The Indian Scarlett O’Hara

I’ve always been intrigued by Scarlett. I was about 14 when I read Gone with the Wind, and every essay henceforth was either based on the book, or the character, including the one I wrote in my board exams.

It should therefore come as no surprise that Scarlett’s sartorial sensibilities have made their way into my aesthetics, and have inspired some (if not all) of my creations.

Scarlett was bold and knew what she’d look good in. She dressed to highlight her best features – like when she wore green to compliment her catty eyes the time she met Rhett in jail, or when she pulled her dress just a tad lower to show off her fair shoulders. She was proud of her tiny waist – achieved no doubt by a rib crunching corset (the concept of which I disagree with – fashion should not be injurious to health; though not the intention – which was to highlight her best feature), and she didn’t give a damn what the world thought of her – whether it was dancing in the black crepe of mourning with a strange man, or riding a buggy to oversee business with the Yankees.

Scarlett was strong, beautiful and she knew how to work her strengths to her advantage. This outfit is built on that sentiment – take what’s best about you and enhance it to the moon. This outfit draws attention to the waist – “upper” waist mind you, while covering the problem areas – tummy, love-handles, thighs and hips with a flared, multi-layered skirt.

Polka Dotted Cotton Lehenga | Designed and Illustrated by Shivani Krishan | Chai High is an Indian Fashion Blog started by Shivani Krishan | This illustration has also been shared on Shivani Krishan's Instagram handle - chai_high_illustrated

A long, flared gown with layers of lace and frills underneath, is the starting point for my lehenga design. I’ve replaced the corset with a tiny draped choli that lets you breathe (Thank God for little pleasures), and shows off your midriff. An Indian style dupatta with gota motifs completes the look.

In terms of fabric, I’m imagining pure woven cotton – polka dots for the outfit, solid white for the frills and petticoat. Perfect for brides who’d rather avoid bling.

The hair is kept short and jewellery is traditional Indian gold. The illustration is almost a creation of a new sensibility, one that brings the aesthetics of the west and marries it with the silhouettes of the east.

Scarlett may have taken self-preservation a bit too far. But she certainly knew how to rock a trend. Let’s learn from her the art of dressing, as well as resolve never to make the mistakes she made.

If you haven’t read the book, you can buy it here.

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Dear Designers – Here’s some inspiration for 2017.

Hello People-who-want-to-design-something-but-don’t-know-what,

I’ve been in your boat. A boat lost in the Pinterest sea. So many pretty ideas. But which one to choose?

I have been attempting to design a few Indian outfits to wear to weddings – since everybody has suddenly decided to get married in the first half of 2017. And while my Masterji like all Masterjis is being a bit of a tantrum queen, a glimpse at his creations sort of makes it worth the wait.

Since frills and ruffles are going to be big in 2017, why not incorporate these elements into your Indian outfit?

2017 Trends | Inspiration for Fashion Designers | Fashion Design Ideas | Fashion Week Inspo | Pinterest Fashion Ideas | Design your dream saree and lehenga blouse | Chai High is an Indian Fashion Blog started by Shivani Krishan

A little layer here, a flounce there, and you’ve got a lehenga that transcends cultures.

2017 Trends | Inspiration for Fashion Designers | Fashion Design Ideas | Fashion Week Inspo | Pinterest Fashion Ideas | Design your dream saree and lehenga | Chai High is an Indian Fashion Blog started by Shivani Krishan | Bridal Trends | Wedding Fashion Ideas

Embroideries on dresses are back. Especially the interplay of embellishment with sheers and overlaying it on strategically placed opaques.

Embroideries | Filling Stitch | Satin Stitch | Colourful Embroidery on Black | 2017 Trends | Inspiration for Fashion Designers | Fashion Design Ideas | Fashion Week Inspo | Pinterest Fashion Ideas | Design your dream saree and lehenga | Chai High is an Indian Fashion Blog started by Shivani Krishan | Bridal Trends | Wedding Fashion Ideas

Mixed textures are the rage, be it in the form of applique, or pairing contrasting fabrics together.

Fabrics | Mixed Textures | Embroideries | Embellishments | Indianwear | Indian Designers | 2017 Trends | Inspiration for Fashion Designers | Fashion Design Ideas | Fashion Week Inspo | Pinterest Fashion Ideas | Design your dream saree and lehenga | Chai High is an Indian Fashion Blog started by Shivani Krishan | Bridal Trends | Wedding Fashion Ideas

The off-shoulder trend ruled the western world. And while Manish Malhotra and Payal Singhal have brought it to India, a lot of scope for experimentation still remains.

Off-shoulder | Cold shoulder | Shoulder show | Frills | Indian off shoulder blouses | Saree Blouse Inspiration | Ethnicwear | Traditional clothes | Embellished blouses | Manish Malhotra |  Indianwear | Indian Designers | 2017 Trends | Inspiration for Fashion Designers | Fashion Design Ideas | Fashion Week Inspo | Pinterest Fashion Ideas | Design your dream saree and lehenga | Chai High is an Indian Fashion Blog started by Shivani Krishan | Bridal Trends | Wedding Fashion Ideas

There’s tons of inspiration out there. But sometimes, you need someone to put it all in order.

