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October - November 2004


Festivals and Fashion: making East and West meet

by Krishan Ralleigh

Autumn, the season of ‘ripeness and mellow fruitfulness’ is also the harbinger of festivities on the Indian sub-continent. Diwali, the festival of light, brings with it joy (anandam), beauty (sundaram) and goodness (shivam) in human heart. It sublimates evil designs and perverted thoughts that lurk in various corners of human mind. During festival days, man is more amenable to support charities, help the less fortunate and other little generosities that help to oil the human relationships.

Beauty and Fashion go hand in hand. The recent ‘Fashion Week’ in London, attended by our Fashion Editor was a great success in bringing Indian designers on global scene. In coming weeks there will be similar ‘fashion weeks’ in various capitals of Europe and metropolitan cities of India. Mumbai and Delhi celebrate their own fashion week around Diwali.

Fashion in clothes, in jewellery and in gourmet industry blend the past with the present and innovate for the future. What is most encouraging is the trend that Indian designers have made deep inroads in the fashion houses of the west. Applying henna (mehandi), a favourite embellishment of the limbs of Indian women has become one of the latest trends among ‘women celebrities’ in the west. Indian jewellery fashion has an adornment for almost every part of a woman’s body –from ‘tika’ for the forehead to anklet and toe-ring for the feet. During summer months in England one can see various pinkish-pale feet adorned with anklet and toe-ring. Indian jewellery is as much a fashion trend in western women as it is among Indian women in Delhi or Mumbai.

In clothes, Sari, the most feminine of Indian garments, has been turned and twisted in various forms; but maintains its supreme position as the most ‘feminine’ garb that gives elegance, dignity and romantic halo to the wearer.

India-born fashion designers working in the west have made great impact on the fashion scene. We have introduced two such designers in the pages of this issue. The artistic sketches on the cover are the work of Ashish Paroha based in Milan (Italy). The other designer, Mumbai-based Manish Malhotra has been one of the most successful artist in breaking new grounds in fashion in the most fashion-conscious Bollywood.

In this issue, we celebrate our great festival of Diwali with all our friends and well- wishers in the west with the message of goodwill and happiness for all. Blending of beauty and goodness dispels evil thinking and nefarious acts. Festival of Diwali, celebrated in India since times immemorial, gives us the message of the eventual triumph of good over evil. In coming months there will be innumerable functions to celebrate Diwali in London, Paris, New York and Washington. Let us make these functions as social fusion of East and West. We should invite our western friends and colleagues to share with us the joy and beauty that Diwali brings to every Indian household.

India Link International has been supporting various charities through its pages; and is glad of the responses we get from our readers. We intend to introduce to our readers the works of our fashion designers in clothes, jewellery and of course, gourmet industry. Fashion designers are as much the artists who reflect and enhance the beauty that permeates this world, as are the poets, painters, sculptors and writers who sustain and reinvigorate the goodness that is enshrined in all human beings.

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