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Anju Modi's Draupadi fuses ethnic designs, western cuts

New Delhi, August 1 : Delhi Couture Week (DCW) 2013 had an interesting start - if Sabyasachi Mukherjee's collection had historical influence, designer Anju Modi, who opened the fashion extravaganza, narrated a fascinating anecdote from "Mahabharata" through her collection themed Draupadi, one of the main protagonists in the epic.


Modi, known for her exquisite designs and resplendent embroideries, tried to recreate the "Mahabharata" era on stage Wednesday. Dressed as Draupadi, Bollywood actress Tabu walked the ramp as showstopper.

The show began with a spectacular performance by a Bangalore-based dance troupe.

"I wanted to create a film set on the ramp. There was dance, drama, action and emotion. It's not just about showcasing your collection, it's also about creating something larger than life. To clear the concept and theme of the show, I invited a Bangalore-based dance troupe which enacted the whole act," said Modi.

Modi's creations, a perfect blend of Indian and western silhouettes for men and women, boasted Victorian fashion.



The men's collection comprised of stylish Nehru collar kurtas embellished with varied motifs.

If Khadi kurtas with extensive detailing and western cuts caught attention, embroidered shawls impressed too. Modi's creation - flowy skirts paired with kurtas imitating "Maharaja" look - can set the next big trend in menswear.



In short, it seemed men's outfits were directly taken out from an emperor's wardrobe.

"Men are experimenting with their looks and apparels. So, I have created bold and sophisticated outfits inspired from the rulers' dresses of that time. The outfits are embellished with varied motifs like bird cages, peacocks, elephants, arrows and Arjuna's as it signifies power and strength," said Modi.

However, while designing outfits she keep the wearability factor in mind.

"I wanted to create outfits that are wearable and at the same time symbolic and philosophical. I have created bandhgalas, used pashmina shawls embellished with Kashmir embroidery and styled with a belt. Fashion interpretation - that's what is the job of designers," she added.



The women's collection included lehengas and anarkalis in varied subtle shades like ivory, off white, rust, ash grey, indigo blue and brutal maroon because the designer feels brides are opting light-weight and sophisticated attires.

Full sleeves blouses with western cuts and shoulder jackets enhanced the overall look of the outfit and left little scope for skin show.

"I have mainly used organic fabrics like pure cotton and khadi. In some of the creations, I have used chanderi and raw silk. The fabrics are home grown. I just can't handle synthetics," said Modi.

As it's a couture collection, she used fine needlework on the fabrics.

"The silhouettes are also embellished with zardozi, mukaish and beadwork. I had taken fabrics from the weavers in Benaras and Kerala.

"The collection also has a Victorian touch. I have tried to mix varied cultures and crafts and that's what is required today. It's a digital world. It's important to contemporise a dress. There are prints inspired from the British Raj, Victorian Albert Museum and Sanganer. It's all mixed together to create a unique look," added Modi.

She doesn't limit herself to clothes, Modi indulges in getting right makeup, hairdo and jewellery.

"I have used elegant and light-weight gold jewellery for the modern brides. It includes danglers, neckpieces and maang tikka. Makeup is very natural. Models tied their hair.

"Only Tabu, the showstopper, had left her hair open because I wanted something different for her. I wanted her to be a modern Draupadi who is strong and independent," said Modi.

Organised by the Fashion Design Council of India (FDCI), the five-day fashion week is being held here at Taj Palace hotel.

--IANS (Posted on 01-08-2013)

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