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Supermodel. "One of 20 people to watch in the millennium in Asia" cites Asiaweek. Founder, "Fashion For Development". Awarded Honorary Fellowship of The London Institute and UNESCO Artist For Peace. Here, exploring the potential her showcase at Rajasthan Heritage Week has to bring weavers from remote corners of the state out of poverty line with dignity. 


It’s no wonder then that I was looking forward to Bibi Russel’s showcase on the third day of Rajasthan Heritage Week. As the first looks came out, it was apparent she is no stranger to handloom. "I have used 100 per cent Rajasthan Khadi — woollen, cotton, and a mixture of woollen and cotton, using different weight — from weavers in Rajasthan. I kept the look simple to showcase the fabric's beauty and the accessorization, inspired by different parts of Rajasthan and made by us, in-house" she smiled. Viewing her show at Rajasthan Heritage Week — thematically, a tribute to Gandhiji and late freedom fighter Khudiram — was an experience to the soundtrack of Gandhiji's bhajans. It was brilliance, particularly, the role of khadi in crafting a ready-to-wear line of stylishly draped saris, wrap blouses, long skirts and kurta pyjamas — accessorised with tasselled stoles, wraps and handmade jewellery for men and women. From the viewpoint of palette and decoration, there was a lot for the artistic to love; soft vegetable dyes formed a beautiful palette against which belts, turbans, lac bangles and tasselled jewellery looked stunning! In all, the collection projected a grown-up elegance. As the show drew to a close, the designer, who is a state guests of Rajasthan, took a bow with the crafspeople whose skills she masterfully blended with her design aesthetic.


"I salute craftspeople anyplace; they have magic in their fingers. Their fingers are their tools- their craft- their means of earning a livelihood. Rajasthan Heritage Week is a endeavour to uplift the craft clusters. While weavers will absorb new design in their weaves, designers will use their handwork in future collections" she explained. It was not the first time I had spent time with Bibi Russel… yet whenever I see her sporting a turban and chic glares, I'm awestruck. She looks stunning and the imagery immediately brings to mind her past as a supermodel. Again, I was touched by her warmth, her humility and above all her deep passion for uplifting craft through continued efforts at production house 'Development For Fashion'. Salut!


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