Sunday, February 27, 2011

Fashion goes in reverse

I attended a Pablo Bartholomew exhibition this weekend where I caught a presentation by the photographer on his father's work. While making a comparison between son and father, he put on display a picture he had taken of this friends in 1975. When I saw the photograph, I immediately thought of a similar picture my mother had of her friends in the 1970s. I remembered looking at the picture and laughing at the way everyone was dressed in busy prints and bell-bottoms. Unfortunately, I realised there was a need to check that ridicule. You see, in the floral printed jumpsuit that I had chosen for the occasion, I could have stepped right out of that picture, almost four decades later.

If karma ever had its way about anything in my life, it’s fashion. I've inherited part of my mother's ill-fitted nose and dressed in my high-waist jeans and white shirt, I could be her. This worries me. Tremendously. As is befitting any mother-daughter relationship, anything that gives my mother leeway to say, ‘My God, that’s something I used to wear’, frightens me.

Thankfully my redemption came in the form of a pair of high-waist-lemon-yellow-floral pants that my aunt handed down to me. It was an outfit James Ferreira had made for her in the ‘70s and she deigned that I would be the only one in the family who would appreciate it. And she was right. The pants were delicious. But what was interesting was that while my aunt had worn them with a matching peter pan lace collar top—you may take a moment there to visualise that—I went for a more minimalist approach, a white gunji. So the conclusion I reached is that till we actually begin to dress in motorised costumes, as Hussein Chalayan wishes, the same shapes and colours are going to recycle themselves every decade, but with a twist. This time, it’s a more minimalistic approach to ‘70s fashion-less frills, simpler cuts, flatter hair.

There is one thing I do promise myself though. No matter how many bell-bottoms I put on, or how busy my prints get, there’s no way I’m ever doing the hand pounding dance my mother refers to as ‘the popcorn’. As for the picture of her party, I'm sure I wouldn't have been as harsh if she had had Bartholomew's sleight of hand to lessen the blow.

(Pablo Bartholomew, 1975. Catch Pablo Bartholomew, CHRONICLES OF A PAST LIFE - '70s & '80s in Bombay, Sakshi Gallery, Feb 19th- March 17th. It's a collection of photographs he's taken while strolling the streets of Mumbai in the '70s & '80s)

How it began:

(Clockwise from left top: Zeenat Aman in Hare rama, hare krishna, 1971; Bianca Jagger's infamous wedding suit, 1971; 1970s trend setters Farrah Fawcett and David Bowie)

'70s in spring-summer 2011:

(Clockwise from left top: White suit, Thakoon; Printed mini-dress, Dolce & Gabbana; Highwaist trousers, Derek Lam; Polka dot pants with printed top, Rodarte)

Get the look with bright prints, wide leg pants, platforms shoes and minis:

(Clockwise from the top left: Wide leg trousers, Zara, Rs 2,590; Yellow printed dress, Mango, Rs 3,790; Tasseled bag, Mango, Rs 4,690; Polka dot top, FCUK, Rs 1,999; Oversize sunglasses, Fendi at, Rs 6,588; Platform shoes, Mango, 5,990)

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