Fashion week kicked off with designer Sabyasachi showing off site at Mumbai’s Richardson & Cruddas workshop and will end with Anamika Khanna at Bhau Daji Lad museum. In between we had Kiran Uttam Ghosh who returned to LFW after eight years.
All three are well known Calcutta based designers -the sort whose work you could hand down the generations.
There are many more- Kallol Datta, Abhishek Datta, Komal Sood, Sneha Aurora, Soumitra Mondal are some of the names that keep cropping up at shows and Mumbai stores.
I wrote about Hyderabad becoming a hub for designers in an earlier bog.
Calcutta has been a hub much longer and it begs the question -is it the cities that create the space for designers to cluster or is it the designers that lend a creative aura to cities?
Antwerp known for its diamond trade and Palanpuri Jains became famous for the Antwerp 6, a cluster of six famous designers including Walter Beirendonck,Anne Demeulemeester and Dries Van Noten who studied together and brought a new contemporary aesthetic to fashion, putting Antwerp and cutting edge design firmly on the fashion map.
The Calcutta designers didn’t study together or at the same institute. But is there something that unites their approach to design? Is the city their muse?
Calcutta is not stranger to fashion or textiles. Legendary Murshidabd muslin, jamdani and baluchari weaves and kantha embroidery are all from this part of he country and have been referenced since Mughal times.
In the late 1800’s Tagore’s sister in law, Jnanadanandini Devi fresh from London and Mumbai had the equivalent of a modern trunk show when she had Calcutta ladies over to see the new fashion of wearing blouses and draping saris Parsi style. Her shows were a hit and changed how saris were worn in Calcutta.
Read ‘Jorasankho’ by Aruna Chakravarti for a scintillating description of life with the Tagores.
Meanwhile celebrate Calcutta’s designers at LFW 2015
photo credit: yogesh shah/the daily mail uk