Someone like me. 😉

Have a fun weekend.

 

 

Monster Minds – An Artwork

Monster Thoughts | Digital Artwork | "I love sleep. My life has the tendency to fall apart when I'm awake, you know?" - Ernest Hemingway | Chai High is an Indian Fashion Blog started by Shivani Krishan

“I love sleep. My life has the tendency to fall apart when I’m awake, you know?” – Ernest Hemingway

I turn up the volume

to turn off the thoughts

in my mind.

The beats press down upon

the ebb and flow of my head

alternating between battering them into

submission and fanning them on

–  An empty shell one moment,

overflowing with thoughts

the consistency of stormy seas,

the next.

 

A quick guide to what to wear for New Years. (Even if you’re staying in).

Some of us are planning to drink and dance, some are planning house-party hopping and the rest are thinking of staying in and drinking wine under the covers. Well, whatever be your plan, here’s what we suggest you buy, to make your new-years a little more new. 🙂

Hope you enjoy this edit.

A knockout when going out

Nothing like a sheer, short number to dance the year away. Wear with leather ankle boots and gold jewellery.

Tulle and Knit Dress | Zara | Check it out here

A black tulle and knit dress by Zara - perfect for a New Year's Eve spent dancing | Chai High is an Indian Fashion Blog started by Shivani Krishan

Stay in like a kingpin

If you’re like me, you’d choose a warm, snuggly pair of sweatpants in a hue that’ll match the wine you’ll drink while Netflixing the hell out of 2016.

Sweatpants | H&M | Check it out here

Plum coloured H&M Trackpants for a News Year Eve spent cuddling under a blanket at home | Chai High is an Indian Fashion Blog started by Shivani Krishan

Beach vibes with your tribe

If you were smart enough to realise that you needed to get the hell out of the cities, this easy-breezy super-chic number is for you. Wear it while staying put on the beach from sundown to sunrise.

Ikat Jumpsuit | Khara Kapas | Shop here

A Khara Kapas Ikat jumpsuit for New Years Eve spent at the beach | Chai High is an Indian Fashion Blog started by Shivani Krishan

House party? You got yourself free beer, smarty.

You got yourself a free alcohol pass, which means you should splurge on a nice jumper for the occasion. A slouchy off-shoulder jumper is comfy, stylish and will keep you warm when you’re not dancing yourself sweaty.

Off-shoulder sweater | H&M | Check it out here

H&M off-shoulder pastel jumper | New year's eve fashion | Chai High is an Indian Fashion Blog started by Shivani Krishan

Sleeping early? Stay cozy.

If you want to stay away from all the hype and for once turn in at the right time  (something you’re hoping to carry forward to 2017), get this darling duvet from Nicobar.

Chevron Twin Duvet | Nicobar | Shop here

Chevron Duvet by Nicobar to stay in on New Years | Chai High is an Indian Fashion Blog started by Shivani Krishan

Well, that’s all for now. Have an amazing what-remains-of-2016 and make sure you draft realistic resolutions for the new year.

Love,

Shivani

 

 

Why we stay and lose in touch with friends from the past.

Note: While I was writing my first story about laughter and forgetting in my previous blog post, I felt this strange sense of liberation. Like this is what I was meant to write all this while. Like this was the topic I was sifting for, through the folds of my brain during languid train journeys and zoned-out moments at work. And that’s when I realised, I would convert all these snippets into blog posts – move them from memory to blog, where they would serve as reminders of a time long past, a time when happiness was real.

I don’t know what book it was (Milan Kundera’s Identity?), but the book basically says our friends are our tangible connections to our past –  If we lose our friends from the past, we lose our link to the past. And we risk losing a part of ourselves.

So we stay in touch with old friends for the mirror this friend holds out to us. And our friends stay in touch with us for the mirror we hold out to them. The mirror to our shared pasts that shelters shared memories –  a proof of having existed in a certain way in a certain period of time. A window to ourselves. A tangible proof of our existence. A key to our identity.

Which simply means, we need our friends to stay connected to the world and to ourselves.

And so even when we grow up into different people, we still look for those who transport us to our foundation. Who give credibility to our existence.

One of the most painful things is meeting a cherished person from the past and realising you have nothing in common with their present self.

At that point, you feel like you’ve lost a part of yourself with the other person. You feel confused, lost and start scrambling around – looking for your misplaced identity – the part of you that went missing with the other person. And in that confusion, you struggle to rediscover your new self. You are subconsciously thinking, “Okay, so s/he is this. So where does that leave me?” And little by little, the more “changed” old friends you meet, the more discomfort you feel. And after this long and tedious phase (that evolves not ends), you become closer and closer to finding out who you really are.

After the initial enthusiasm in the first few years after graduation – life, career and love swoop right in, tearing us all apart bit by bit. At that time, it gets really tough. For instance, in my case, I would lie awake, missing, hoping with all my heart to go back in time. Back to school when there was so much to look forward to. A time, when there was love in our hearts and fire in our souls. A time, when we were invincible.

