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WHEN COUSU D'OR WOWED INDIA

— Veronique Poles

LIFE IS LIKE A BOX OF CHOCOLATES!

 

''Palak Shah, CEO, Ekaya and her father Bharat Shah flew to Paris in January 2018 during Parisian Couture Week to attend the preview of exhibit Cousu d' Or at Sofitel Le Faubourg in the luxury district of Paris. There, the Indo- French exhibit was inaugurated by Manish Prabhat, Deputy Chief of Mission and Lavanya Kumar, First Secretary Press, Culture Embassy of India, Paris. The event was very successful and both Palak and her father wanted the exhibition brought to India.

 

In the flight back to India, Palak began dreaming about how she would host the exhibition in India; she had a clear vision about what she wanted it to be. As soon as she landed, she could clearly visualise how to orchestrate the details to perfection to make it an unforgettable luxury couture experience, right from the 'Save The Date' card to the invitation for both the private preview and the public preview, food and beverage, installation and stellar guest list! All the details were planned — and her beautiful smile showed unwavering enthusiasm and faith!

 

In less than a month and a half, the project was wrapped up and she kept it secret from us, up until the preview. The exhibit would take place at Bikaner House, a royal residence which has emerged as one of the most beautiful venues for art, cultural and fashion in Delhi. Palak Shah's attention to detail and confidence helped her finalise the chic invitation off white invitation, engraved in gold. The dress code for the evening was gold, white and black. Now, the opening was planned at  7.30 pm and 350 guests were expected. Palak invited all of us to Bikaner House at 6.30 pm to give us the supreme surprise of the day…  unveiling to us, first, the exhibition.

 

When we reached Bikaner House, the tone of the evening was set by a theatrical entrance: the poster of the exhibition hanging on a beautiful curtain crafted with golden handwoven luxury fabric from Ekaya. Palak was behind the curtain, and when she made an entrance, she was like a Diva — looking stunning in a couture evening gown made especially for the event by Pierre Letz Daniel Martin, using Ekaya handwoven luxury fabric from their newest collection. Behind the curtain, the exhibition of fourteen members of the Fédération's exclusive gowns stood resplendent. For the uninitiated, for this collaboration, Ekaya had created a capsule collection of luxurious ivory handwoven brocade, silk, cotton, georgette, chiffon, tusser, organza, mashru silk and chikankari. The fabrics have been handwoven using intricate weaving techniques.The Banarasi brocades used are woven with a technique known as kadwa — an elaborate luxurious weaving method of independently weaving motifs on fabrics. The couture designers of the Fédération, through their designs crafted with Ekaya's rich collection of textiles,had giving the handloom textiles a new life!

 

And then Palak opened the exhibition to showcase the effort by both Ekaya and Fédération Française de la Creation Couture Sur Mesure; Studio Lotus was brought in to design the exhibition venue — the frame for the mélange of handwoven textile and French bridal couture. Aligning with the textiles re-imagined as contemporary bridal gowns, the idea of a floral garden was abstracted to envisage a contemporary narrative of an oasis of Victoria water lilies. Podiums in mirror acrylic created a mirage of fragmented pools of water upon which Origami forms of water lilies, crafted by Ankon Mitra and team, were floated. Each exquisite gown was center stage in each of these installations, re-captured in its own reflections in the mirror. It was an unprecedented luxury exhibit and Palak Shah was congratulated by the entire Indian creative fraternity from fashion designers to artists, architects and photographers! An unforgettable successful evening!

 

PS The seven designers who flew to India for the exhibition were Pierre Charles Letz, Daniel Charles Simon Martin, Raymond Gunther Arthur Thompson, Adelheid Kahler Thompson Geb Kahler, Sylvie Kameni, Guenaelle Debarnot and Isabelle Maria Simone Beaumenay Joannet. This exhibition "Cousu d'or'' at Bikaner House, residence of the Maharaja of Bikaner, was the perfect platform for members of the Fédération Française de la création couture sur mesure- Paris to be introduced to the connoisseurs of Indian fashion and luxury — including Jaya Jaitley, Suhel Seth, Tikka Shatrujit Singh, Sunil Sethi along with daughter Tanira, Harmeet Bajaj, Rakesh Thakore, Pernia Qureshi, Peter D'Ascoli, Anupama Dayal, Leena Singh, Shivan and Narresh, Gaurav Jai Gupta, Anshu Khanna, Nawab Kazim Ali Khan and Dr Kavita Gupta, Textile Commissioner of India.

 

Ekaya, bringing to life its first International collaboration with Fédération Française de la Création Couture Sur Mesure at Bikaner House, demonstrated how Indian handloom textiles could go forward in a progressive way and be a part of the French couture and wedding industry.

 

THE POST CELEBRATIONS

 

To celebrate this collaboration which was also a beautiful example of a partnership between the two design cultures, Bharat Shah invited members of the federation to end the day at United Coffee House, a restaurant which was conceptualised in1942 by the late Lala Hand Raj Kalra! In a very Art Deco ambiance, we all enjoyed refined traditional Indian cuisine which has been keeping this restaurant in the news since eighty years!!! Late in the night we closed our eyes, full of happiness, and reminded ourselves one more time that life is like a box of chocolates... la vie est belle! I closed my eyes, feeling so blessed by this wonderful journey, which started years ago with my vision and dreams. From Paris to Delhi, it became a reality because of the hard work of each link of this beautiful chain of talented people and  passionate craftsmen willing to share and combine their know-how! The journey is not over... many more surprises were still waiting for us! More on that in my next blog! Stay tuned into this space!!''

 

COUSU D'OR
Designer Sylvie Kameni using Chikankari from Ekaya
 
COUSU D'OR
Designer Pierre Letz Daniel Martin using Chikankari
 
COUSU D'OR
Designer Ali Thompson using Chikankari
 
COUSU D'OR
Isabelle Beaumenay Joannet using handwoven Banarasi zari metallic fabric and tissue with geometric motifs
 
07-APRIL-2018
 
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