African art with an Indian heart

African art with an Indian heart

Designer diaries

African art with an Indian heart

It is said that travel first leaves you speechless and then turns you into a story teller. Nupur Kanoi vouches for this with her new collection, ‘Lost And Found In Africa’, which is inspired by her solo travel to that place.

The award-winning designer’s client list features names like Aishwariya Rai, Kajol, Sonam Kapoor, Kareena Kapoor, Neha Dhupia, Aparna Badlani, Kangana Ranaut and more.

In the city for a show by Collage Shop India, Nupur chats with Rajitha Menon about life behind the runway.

 Describe your work..

I would think my creations are traditional but contemporary in silhouette and design. It appeals to the Indian woman who is very global but also in touch with her traditions. There are a lot of references to Indian craft in my works but these are tweaked and made contemporary with easy, trendy silhouettes.

 Challenges in this field...

Managing so many people and getting them to understand what exactly is there in your head. None of the workers who stitch or embroider for us are educated but they are skilled. You just have to put your thoughts across to them.

 Your latest collection...

‘Lost And Found In Africa’ has been inspired by my travels to Africa as a solo traveller. When you don’t have anybody to speak with, you end up watching and observing more. And I found a lot of cultural similarities between India and Africa. That’s why the designs are inspired by African art but with an Indian heart.

 How have you fused the two cultures?

The beadwork and colours I saw there are incorporated into hoodies with pleated kurtas, kaftan maxi and so on. The body painting techniques reminded me of our ‘bandhni’ art and this is also visible in my creations. The latter part of the collection is inspired by body piercings of the tribals. It is a fully metallic collection with lot of fringe elements.

 One thing that needs to change in fashion?

People shouldn’t be very trend conscious. They should opt for classic with a twist. We don’t need to follow trends as much as we need to look at what suits us.

 The celebrity who’s easiest to work with...

I have worked with many celebrities and nobody has been very difficult. But my favourite muses are Aishwarya, Neha Dhupia and Aparna Badlani.

 A piece of clothing you can’t do without?

Ah, that’s a difficult one. I can’t do without most of my clothes at all.

 Favourite attire?

Easy clothing. Something I can slip into and out of very easily. I have designed drape skirts with tops and I carry these with me.

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