#oldwork

I recently had to go for an interview with an e-commerce company as a stylist. I am generally not the nervous one with interviews but this time I was because even though I have done a good amount of styling work as a freelancer but never was I interviewed as a stylist before. I wanted to show them the best of my work or something with more depth and storytelling. Beyond celeb styling or what I generally have been able to achieve for my blog till now. Believing that I had no record of it, I surprising found all the editorial work that I had done till now. I was feeling absolutely nostalgic to see these images.

This is back in the days, winter of 2010 when I was still exploring my career options, I got an exciting chance to work with a start up. It was a friend who invited me onboard to look after the fashion bit for a magazine.

You are clearly a one man army in a start up situation. This was the first issue of TLF and my first work where I conceptualised, sourced, booked and executed everything myself and was it fun. We were a small knit team of friends, trying to do something different.

The story came from discussions about an earth conscious mood and we moved to creating imagery which somehow embodied a cry or a voice of the current situation of our environment.

It is always such a pleasure to shoot with Rishabh Anupam Sahay. He is one friend I have always enjoyed working with and has long a name. This was our first collaboration as well.

Hah! Old times.

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Photographs by Rishabh Anupam Sahay.

Talent: Tatyana Timirova.

Hair and makeup by Ratul.

Styled by me.

Sahdev Hooda

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The bride and the groom

Culture

This has been the most fascinating wedding I have attended till now. The bride and the groom, both are my dear old friends and when they told me they were getting married in Ladakh, I didn’t know they were gonna do it in such a traditionally beautiful way. I was so amazed to look at their costumes with all the jewellery, accessories and the way everything was styled. The traditional robe, ‘Goncha’ is the traditional attire finished with a long scarf tied around the waist to hold and secure the wrap. The women’s costume is more detailed with gathered details on the waist and of course more ornamented with beautiful jewellery. It was a feast not just the stomach but for the eyes too. I will cover more about the wedding and few more interesting facts about a Ladakhi wedding in the next post. This post is focussed on the gorgeous couple and their majestic wedding outfits. Don’t they leave you awestruck?

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Photographed by me.

Sahdev Hooda

Suit it Indian

May life be filled with more travel plans and friends getting married at exotic locations.

I wore this look by NoughtOne (by Abhishek Paatni) for one of my dear friend’s wedding. The ‘bandhgala’ to me, is always appropriate for all indian occasions. I think it has been quite a while since I last wore a suit with a tie. Not the biggest fan of ties.

Made famous and followed by his name, the ‘Nehru Jacket’ is a style which I feel has a clear indian feeling attached to it. I recently blogged about a ‘bandhgala’ suit from another indian designer and I realise that they are spontaneously becoming a part of my personal style. This suit has a more modern edge with its crisp fabric and contemporary styling and details. One could even wear it with a mandarin collared shirt. I paired it with a bright blue shirt of mine. It was a perfect highlight for the light beige of the suit.

My friends poked fun at the look by calling it the look of Ladakh as the terrain is mostly rocky, hence beige and the blue of the sky is as clear and saturated as the shirt. I didn’t have much to argue about that and I laughed along with them.

I was once told at a French designer boutique that true luxury is reflected from the inside. Be it the finesse of the jacket lining or the way you maintained your drawers. Abhishek always scores well on that. I haven’t seen his office drawers but I am talking about his designs here. He always has a thought behind how he finishes the clothes he makes. Perfect highlights and impeccably finished insides. This is where a true gentleman would put his money.

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Shot in ‘Neh’ valley near Leh.

Photographed by Malvika Jain.

Softer lands. 

Something that Anuj Bhutani can never go wrong with is his colours. I have been an admirer of his work from the first time I went through his work. His refined sense of colour and fabric has always made see a great aesthetic value in his clothes.

I was going to Leh and Anuj can not be a miss. The moment I spoke to him about my plans of shooting in Leh, he knew what was it that he would like me to shoot. It started off with this beautiful jacket. I loved the volume of it and the quirky tie ups on the waist and the hem. The fluid cotton on the body of this jacket feels great to ear and the tonal embroidery on the lower left panel is absolutely beautiful. Subtle is the word when it come to this label. We matched it with a plain cotton kurta and ankle length pants from the same genius. His fits are always impeccable and it is a complete delight to be wearing Anuj Bhutani.

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This look was shot in a beautiful small village called “Nimmu”, very close to Leh .

