Photography by Dolly Haorambam | Modelling by Rhea Gupte
There is a lack of an original point of view within the fashion industry at times. Takes me back to rendezvouz-ing with Gabrielle Chanel’s biographies on hot summer afternoons, flipping page after page and filling up with a kind of vicarious pride for her creative actions which would be revolutionary for women in the years to come. A similar feeling of perpetual goosebumps every time I hear Yohji Yamamoto speak his point of view through words or clothing. Or Dame Vivienne Westwood who will forever be known as the catalyst for bringing punk streets to the runway in a way which can never be replicated. Issey Miyake’s architectural genius, Rei Kawakubo’s merging aesthetics of the East and the West creating a never seen before silhouette, Schiaparelli’s surrealism, Mary Quant’s mod fashion movement, are only some of the actions of the past which changed the landscape of fashion as we know it.
Brings me to the debate and a constant dispute in my mind of whether everything of substance, already been invented? Are we only re-inventing the wheel? A wheel which with embellishments, with faux leather trimmings, at times a minimal structure bare to it’s bone and at times clad in the finest fake fur perhaps softer than the inspiration itself. As women are already devoid of farthingales and men of their codpieces, both having besotted to the idea of embracing comfort when it comes to fashion, it is tougher to be a fashion revolutionary. When most things have been done, in not one way but several versions of multiple ways, a creative may find themselves dwelling in a pool of triteness. Not only in fashion but also art, literature, design and music. The magnanimous accomplishments of our successors may weigh down heavily as a creative block or a lack of originality. When every genuine idea, deed and thought has been documented through a myriad of websites, originality at times, takes a back seat. Or what may seem to be original, in actuality stemming out of an innocent mind, racing with ideas, may still be found in a dusty archive lurking in the darkest corners of the internet. Let’s face it, a wrap dress can only be invented once and thus there can be only one Diane Von Furstenburg.
Makes me wonder whom the generations will speak of a hundred or more years down the line. Perhaps Balmain’s digital prowess with Rousteing’s muses, or Celine’s pioneering minimalism. Definitely Karl Lagerfeld will go down in history as the multi-talented and most multi-tasking man of the decade followed by Stella McCartney and her battle for environmentally conscious fashion. Though one may not be an inventor of similar proportions of importance as in the past, there is perhaps still hope to make a mark for oneself. There is still some shred of genius in the universe which make possible Proenza Schouler, Toni Maticevski and Alexander Wang. Immediately, the landscape of young Indian fashion comes to mind where times could not have been more exciting than what they they are at the moment. Young labels like Behno, Huemn, Ikai, The SummerHouse, Bodice and Nor Black Nor White seem to be the voices paving the way for a kind of quiet, never seen before fashion revolution in the country. Akin to making me believe that on a sultry summer afternoon many decades from now, a young girl might be irrevocably inspired flipping through the biographies of one of these talents.