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EXPERIENCING LIFESTYLE DIVERSITY IN NEW DELHI

— Veronique Poles

From 2015, when I first shared my idea and vision with Pierre Letz, President of Fédération Française de la Création Couture sur mesure Paris, of collaborating with an Indian company specialising in luxury handwoven fabrics — to having the federation members using a very exclusive selection of those fabrics to design a couture collection of gowns and accessories — to the wonderful unforgettable preview of Cousu d’or followed by an exhibition at Bikaner House — the journey was rich in so many ways that even our dreams could not have been able to transport us to. What an immense moment of happiness for all of us, after so many months of work embarked in this vessel, which from France was now in India, with the great contribution and generosity of Palak Shah, CEO Ekaya, her team and her family. The warm success of the exclusive by-invite preview of Cousu d’or and the beautiful acquaintances at Bikaner House was an unforgettable reward… that crafted so many memories.

 

In this specific programme designed for the five-day visit in of the French couturiers in India, Palak, her family and I made it a point to allow the federation members to embrace the diversity of India. On 23RD March, the night was short but so restorative as we knew that we had all achieved a lot from this global collaboration… however the journey was not yet complete! One more studious experience in New Delhi was awaiting the group… before a spiritual 360° handcrafted experience in Varanasi.

 

The fuel that creative people need to evolve, innovate is based on a constant stimulation of their senses and possibilities of sharing. On 24TH March, I decided to take the group to a not-to-be-missed enlightening exhibition at National Crafts Museum. it was titled A Search In Five Directions, honouring the life, the works and the legacy of the late Martand Singh, affectionately known as Mapu, the extraordinary man behind the revival of Indian textiles. The federation members felt so fortunate that in a span of only two days in India, and after having met the great guru of the fashion and textile industry, Ritu Kumar, they were now immersed in the world of ancient Indian traditional textile techniques, from across the country. Five types of techniques were exhibited in the show, namely pigment painting, dye painting, resist dyeing, printing and weaving, which allowed the designers to understand the huge, rich potential of Indian craftspeople. I wish that they could visit India again to collaborate with textiles experts of the country…

 

This magical experience was followed by a session organised by Palak Shah at Bikaner House with a group of students from NIFT India. Surrounded by majestic gowns, in a fairytale ambiance, the students could interact with the designers: going from one gown to another, as we described each ensemble and its journey into being, right from the starting point of each designer selecting a handwoven luxury fabric from the ones curated by Ekaya, to their inspiration and the technical innovative steps of crafting the ensemble… and making their dream becoming true.

 

When the students left, we felt how inspired they had felt with what we shared with them about the contemporary global twist to the handwoven luxury fabrics of Ekaya by each designer — it was a rewarding experience and nothing could have been better than to get a lunch break at the most popular French patisserie in the Capital — Salon de thé L’Opéra — part of the premises of Bikaner House; oh to walk down the bougainvillea-lined alley where they clicked photographs of  squabbling monkeys!! It was a lovely afternoon. In this incredible India, where temptations lure you in each corner, it was a pleasure to take the group to discover one of the most expensive shopping hoods and bustling  destination in Delhi — Khan Market. A favourite places to hang out and the best shopping experience!

 

This glimpse of the lifestyle diversity in Delhi could not have been complete without an heritage experience, so I took the group for a few minutes walk down narrow alleys in Old Delhi from the historic Jama Masjid to Haveli Dharampura where they enjoyed Mughal-style cuisine and the historical physical features of the haveli like brackets, balconies, jharokas, multi-foliated arched gateway, carved sandstone facades and wooden doorways. oh yes the members of the Federation were thrilled by their whole​ experience in Delhi and ended the day in the Capital of India with this beautiful vintage memory. Time to sleep, pack the suitcases and keep ready boarding passes for our flight to Varanasi now… with more surprises to come!!
 

The French couturiers and I at Bikaner House
 
The NIFT Delhi fashion students were enriched with the guided experience.
 
The NIFT fashion students were inspired by the potential!
 
We went to National Crafts Museum for an exhibit honouring the life, work and legacy of late Martand Singh
 
The exhibit honouring the life, work and legacy of late Martand Singh
 
exhibit honouring the life, work and legacy of late Martand Singh
 
it was enriching to get acquainted with the works of an extraordinary man behind the revival of Indian textiles
 
15-APRIL-2018
 
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