Get subscribed to our newsletter
Get interesting updates to your email inbox.
By Sujata Assomull
Like so many fashion words, “couture” is a term that tends to be used very loosely. Translated from its French origins, the phrase means “high sewing”. In France (considered to be haute couture’s original home), it is so revered that it is protected by law; to show at Paris, you need to comply with strict guidelines.
Paris’ first couture house is considered to be Charles Fredrick Worth, who set up his label in 1858. While couture has adapted with time, it has also stood the test of time. The last edition of Paris’s Haute Couture Week took place earlier in July, it was a digital format event for the first time.
In India Couture Week (ICW) is all of 13 years old and is an annual not seasonal event. This year it will be in digital or virtual format and starts September 18. If you think of high sewing– this country is in many ways the global epicenter of couture. India’s rich and diverse legacy of unique artisanship means that many of the finest pieces of couture are created at local export ateliers. From Armani to Valentino, European luxury houses look to India for their craftsmanship.
Follow NewsGram on Twitter to stay updated about the World news.
Couture shows play a very special role in the prestige and perception of a luxury house and sometimes are less about profit. But then, they sell everything from lipsticks to bed linen. Right now, in the middle of a pandemic, you might be wondering how these very expensive bespoke dresses made for special occasions really matter?
In India, couture is the bread and butter for many designers. The industry’s apex body, The Fashion Design Council of India (FDCI) organises the ICW, and its president Sunil Sethi, says, “India as a country is known for its craftsmanship, all over the globe. Couture is a canvas where designers use their creative impetus, as a playground for fresh ideas whether it’s motifs, embroidery, or inspirations.” There are no real rules governing couture in India. Sethi adds,
“Frankly, couture in India is mostly about bridal and this is where the money is. It is an intrinsic part of our culture. In recent times there has been a welcome addition of gowns for the red carpet and other functions.”
The Indian bridal market was estimated by KPMG to be worth around $50 billion in 2017 and grows at around 20 per cent every year. Only the US spends more on weddings than India. It is during the wedding season that Indians splurge on fine fashion and expensive jewellry, and this is the reason most international luxury brands want a base in India-they want a part of that spend. And as gowns have now become accepted dress for the reception function or the welcome dinner, they have managed to nibble into some of the pie.
Want to read more in Hindi? Checkout: 47 शिक्षक राष्ट्रीय पुरस्कार से सम्मानित
However, the big fat Indian wedding is going to have to go on a diet as it marries itself with the “New Normal.” If you see the list of designers taking part it includes Amit Aggarwal, Gaurav Gupta and Rahul Mishra who considered the new guard of Indian couture. The forced pause has made many introspect and fashion is still figuring out how to embrace the new world order. Notably missing from this September’s edition of ICW are some of the modernizers of Indian fashion — Anamika Khanna, Anita Dongre, Abu Jani and Sandeep Khosla, to name but a few.
“Couture is part of India, it’s the home of artisans, and bespoke clothes for weddings are part of its culture. Couture has been bridal in India, but couture is changing,” says Gaurav Gupta, a designer known for his fantastical couture showings. Fellow participating designer Amit Aggarwal states, “Couture for me is a feeling. It sets the tone for the whole year. The pret line, festive drops all expand on the language and art that the couture collection sets in place.”
Also Read: Ashtottaram 14: OṀ AHIMSĀBHŨMYAI NAMAH
With many designers being dependent on couture for their business it of course is in their interest to push the concept of big weddings. Though many young brides are looking for something intimate, a new grandness. Of course weddings are still happening, while they are not the multi day extravaganzas there once more — there is still a demand for “the dress”. But can it really be the driving force of a whole industry any longer?
Couture’s intrinsic artisanal nature makes it an important part of the “Vocal for Local” movement and it’s timeless approach to fashion is a fit with the current drive towards sustainability. So, there are lots of reasons to believe couture will remain relevant.
