dupattas, odhnis and accessories. The fest, says Singh, is an attempt to showcase unique phulkari designs including vintage odhnis, some dating over 150 years old. “Some of the odhnis belong to the brand, while a few have been borrowed from the personal collections of royal families for public viewing,” says Singh. It will include a prized collection from writer Khushwant Singh’s family.
Apart from a showcase of textile and embroideries, the event promises to give a “wide angle” view of Punjab with colourful pakhis (hand fans), madanis (butter churners), tilla juttis (footwear), manjas (village cots) and parandis on display. We’ll toast our lassi glasses to that. The Phulkari Mela will be held from April 11 to 24 at India Habitat Centre, Delhi. Entry is free.