Saturday, April 29, 2017

Sunset by the beach in Lucknowi Chikan

After a long week when one goes to the beach to watch the waves crash framed by a gorgeous sunset, you want an easy outfit. This is my go-to for the in-between months during spring or autumn.

A bright crop with boy-friend jeans and a duster of some sort. This duster has white hand embroidery on a white muslin fabric, this kind of work is called Chikankari and the North Indian city of Lucknow is the heart of Chickankari today. Anything I wear always has a touch of home in subtle or non-subtle ways especially since I've moved to a country with absolute no textile heritage!

The earliest reference to chikankari dates back to as early as the 3rd century BC when Greek traveller Megasthenes mentioned the use of flowered muslins by Indians. You have seen me wear Lucknowi Chikan here in a post last year.

Hope you all have a great weekend.

Sunday, April 9, 2017

Tropical holiday staple: Block print headwrap

The hand block print scarf from Jaipur worn here as a head-wrap is a trusty friend on many of my trips and I never leave home without her or one of her many sisters. You have seen me wear it here as an after swim cover-up and I use it as a versatile classic that morphs into what I need for my every day requirements.

The fabric gets softer and the colours better with every wash, the soft hand-woven cotton dries easily and makes any outfit better and I genuinely feel like it is one of those must-haves I can't do without. This floral print on has been created using natural dyes on wooden blocks with light weight Indian cotton and the sheer weave of the fabric feels light and soft to the touch. Each scarf varies from piece to piece, even the same design in the same colours, making each scarf special in it's own way.

I was wearing it as a head-wrap here to dry my hair post a dip in the sea in Koh Samui. We left the beach to scoot up a hill to get to a water-fall and walked through the tropical jungle to get to this mossy little spot full of abandoned little homes and ancient life size figures.

Along with the scarf I threw on my every day island attire of a random cotton singlet, bright embroidered bag made by the Hmong tribe, denim cut-offs and canvas slip-ons. The scarf was also a little something to keep me warm after a day full of adventures.

Sunday, April 2, 2017

Hand painted Kalamkari duster

Last year a lovely friend in Pune (hey Archu!), bought this amazing hand-painted Kalamkari fabric and had this duster jacket made for me. It quickly became my most favourite thing to wear with pretty much everything.

I've worn it here with ripped light wash jeans, a Guns n' Roses tee, a vintage leather backpack and platform brogues from Jeffrey Campbell to go to a picturesque waterfall in a natural park in Sydney's north shore.

What is your favourite way to wear Kalamkaris?

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

In a kediyu by the bay

This top that I mostly wear as a dress is a classic Indian silhouette, made from hand loomed organic cotton and hand block printed with wooden blocks with natural colours.

This style that is known by various names depending on where one is, lends itself to customisation and can be as traditional or as contemporary as one wants. It is called a kediyu in Gujarat and I have worn it here with a pair of denim cut-offs, I also wear it with skinny and relaxed full-length jeans/ pants, wide legged pyjamas and skirts in varied lengths as well.

The point I am trying to make is, it doesn't ever have to be a choice between traditional and contemporary, everything can be adapted to suit one's style. I find nothing more boring than looking head-to-toe like a mannequin from a shop window, even if it the most fantastic designer's shop window.

Putting things together to suit one's own style is wonderful and WoC should never have to choose between their culture and the fact that they need to fit-in. Fitting-in is over-rated anyway!

Thursday, March 9, 2017

Block print jumpsuit in winter

As has been documented here, my love for traditional Indian block print cotton and silks know no bounds.

This jumpsuit in indigo is a great way to be casual and comfortable summer or winter. Perfect for lounging at home all day,going out for brunch or drinks, a stroll in the park or by the beach and even a little hike.

I love it styled with a bralet for hot weather and with a base layer and/or a coatigan for the colder months. The smooth cotton is printed by hand using carved wooden blocks in a stamping method.

Also these indigo prints in cotton just get better with wear and are easy to throw and go. The photos on this post were taken just before spring, hence the beanie and woollies.

Like a lot of kurtas/ kurtis I find them ideal to pack for travel since they require minimal outfit planning. I sometimes wear a cotton/linen button-up over it or a vest pair them with sneakers, booties, gladiator sandals or even jootis.

Wednesday, March 1, 2017

Bagru print by the harbour bridge

Like I said in this post before, I feel kurtas are one of the most versatile pieces of clothing, this indigo beauty is a dabu print I got on one of my little travels, worn here with a bright woven bag from Colombia and buttery soft leather shorts.

It is worn as a dress or top with a skirt or shorts or flowy wide legged bottoms in the summer, layered over merino wool base layer and leggings or denim when it gets colder. I wear it to the beach and to work and it only looks better as it is more frequently used. Truly versatile.

Natural indigo is a rare commodity with small quantities produced by the Chippa community in Bagru, Rajasthan, India. The natural version of the blue dye is obtained from the indigo plants of the indigofera family. Beautiful indigo patterns are created with dabu, a mud-resist paste made with all things natural.

Monday, February 20, 2017

The versatile block print chunni wrap

Cotton hand block-printed chunnis (or duppatta, what ever you may choose to call it) with traditional folk motifs earthy colours are one of the most versatile pieces of clothing. The soft cotton weave is large enough to be the perfect oversized scarf, vest, skirt, beach towel, shawl, sarong or throw and it only gets better looking with repeated use.

I've had this one for ages and it is a part of a kurta, salwaar set that has long since been misplaced. The chunni or dupatta is a necessary wardrobe item for a desi woman back home. Normally worn as a long scarf, draped over one or both shoulders with a kurta or kurti, it is usually a flourish of color for any outfit.

I have worn it here as a swimwear cover-up to wade about in the shallow waters of a rivulet that weaves it way through a rainforest, culminating into a spectacular escarpment water-fall. Traditional fabrics and water-falls seems to be a theme on this blog that I am in no hurry to change. I genuinely feel the most content around water-falls with loved ones. What's your happy place?