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HOW 'COUSU D'OR WAS CONCEPTUALISED

— Veronique Poles

From Paris, the capital of Fashion, to India, the heart of luxury, the journey of collaboration Cousu d'or in both France and in India, has been nothing less than magical. And I'm so delighted to share it with all of you.

 

Living in India for over a decade, I'm so impressed by what is available in this beautiful country! I strongly feel the rich textile craft should be promoted worldwide! And as a luxury, lifestyle and fashion consultant, I determined that one day I would do something to promote the luxury textile craft of India and at the same time support the 'karigars' and their know-how.

 

In 2015, inspired by my own experiences, discovering and enjoying the rich legacy of India, in particular the rich textile heritage, I shared my perception with Pierre Letz, President de la Federation Francaise de la Creation Couture Sur Mesure Paris  and proposed  the idea of showcasing luxury fabrics from India as the theme of one of their annual event in France. As he loves India too, he agreed.  Hence the journey started with the blessings of God! In 2016, I initiated the collaboration between the Federation and Ekaya. In 2017 we finalised the selection of fabrics to work with, and submitted them to the members of the Federation; they fell in love with Ekaya fabrics and we knew that their creations would pay tribute to the know-how of weavers who work with Ekaya. The members of the Federation were very excited about this collaboration which was the first international collaboration of this nature, and despite the cultural differences and language barrier, they set forth on the is journey.

 

In January 2018, during Paris Couture Week, Cousu d’or took place in the heart of Paris, at Sofitel Le Faubourg, surrounded b  the most prestigious sites in the city, from haute couture fashion and luxury houses like Cartier, Hermes, Chanel, Lanvin, Burberry, Louis Vuitton to the Champs Elysées, Grand Palais, Louvre and Tuileries Gardens. The Sofitel Le Faubourg, partner of the project, hosted the exhibition for a month — fifteen couture designers and six arts and crafts designer members of the Federation Francaise De La Creation Couture Sur Mesure Paris showcased creations crafted with Ekaya fabrics.  The event was very successful! And right after the launch of the exhibition in Paris, Palak Shah, CEO Ekaya and her father Bharat Shah, invited the designers to come to India with their creations.

 

Out of all the members, six buckled up for the journey to a country renowned for its luxury heritage! They were miles away from the unprecedented experience they would have in five days, from New Delhi to Varanasi. Palak Shah, CEO, Ekaya, her family and I prepared a very interesting programme in both New Delhi and Varanasi with some surprises planned although some popped up unexpected! Life is full of surprises, in particular in Incredible India!! Now, you cannot speak about India until you have experienced the diversity of the life right from the ground to high end living. So, the idea was to give them an authentic sensorial experience, through a complete immersion in Delhi life, allowing them to enjoy in a short time, experiences that others foreigners visiting India would never have the opportunity to. Concerning the day and a half  in Varanasi, the key idea was to enjoy a mystical experience in one of the world’s oldest cities, the Holy capital of India, and to visit the workshops of Ekaya to experience, discover and understand the technical know-how involved in the making of their luxury fabrics.

 

DELHI DAY 1:

To get acquainted with the chaotic life in one of the most populated metros in the world, they took an auto rickshaw for an intrepid, fast sightseeing tour of the Capital and a colourful shopping experience in Old Delhi, which they wrapped up with a delicious Indian luncheon on the rooftop of a luxury hotel there… la vie est belle! Following that, we joined Mayank Mansingh Kaul at Visual Arts Gallery, India Habitat for a preview of an exhibition he had curated — 'Crossroads: Textile Journeys With Ritu Kumar' — a wonderful exhibition that brought alive fashion designer and textile revivalist Ritu Kumar's travels over five decades, studying and researching Indian historical textiles and contemporary traditions of hand making. What a discovery for the group and how lucky they felt at this priceless opportunity to meet the 'grande dame' of Indian Textile: Ritu Kumar! There, they interacted with few people, among them Anupama Dayal, Rahul Jain, Anshu Khanna; they enjoyed clicking photographs of the gems displayed on the walls, took some selfies here and there  before getting ready for the next part of the evening — more surprises! We took the group to the affluent neighbourhood and diplomatic enclave established in the 1950's in New Delhi: Chanakyapuri!

 

Away from their conventional views on Indian society, they discovered another world unknown to them, where prosperity is king —  luxury mall, The Chanakya! And the next surprise was to attend the most happening party they could ever have been to — NicoCaara. Nicobar was celebrating their first in-store café in collaboration with Caara! What an experience for the French couture designers to discover a new ground — the brand Nicobar, made by Indians with their unique ideas on what they need to celebrate their identity with the well educated, affluent youngsters of Delhi, the millennial luxury consumers of India, whose shopping is changing the face of retail in the country and an extraordinary party where they enjoyed the music, the drinks and the sumptuous cuisine! Back at the hotel, they were wondering if what they had experienced in just one day was a dream…!

 

STAY TUNED FOR DAY—2 IN DELHI AND VARANASI
 

Cousu d'or
The French couturiers and I explored Old Delhi by auto-rickshaw
 
Cousu d'or
We indulged in a delicious luncheon at luxury hotel The Imperial
 
'Crossroads: Textile Journeys With Ritu Kumar'
'Crossroads: Textile Journeys With Ritu Kumar'
 
'Crossroads: Textile Journeys With Ritu Kumar'
it was wonderful meeting designer Anupama Dayal there!
 
'Crossroads: Textile Journeys With Ritu Kumar'
Meeting Mayank Mansingh Kaul there after ages; the first time was in Paris!
 
'Crossroads: Textile Journeys With Ritu Kumar'
'Crossroads: Textile Journeys With Ritu Kumar'
 
Cousu d'or
At the most happening party we could ever have been to — NicoCaara.
 
Cousu d'or
Nicobar celebrates their identity with the well educated, affluent youngsters of Delhi
 
Cousu d'or
We all had a bast at Nicobar!
 
Cousu d'or
An eye-opening experience of the high-end lifestyle of India!
 
Fun moments with the French designers at Nicobar
 
30-MARCH-2018
 
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