ICW’s digital format is not only practical in these times of social distancing but also pushes designers to embrace new age practices. This edition could prove to be a turning point and bring new joy to couture – if (and only if) designers embrace these new conversations and do not just rely on the traditional bridal market. (IANS)
Prior to the brutal second wave of the pandemic, Prime Minister Narendra Modi had cautioned civil services probationers against developing the despised "babu mindset". He gave the invaluable piece of advice while addressing civil services probies at the well-known Lal Bahadur Shastri National Academy of Administration in Mussoorie via video-conferencing. He also outlined the keystone mantra of "minimum government and maximum governance".
With the recent collapse of the under-construction flyover in Bandra Kurla Complex which injured 14 labourers, it seems like the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) has got the PM's keystone mantra all wrong. The recent flyover collapse isn't an isolated incident, in fact, a month ago a similarly bemusing incident took place in the eastern part of the suburbs.
On 1st August 2021, the honourable Chief Minister of Maharashtra Shri. Uddhav Thackeray inaugurated a flyover in the eastern part of the suburbs. In his inaugural speech, he quipped the BMC to smoothen the rough road surface. The BMC swing into action and the surface of the flyover was swiftly re-worked upon. But, instead of smoothening the pre-existing rough surface, the shoddy repair work added to the problem. To top it all off, the BMC added a barrage of speed breakers and rumbler strips on the bridge.
The shoddy repair work combined with a plethora of speed breakers caused long congestions on the Mankhurd-Ghatkopher stretch, ultimately killing the purpose of building the bridge. Moreover, after numerous accidents of motorbikes skidding on the bridge during the rain and the subsequent death of a rider the bridge was closed for traffic.
The construction of the flyover commenced in February 2016 at an approved cost of ₹500 crores. The project was slated to be delivered in January 2019 but was delayed multiple times. The BMC had also made a design change in the flyover by adding a connector to the Deonar dumping ground due to which the construction cost of the flyover was increased to over ₹700 crore. The flyover was expected to bring relief to the traffic on Ghatkopar-Mankhurd Link Road but instead, it added to the existing traffic woes. On a concluding note, the maximum city of Mumbai runs on barely minimum governance, literally.
Keywords: Mumbai, Narendra Modi, Civil Services, Governance.
Along with the undeniable natural beauty, the Kashmir valley has developed a reputation for adventurous activities like trekking, hiking, and river rafting. Kashmir has maintained its charm, allowing us to time-travel into beautiful destinations which make one forget about the stress and worries of life. The hikes in Kashmir offer adventurers to go on a self-discovery trip through nature's lap over the mountains while taking in the breathtaking scenery that surrounds them on their journey. In addition to the hikes, there are many thrilling adventure activities, like rock climbing, rope climbing, etc. Trekking across the region of mountains and lakes will allow you to experience living in the "Paradise on Earth," and you wouldn't want to return to your regular life after that.
The following are some of the finest hiking destinations in Kashmir:
#1: Kashmir Great Lakes Trek: You will be transported to a heavenly and unseen aspect of Kashmir on the Kashmir Great Lakes Trek. In addition to three high-altitude passes and five river valley crossings, this is the only trip in the Himalayas that includes seven alpine lakes, each of which is a stunning shade of green, blue, or turquoise. The extravagance is limitless and breathtakingly stunning every day: infinite blue sky, a larger-than-life backdrop of the Rocky Mountains, colourful meadows overflowing with wildflowers, river crossings are just a few examples of what you will encounter during the trek.
You will be transported to a heavenly and unseen aspect of Kashmir on the Kashmir Great Lakes Trek. | Photo by prayer flags on Unsplash
#2: Sonamarg-Vishansar-Bandipora Trek: The Sonamarg-Vishansar-Bandipora trek is a one-of-a-kind experience that provides a glimpse into Kashmir's undiscovered regions. Sonamarg, famously known as the Meadows of Gold, is the starting point for this fascinating journey that is the perfect experience for anyone looking to get away from the frantic tourist rush. This trek is a fascinating journey that allows nature enthusiasts to bask in the splendour of nature's grandeur. The trek goes over many high mountain passes, some as high as 4000 metres in elevation. The hiking route, in addition to providing breathtaking views of the magnificent Vishansar Lake, provides visitors with the chance to see more than 50 alpine lakes.
