Wednesday, March 30, 2016

A grainy affair

Oft-wondered the power that old grainy film photos possess. The inherent old world charm is irrefutable but there definitely is a lot more to be said about grainy old photos. As creative people, we are never really completely satiated with the work that we produce and as a result of that hunger to go a step further than just the obvious 'ol fashion posts, we decided to shoot and delve into ourselves to see if we could create photos that would serve as a time machine. Following is a series of photos from a photo essay project with the cool kids at The Open Art Project where we tried to replicate the feels of grainy vintage photographs with a styling that is part boudoir and part artistically pleasing. I wanted to challenge myself to write tales of love, passion and sordid dark humour in two-three lines to accompany the mood of each photograph and that is exactly what I have done. 

It had happened. The only thing she had ever dreaded with all her might had finally happened. Surprisingly, she didn't mind the separation as much as the loneliness it brought with it.

A bare patch of skin like the even sand just before the waves come crashing over it. I didn't need to touch it to know it. It felt like an artist's canvas, complete with its colours and imperfections.

"Hi, would you mind moving? This seat's mine", I said shoving my ticket hastily in his face. I saw his gaze linger all over me before he could say a word. I had never felt so exposed.

Those lines, she remarked to her lover, were lines of good fortune. It is good fortune indeed, she replied before they completed each other like the yin and yang. 

A sliver of the golden sun escaped the tightly wound up curtains around the room and found its way on her face rousing her from the depths of her sleep. 
That was his favourite colour on her.

Being a mother of two didn't stop her from missing her old life. Sure she was completed in a way only motherhood could complete women but on some days, when she was all alone she put on her ripped stockings and made herself a stiff drink just to remember her party girl days.

Past life regression feels like the only truth of my life. One moment I am here, tracing the curves on his form and the other I am gone. It feels like more than just a knotty tale. 

It isn't always that I give myself to something. That one time I did, I found every ounce of passion that I possessed and let it absorb me. 
Unfortunately, sometimes the passion does consume all.

Boy bands sing it, self help books write about it, mothers advise you about it, but that never made letting go any easier. The day I could smile to myself about having recovered from the damage is the day I took a leap forward.

Why are all protagonists pretty with black hair, fair skin and pink lips? I am neither of those things and yet I continue to spearhead a revolution of my own with a happy ending, just as I like.

Photography, editing: Saumya and Shiva of The Open Art Project
Modelling and words: Yours truly.


Sunday, March 20, 2016

Amazon India Fashion Week: Day 5

This Autumn-Winter for Amazon India Fashion Week brought to you by FDCI has been quite a thought provoking one. As soon as you pick a theme like 'India Modern' for all the designers to showcase their collections around, you are lending a pre-emptive perspective to the spectators. I did not think that was a bad thing at all. If anything, it got me and possibly others like me thinking what #IndiaModern really stood for. How do you define what modern really is? In the Indian context, I love thinking of #IndiaModern as a way of bringing out everything that India has stood for all these years, since it's inception and putting it into a mould that represents a certain set of modern values. When I saw designer Jaya Rathore add a purple bomber jacket over a gold saree, to me that stood for a very modern Indian styling. Nitin Kartikeya's beautiful use of bugle beads to create patterns and his modern silhouettes set with years of lust worthy traditional embroidery stood for the choices of a modern Indian woman. The capes with the handiwork that gave you the illusion of a 'waterfall' and modern jumpsuits were pieces after my own heart. 
My outfit by Kanelle was my interpretation of an aspect of India Modern styling. The over sized crop top paired with a  draped skirt with a pop of color in the same shade as the crop top drew it's inspiration from a short top in India traditionally referred to as a 'choli' and a 'dhoti' that is worn at the bottom as a wrap skirt. The designer, Kanika Jain uses easy breezy fabrics and works with interesting silhouettes and surface texturing. The modern Indian woman embraces her roots but definitely knows how to add a little pizzazz to the same.

Photography by: Jagrati Marwaha

Details of my outfit:
Sliders: Something Borrowed, Singapore
Bag: Kenzo Paris

This post is in collaboration with POPxo and Amazon India Fashion.


