Contemporary India- Let’s take a draped walk to Manipur.

Hello Trotting Trotters,

Well I must say that this year literally passed by in a jiffy, talk about work, studies or personal life, we were all running throughout, weren’t we? Atleast I believe so. The fashion trend charts also saw some major forecast changes, from formal wear having a more relaxed appeal to our very own high street styles going way beyond their comfort zone, this roller coaster ride has been pretty exhilarating.

While going through constant ups and downs and anxiety rushes, thanks to the neverending deadlines and expectations that everyday life has to offer, I was subconsciously dreaming of a more stable existence. That time when following a regular routine was all that mattered, when sipping a cup of tea over a light hearted conversation beautifully ended every evening and when reading a book to sleep meant ultimate leisure. Those were the simple times. Owing to my Father’s traveling job, I got to move cities often and every new city came with its own cultural shocks and exciting adventures.

Out of all those cities, the seven Northeastern Sisters from India, capture the most affectionate part of my heart and memories. Intriguing, inspiring and originally unique; the breeze of freshness that carries alongwith it, the most eclectically inspired Asian Outfits in that part of India, is what remains still, an incomplete chapter in my head and trust me I will never be able to visit enough to understand the eeriness of it all.

Almost about two years back, when I was still in Design School, our first Styling Assignment was declared and with almost no brief, we were given absolute freedom to work around a theme of “Contemporary India”. Instantly groups were formed and thankfully I got to work with two of my very close and talented friends, Smriti and Tanushree.

Our brainstorming stormed with an ample amount of ideologies and it took us quite some time to actually understand what a “Contemporary India” could actually mean. From that entire thought process we atleast came to this one conclusion, that A Contemporary India, had to be depicted through a Contemporary Woman, a strong, independent, stylish woman, who would not really follow trends but definitely lead as a trend setter.

That’s when my nostalgic camera roll preserved by my brain stirred a few clear images and Bam! It took me back to my childhood in Northeast and a recent visit to Manipur had only given me a better understanding of one of the prevalent cultures there and then and there it started, with a beautiful Manipuri Drape, which is called a Phanek.

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Skirt: Manipuri Phanek draped over a cut out laundry bag. Dress: used as a top, Bluejay store, Pune. Accessories: ALDO. Shoes: ZARA.

Yes, we had a drape, we had a model, we had a makeup artist and we had a photographer who was ready to work his creativity out on a moody, rainy day in Pune, Maharashtra, India. But we wanted our styling to come with a twist as a usual drape would have given us no high that this project had promised to deliver. That’s when my brilliant friend Smriti(one of my two friends who were part of this project) came up with an edgy idea of giving this drape some volume, but how? with what? Those were the questions. After much pondering over, we had a laundry bag to our rescue, that was cut through its four prominent seams after which the Phanek was draped all over it and fixed with two safety pins.

This way, we had our Contemporary Indian, Manipuri Woman ready, one who is firmly grounded in her values but often uses her artistic abilities to walk in front of the World with an immense sense of Confidence, Pride and Vigour.

“She does anything, but the regular”

This project is a collaborative effort of Anubhuti( Yours truly, Quirkedtrotter), Smriti(the laundry bag specialist) and Tanushree ( magical makeup witch) and Aditya Akash(Rainy season Photographer) and was undertaken under a Styling Program in Symbiosis Institute Of Design, Pune, Maharashtra.

When in India, do visit the Seven Northeastern Sisters, for a doze of fresh air, eclectic style and beauty and well more, that’s for the Trotters to discover!

Until next time, keep Trotting.
Remain Quirky, Remain Unique, Remain Happy!

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