Sonamarg, famously known as the Meadows of Gold, is the starting point for this fascinating journey. | Photo by YASER NABI MIR on Unsplash
ALSO READ: Top 10 Beautiful Sights To VIsit In Kashmir
#3: Tral-Narastan-Marsar Trek: The Tral-Narastan-Marsar trek is filled with a range of exciting experiences from beginning to end. The hiking trail passes past a waving saffron field, beautiful meadows, and several streams. The path also crosses the Dachigam National Park, where there is an opportunity to see various animal species. Trekkers may take in spectacular views of the high mountains running parallel to them as they cut and pass through Narastan, a Hindu pilgrimage place.
The Tral-Narastan-Marsar trek is filled with a range of exciting experiences from beginning to end. | Wikimedia Commons
#4: Chhatargul-Mahlish-Gangabal: The journey, which passes through beautiful locations such as Chattargul, Mahlish, Kolsar, and Trunkul, provides a peek into an utterly uninhabited wilderness of Kashmir. There are lakes and meadows adorned with flowers along the route as one trek into the alpine wilderness. Trekkers can also enjoy fishing in the crystal clear lakes, camping, or just seeing towering snow-capped mountains while on their journey.
There are lakes and meadows adorned with flowers along the route as one treks into the alpine wilderness. | Wikimedia Commons
#5: Kolahoi Base Camp Trek: The Kolahoi Base Camp trek in Kashmir has been famous since the early 1900s and has been a goal for many seasoned hikers from across the world. While Srinagar serves as the beginning point for the trip, it is in Aru Valley that the actual hiking begins. The Kolahoi Base Camp Trek is a gentle adventure that is ideal for novices and families with children. The breathtaking sight of the peaks rising into the sky on the horizon of the Pirpanjal and Karakoram ranges is certainly worth capturing. It is considered to be one of the most popular treks in the Kashmir valley.
The Kolahoi Base Camp Trek is a gentle adventure that is ideal for novices and families with children. | Wikimedia Commons
Kashmir's natural splendour, with its beautiful valleys and towering mountains, is really unlike anywhere. Trekking through various valleys and peaks while taking in the scenic beauty is something that always calms the heart and provides us with memories that we will remember for a lifetime.
Keywords: Kashmir, Lakes, Alpine, Hiking, Trekking, Treks, Sonamarg, Gangabal, Kolahoi, Chhatargul, Mahlish, Tral, Narastan, Marsar
The Pitru Paksha starts after the Full Moon day, and this day marks the beginning of the waning phase of the Lunar cycle. This event is roughly of 15-day period, and is of great significance. From this day, rituals like Tarpan or Tarpanam and Shradh are carried out to pay respects to dead relatives and ancestors.
It is believed that from the very first day till the last day, the unhappy souls of the deceased return to the Earth to see their family members. So, in order to ensure that the dead attain Moksha, i.e. to get liberation, family members of these souls quench their thirst and satisfy their hunger by performing the Pind Daan, which includes offering food consisting of cooked rice and black sesame seeds. The literal meaning of Pind Daan is the act of satisfying those who no longer exist physically.
For fifteen days, prayers are offered in temples and rituals are performed to help the souls get free from the cycle of birth, life, and death, and attain salvation.
At the same time, the Pitru Paksha is also an important period for people with Pitru Dosha, which means the curse imposed by the ancestors. Hence, in order to ask forgiveness, people perform Shradh rituals and offer food to the crows, who are considered as living beings that represent the dead. It is believed, if the crow eats the offered food, the ancestors are happy and pleased. But, if the crow doesn't eat the offered food and flies away, the ancestors are not happy.
The event of Pitru Paksha is widely observed by Hindus from all over the world, and they perform prayers and rituals in order to gain their ancestors blessings.