And so to connect with the invincible part of ourselves, we call our friends from back in time and make plans. We fix a time and place and arrive there, looking sharp. However, take the setting of the past away, and we’re left incomplete. Two incomplete people staring at each other across the table, wondering what’s missing. Like two halves of different apples wondering how to fit together.

Has the mirror shattered? Are shattered pieces of yourself all you can see?

Sometimes, meeting people from the past is a reminder of all that’s missing. 

Meeting an old friend only to realise they’re nothing like what you remember of them, makes you want to do one of two things:

  1. Shut the door to the past with a firm thud
  2. Wish to time-travel back to the past

However, sooner or later, we all realise that we can’t live with one foot down the back door. We can’t keep hoping for some spell to transport us back in time. And we move on. 

Sometimes, when I meet a friend from the past, it seems as though I am meeting a stranger. A new person with new habits and new tastes, a striking resemblance to somebody I knew a decade ago.

We sit across, exchanging pleasantries, awkward silences dissipating only after a few drinks, when conversation drifts to talks of the past. The past is all we have in common. Our memories the only reason we meet. That’s when the pain gets unbearable. So intense that sometimes I choose to distance myself from this stranger I can’t connect to.

I don’t want my enthusiasm in rekindling the past to end up destroying the past.

I don’t want my memories to be tainted by any awkwardness and disagreements we might face in the present. I want my memories from back in the day to stay sheltered like pink and blue bubbles glowing in the sun. Bubbles I can gaze at as they drift away into nothingness. I don’t want to bring the bubble closer. I don’t want to risk bursting the happiest memories I’ve ever had.

Sometimes, losing touch is all I can do to protect the sanctity of the past.

And so I often find myself losing touch with old friends.

But at the cost of protecting the sanctity of my past, am I losing my identity?

Memories sometimes make life worth living. And stories worth telling.

Maybe, once when I have told all these stories and have shared every pleasant memory from my past,  I can safely attempt to rekindle those ties. To mend the tangible strings tying me to the warm, fuzzy feeling of the past. To repair the bridges now lying damaged by the passage of youth and self-discovery. To gaze at the mirror and hold a mirror out, without fear of it being shattered.

Till then, I am going to write. Write till my fingers hurt, and brain drains itself of every shred of hurt and loss. Write till I am empty of past dues. And filled with knowledge of myself.

Will it be too late then? Well, at least I’ll still have my blog posts.


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The blogpost of laughter and forgetting

I don’t know how many of you have read this Milan Kundera classic, but you don’t have to worry about it, as this post (as suspected) has nothing to do with this intriguing-insightful (yet slightly disturbing) novel.

Today, when I heard a colleague laugh it took me back in time to a memory I was on the verge of forgetting. This colleague has a very distinct laugh – one that consists of essentially two syllables or a repetition of one. Imagine a male voice with a slightly nasal twang, go – “Hain, Hain”. Well, that’s his laugh.

Speaking of disturbing laughs, I remember in school, my entire dormitory in 9th standard went on one of those laughter-therapy like sessions without knowing it was a thing. Basically, there was a girl in our class – a skinny little girl with braces and long frizzy hair who had this screechy laugh that would make anybody who heard her laugh, laugh. Her laugh was so funny, and so catchy that once we recognised it, we just wouldn’t stop asking her to voluntarily laugh. Often a couple of us would accompany her on her first “Ha Ha” to ease her into this game, so she didn’t feel awkward starting. And once we heard her, the rest of us would naturally burst into splits, our funny unique laughs causing this gorgeous girl to laugh even louder (and funnier), which caused us to laugh, and then her to laugh, and then us – resulting in a laughing marathon occupying a good party of our 2 p.m. to 3 p.m. rest hours, and disturbing our neighbouring dormitories too.

We’d just laugh and laugh for no reason. Just because it was so much fun. It felt so good, and we didn’t have anybody shoving “laughter therapy” down our throats either. It was something invented in the corner 9th std dorm by us 14-year-olds – one of the many creative games devised to amuse ourselves.

Her laugh started with a loud screech like  – “Haaaaaaiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiin” and would then break into little splutters of “hehehehheheeh” and then again she would take a deep breath and there would be a few continuous screeches like – “Haaaarghhhhhhh- Haaaarghhhhhhh – Haaaarghhhhhhh” – followed by a few more “hehehehheh” splutters –  and at this moment, I would be laughing so hard, holding my tummy with one hand, wiping the tears with the other – that pain itself was forgotten for a moment.

I had forgotten this long lost memory or rather it was buried between the folds of “adulting”stress and brokedom only to emerge at the behest of a colleague guffawing his “Hain Hein”.

Well, let me just say this – the corporate world sure has its moments.

P:S: I know I am digressing from the “Fashion” theme again, but please understand – I am absolutely obsessed with my schooltime shenanigans.

P.P.S: Stay tuned for more “forgotten” stories of laughter and other happy moments from boarding school.