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A Sari in London on a Rickshaw

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Indian Fashion Designers Abraham & Thakore in Payal Jain's Musical
A Sari in London on a Rickshaw
11 th Feb 2012

One of Abraham & Thakore's black silk saris with an inlaid cycle rickshaw, worn high and short, not with a choli but an applique tunic tucked into the waist with a leather belt and high mojri shoes, has been chosen to live permanently at the Victoria & Albert Museum of London. This piece, incidentally, has another story peeping out of its seams. It is from the duo’s Autumn-Winter 2010 collection shown in Delhi two years ago, as part of their first ever show in the 25 years of their work. No one is surprised that Abraham and Thakore are the chosen ones. Products of Ahmedabad’s National Institute of Design, now one of the most veteran creator pairs in Indian fashion, they are also among the few who have shown an unwavering commitment to Indian textiles. Cling and bling doesn’t sway them, nor do Bollywood showstoppers distract from their design. “When we made this sari and showed it on the ramp, some people wondered about it being black because it is not the most auspicious colour after all,” says Abraham, confessing he is more intrigued than anything else with this choice. With pieces that span more than 3,000 years and represent the world’s global cultures, the V&A has a permanent collection that tops four million pieces, making it the world’s largest decorative arts museum. It houses a wide range of East Asian decorative arts, a fashion and jewellery section that ranges from the 17th century till today, even a Nehru Gallery of Indian Art. This black Indian sari (a piece of vernacular Indian dressing as Abraham calls it) with a cycle rickshaw on it isn’t an incidental choice. In the world’s palpably evolving curiosity about India’s design movement, the cycle rickshaw is as important a motif as the sari is a field.

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