Photographed by Malvika Jain.

Grunge that suits

This is the first coming together of my blog and the Label Suket Dhir. I am glad to personally know even the person Suket Dhir. He was my senior at college. Seeing Suket win the Woolmark prize was a complete delight. The collection looked brilliant and all the looks photographed beautifully well. That is not always easy with handloom fabrics. I have been trying to participate in the idea of promoting indian, hand-woven fabrics and this grungy suit from Suket Dhir is a great way to begin the process.

Not only does he research and know his slubby, textured fabrics well, he also sees a great amount of beauty in the craft that our country weaves. This easy cut suit is a great example of that. The perfect blue on the weave is detailed with wooden buttons and a paisley print silk lining. The pants are the most comfortable pair of formal pants I have ever worn. The volume and the cut of it does have a slight sense of nostalgia as I remember the members of my previous generations wearing loose boxy pyjamas along with their kurtas and ease with the breeze. I am really in love with this outfit. This is a must have for winters. The ensemble does have the perfect balance of everything that you look for in designer wear.

I look forward to another post soon with Suket where I would love to talk more about his design journey and how the his sensibility evolved from the fibre level of thinking and making.

Also, excuse me for putting a little extra photographs on this post. But this is only for the complete viewing pleasure as I loved the location we shot at. We shot this look at this lovely place before Rohtang called Sarchu. We stayed in a cottage on the banks of the river ‘Baaga’. Delightful is the word.

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Photographed by Rahul Lal.

 

Rock and Feathers

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If life is a journey then it all happens when you are on the way.

Shot on one of the most scenic roads I have ever experienced in my life, this all Huemn look is one of my all time favourites from the brand. The sleeves are everything in this look. The white chevron stripe breaking the feathers embellishment into the all black of the whole look has an outlandish impact. I knew it deserved a certain backdrop when I picked up the look but what in particular that was, i didn’t. While driving through the rocky terrain that leads to Leh, mesmerised and humbled by the beauty and enormity of nature around, this look effortlessly found its aesthetic relationship with the colors and textures and some unclear emotion of it.

We stopped at different spots which we thought were right, driving at the height of 5000m or more.The last set of pictures was actually shot at 5500m approx.

This strong and impactful look got its place in places I had never seen before.

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Photographed by Rahul Lal.

Special thanks to Rigzin Negi. My partner in crime since 2004.

Simplicity is the latest fashion.

Hey guys i wrote this piece around 2 and a half years back when I was working as a designer for a buying agency and had to produce endless research for a bunch of european brands. 
This post is a part of my first attempt at blogging. I was not at all regular at it but when I wrote, I tried to write with soul. I am gonna share another one soon. This one is specially quite close to my heart.
I am sharing a pic of my mother to just give a glimpse of my inspiration for this post.
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” Simplicity is the state or quality of being simple. It usually relates to the burden which a thing puts on someone trying to explain or understand it. Something which is easy to understand or explain is simple, in contrast to something complicated. Alternatively, as Herbert A. Simon suggested, something is simple or complex depending on the way we choose to describe it…[1] In some uses, simplicity can be used to imply beauty, purity, or clarity. Simplicity may also be used in a negative connotation to denote a deficit or insufficiency of nuance or complexity of a thing, relative to what is supposed to be required.”
Ahem! Taking you off the complex definition of simplicity, in my early teen years, I remember my mom telling me “simplicity is the latest fashion”. She not only said it but lived it as well. Always managed to look stunning even without a lipstick on. Completely oblivious to the complexities and nuances of projected female beauty, I remember her sense of style with no jewellery(she despises it), no bling, her classic colours and patterns in intricately woven silks for winters and fluent chiffons, georgettes and ‘taant‘ for summers and how she is perfection with the drape. Inspite of her classic taste in fabrics, it was her confidence, evident in her kind eyes and the million dollar smile that made her a presence one could not miss. She found her beauty in simplicity and it set her apart from the rest. Love you Mom!
Today I sit in a buying house, rigorously researching trends. Trying to live up to the expectation of developing the most updated styles. It can really get to you at times. To try and point an important(commercially viable) trend is more like a hit and trial method. With so much diversity and ever evolving trans-culture diffusion and faster breaking social boundaries, I have learnt to take refuge into simplicity. All you have to do is simplify someone’s great effort of creativity to something which fits into the current lifestyle and clothing culture. So I realise my mom’s early teaching was pretty universal and timeless. When you think about it you see how ageless and peaceful simplicity is. How liberating it is, how effortless it is and if I may say so, how right it is … always.
I have written in my previous post that today I/we see a big change in how people are learning to express themselves through what they wear and learn to stand out then to blend in. Yes, this could look like an odd hour to be bragging about simplicity with loud and in-your-face creativity(commerce commanding arts, as we all know it) in the popular music and entertainment culture. Yet, ultimately there is always graduation to a peaceful, zen like, monotonous state in everything. Be it from teens to adulthood, art deco to minimalism, Friday night to Monday morning.
Looking at this pattern one could say that If you are being simple with what you wear(or do), you are always ahead of time/trend. Please do not get me wrong! I am not suggesting anyone to reject all current trends but what I am implying is that a day of authentic denims and white shirt is never a bad day. The little black dress is a must have for girls for a reason and Apple products look class apart for a “simple” reason. Could there be more to come up with? Yes, endless ones.
Come up with your own one as simplicity is the beginning and end of a full circle.
If there is a learning to take from this ,then it is to enjoy and appreciate simplicity. It only helps you better at whatever you do.
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I thought it would be great to share one of the old pictures to end this post. This is probably not even a week after she got married to my father. The summer of 1980. The lady next to her is my Tai ji (aunt). How simply  beautiful are both of them in this photograph.