Tuesday, March 15, 2016

FTLOFAOT x Aravind Criton

There is a lot to be said about conceptualisation in design through contrast. It could be a contrast in the colour scheme, where you juxtapose a powder blue with a sunny yellow to bring out it's paleness. There is a lot of inherent beauty in contrasting textures. A soft satin that comes together with ruched detailing to create a garment. I especially love contrasts on the runway and fashion shoots. It got me thinking of the house of Maison Margiela in the time of Martin Margiela. The contrasts in his models and set up with the garments would bring forth his iconoclast design philosophy. And thinking on those lines, when I began to construct a concept around this beautiful dress from Aravind Criton, a bangalore based apparel label, I knew a beautiful way to bring out the intricate rosettes that make up the bodice of the garment, would be to contrast these girly details with something a little grunge. The contrast was brought forth in the lighting and the set up but the styling continues to remain soft, with a hint of rebel. The large curls carelessly caressing the shoulder, the bland face with white/silver spots on the inner corners of the eyes, the brogues, the septum ring and the lace gloves come together to create the climax for one of those iconic horror movies (the good kinds!). Aravind Criton's palette of blacks and whites lend it a very international feel. The definite ace up their sleeve would have to be the attention to detailing. Be it the surface embellishments, the bead work, the appliqué or any kind of texturing technique, this design house has their game going strong.

Photography by: Saumya and Shiva of The Open Art Project

Clothing: C/O Aravind Criton
Shoes: Clarks
Septum Ring: Tribe by Amrapali
Lace gloves: Koovs


Thursday, March 10, 2016

Celebrating women, everyday with OLA

The last time I let loose a few pearls of wisdom on feminism and body acceptance on my blog, the 'Nari Shakti' of the country let me know about how I was misleading the women of the country by showing off my bralette. Does that deter me from being back here today to talk about a continuous celebration of Women's Day? No. If anything, it makes me stronger. For every hater, I had a woman having my back. For every woman who pulls the other down, there is another hunching low just to give you a piggyback up to success. Before we exclaim to the world that we would like to be looked on with more respect and deserve the egalitarian treatment we know we do, let's take a moment to be that piggyback ride to appreciation and success for every woman we know. I decided to talk about one such hero from the bevy of our everyday unsung heroes because there is never a bad time to that. When I first spoke to Mahalakshmi Anand about her job as female taxi driver with Ola (yes, you heard that right), there was nothing to suggest that, that particular conversation will lend my life and ambitions such a great perspective by the end of it. Mahalakshmi has been with Ola for about a year and her grit, determination and general bonhomie are infectious. With nothing to suggest otherwise, I talk to Mahalakshmi about how her family felt about her job and what kind of a life it was that she led as a part of the troupe of mainly male drivers at Ola in the city of Bangalore. "I have received unending support from my kids and husband", she told me beaming with pride. If in the Indian sub continent of today, a woman feels like she can chase her dreams and be who she wants to be, even it is something as uncommon and usually associated with the indelible physical strength of a man, like being a taxi driver, we must be doing something right. And let us not even forget our favourite Aunt Technology, which enables Ola to empower women like Mahalakshmi. I would be just as excited as her if I was going to own the car after driving it for employment and a good quality of life on an EMI scheme after four years. Mahalakshmi makes the cynical me believe that with the job of your dreams, you always find a way to make the work life balance work in your favour. Unfailingly giving her the security and the career that she desires, Ola makes the Mahalakshmis of India find the courage to take a plunge into what their heart desires, not what the society deems fit. 
When I think about this interaction, it is then that my heart chooses to believe that one day there will exist no International Women's day. That one day, my writing will not strive to bring out contrasts between the will of the being and the will of the society. 

I ask Mahalakshmi if there is any message that she would like me to pass on to my readers and she asks me to ask every woman out there to stop merely dreaming and press that accelerator on those dreams. Because they will continue to be those dreams you dream when you sleep at night and will be gone when you are up the next morning if you don't believe in yourself. Her vehemence and conviction are infectious. I already feel that with yet another piece on the importance of empowering every woman we know, I have checked yet another dream off my list.


Saturday, March 5, 2016

Summer is coming-II

I never saw a summer bloom I didn't like. After a pristine white on white look with p é r o  clothing in Part Un of the blog post on the  onset of Summers, I'm back with a series of photos that will create a montage of colours, dips, dyes, threads and beads in your head. This particular dress with it's heavily embroidered bodice is what is intrinsically reminiscent of every colourful summer from my childhood. It makes me think of ripe peaches, apple blossoms and rose bushes. It take me back to a time when climate change was not an issue hovering over our summer frolic. The sun shone and the ice caps were not melting. It jogs my memory to those light summer showers that symbolised the coming off age of the nectarines and the sweeter than honey dew, mangoes. I think of all the time I spent lolling around in my lush green lawn in my childhood house and spending endless hours in the pursuit of colouring within the lines in my colouring books. The  colours and the honest to goodness feel of the cotton is sure to take you back in time. 

Dress: p é r o  
Sneakers: Stradivarius

The beautiful photography and edits courtesy of the very talented Nayantara Parikh.

Flowers make everything sweeter. The feeling forlorn. The happiness untouched. The longing unending. The peace unseen. The loss indecorous.



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