Taramati in Pret ?
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The sounds of the ghunghroos of Taramati Baradari, the legendary, yet lesser-known courtesan of the 17th century, have not echoed loudly in history books. And when designer Anand Kabra promised to tell her tale, we were curious, excited and awaited his version of her heartbroken story through his silhouettes and colours on Day 1 at WIFW Spring-Summer 2013, being held at Pragati Maidan. However Kabra's collection titled "Taramati" was not moving. Thumbs up for putting a variety of silhouettes on the ramp – models sashayed down the runway in short dresses, long shirts, dhoti pants with transparent kurtas, long dresses, jackets with Nehru collars, saris with a centre slit, flowy shararas and salwars. Layering, as usual, played an important role. Kabra used easygoing fabrics such as malkha, cotton, lightweight silk, chiffon and georgette with a colour palette that comprised blue, white, black, red, ivory, lime and black.
But when did jackets with heavy zardozi work become pret? The last few garments – lehengas, shararas and jackets with ornate work – only highlighted the confusion in the collection. It would be unfair to say that it was an utter failure – the fabrics he used gave us the tickles, they were summery and easy. Kabra used jewellery by Mrinalini Chandra to his advantage as they took some of the starkness away from the clothes. He tried contemporarising it with use of geometrical prints like that of a spiderweb, but stuck to it for too long – a dress in the clue print, then pants, followed by a long shirt. Monotony was an added disadvantage. A dull spring?
The semi-classical tracks and the sound of rain and thunder couldn't save the show. Where was Taramati's world – the torrid affair with Sultan, the thunderous applause after her dance and the yearning? Go back a few months to Kabra's Autumn-Winter collection that he showcased at the same venue – that range, "Becoming Kami", was a stunner and oozed a sense of spirituality. Kabra's strength lies in that innate quality of being able to convert an idea into reality.
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