Visual Treats

Blessed with the monsoons, photographing around the farm house was such a visual treat. This is my last post from my trip back home. In this post, I have collected the best of the rest.

Completely for the viewing pleasure, this post has some of my favourite captures. And you know the best part is, it is good to share pictures that I clicked myself. The Nikon D5300 is an awesome DSLR. I will upgrade to a better lens. Till then, this is what I serve to you.

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Photographed by Sahdev Hooda.

Not so Wild Life.

 

This is a collection of a few glimpses of life around the farm house. A little off the humans, it has more about the flowers and fruits and the animal life around the farm. Now that I have been living in the city for quite a few years and don’t get to take my summer vacations to the farm, I realise, I was quite fortunate to have grown up seeing crops harvest, flowers turn to fruits and berries, other flowers which only blossom for they pure spectacle . See the cows being milked and have fresh morning tea with “taaza”(fresh) milk. The list is endless. To sum it up, it made me see life that I would never seen otherwise, in harmony with nature.

Thanks to the monsoon again, everything was in its full glory.

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Photographed by me, Sahdev Hooda.

Humans of the farmland.

Going back to the farm is a perfect break from the city. Not just because of the surroundings, also because of the people, the faces who inhabit it. Our farm house has two villages on  both the sides. There are always kids from these villages who are monkeying around, taking animals for their grazing trips. The moment I told them I want to click photographs of them, they exclaimed and ran closer to pose for it. I laughed for a few seconds before I started clicking them. They made me take loads of them but I tried to pick the ones that spoke slightly different from one another.

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These kids work and help around in running the daily chores of their homes. Little bothered about their schooling, they never seem in a low spirit. Always excited about something.

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The below capture was a beautiful sight that I myself was lucky to see. It is  not always that you witness this part of the process. Farming is about planting and then nurturing for a good time to come. Three women putting the seedlings in the field by hand on a regular cloudy day of the monsoons. The wait follows after that.

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This guy is “Riyasat bhaiya” for me. He started working at the farm probably when my dad was my age. Now he pretty much runs the work of the entire farmland and at times even single handedly. He is a master of his job. He has seven children now so he works even harder to provide for all of them. To me, he almost feels like family. He is the one who gets a hug and not a handshake when we meet.

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The above two photographs were clicked on the walk around the farm house. Mum, dad and our dog “Heera”. He always follows you, when you get out for a walk. Somehow, all the dogs I have seen over the decades have had this habit. They all pick it up.

These two below are my favourites from this lot. First one is of my mom. the most gorgeous woman I know. The second one is of my grandfather. It is his Farm house. He built it up along with my grandmother. Today he is 93 years old. His body has aged but his spirit is still of a child. Even though he has lost beloved wife, he still laughs more than me when we talk. When I told him that I want to click a photograph of him, he quickly got ready for the shot with his fresh kurta. The tractor behind him is quite the old guy to talk about at the farm. That tractor is 43 years old and still functional. This photograph is a story for me. A long story.

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