Tag Archives: Style

Ideart: Kathakali

I’m fascinated by Indian designs, motifs and art forms. Such vibrant colour! Such dazzling variety! I did a set of pieces called ‘Tandav’ using motifs and images from Indian dance forms. Sadly enough I didn’t think to take pictures back then and most of those garments have been worn out and discarded.

Kathakali (for the uninitiated) is a classical dance form from Kerala. The movements are small and detailed, all in the eyes and fingers. The costumes, especially for the men are the most delightful part of the dance. The make-up and costume apparantly take upto 6 hours to don. I was fascinated by the phlethora of colours on the Kathakali costume. This is my tribute to this grand art.

I used a plain black terrycot vest. It was a few years old and unused because it was too broad for me and the fabric wasn’t the soft, clingy variety that would look good, loose. It turned out to be perfect for holding an elaborate, heavy paint picture and the black background was just what I needed to offset all the colours. Black is the one colour that you won’t find in a traditional Hindu costume so it brought out the other colours really well.

I looked up a number of photographs of  Kathakali costumes before settling on this design. Instead of a complete costume as I had originally planned, I decided to concentrate on only the face since I felt the detailing of jewellery and make-up was a masterpiece in itself. My painting is a close-up of just the face of a Kathakali dance hero. The final result was a mixture of several different costumes that I saw.

The painting looks very elaborate but was actually very simple to execute. The lines were clean, I didn’t need to use any shading and the drama in the piece comes from the vibrant colours.

I outlined the face with a sliver of soap. The outline took several tries before I could get it to be perfectly symmetrical and even then I did make one side slightly larger. The thing about fabric paints is that you never erase, you  just paint over or improvise, which is what I did here. The curve on the right of the face was actually smoothened out by painting over with Fevicryl no.02 Black. Okay, I cheated. 🙂

The bottom piece is Fevicryl no.27 White. I refrained from using silver (even though it would catch the light well) because I wanted to retain the authenticity of the image. The jewellery was  Fevicryl no.352 Pearl Metallic Gold and for the sapphires, I used  Fevicryl no.32 Cerulean Blue. I had actually used plain red for the jewels but it didn’t look as impressive, especially since the swirls on the headpiece were the same colour, so I painted over with the metallic range.

Initially I had thought I’d leave the eyebrows and kohl edging unpainted since the background was black. However after finishing the rest of the piece, those areas looked dull (on account of the shiny dry paint) so I finished them up with  Fevicryl no.02 Black. I also outlined every border between two colours in the same black. This makes the colours stand out better and should be used only when shading is not used.

Incidentally I painted this piece when I was nearing the end of my colour stock so I also used the opportunity to clear out the little remaining paint that I had in most of my bottles. Hence there are some uneven splashes of colour here and there that are not duplicated elsewhere (because I ran out of that shade!). I think it adds to the vibrancy of the piece without any one colour making a statement in itself. I wanted the facial green and white edging to be the central focus.

The one tricky bit was the face itself. Having finished the big areas of colour, I was left with a bright piece which did not quite look human. Adding lines on a sketch of a face is always risky since it can make your subject look old. I used a hairfine brush to add a few strokes for nose. The laughlines were an afterthought and I actually drew them too long which made the face look pulled down. So I corrected by painting over with the facial green. A couple of spots on the right corner of the face and little dash under the lower lip made it seem more human.

Since the vest was still too big for me, with gaping, wide armholes, I teamed this up with a bright green FabIndia shirt. The shirt itself was an impulse buy and I didn’t quite know what to wear it with since the cut was too severe for casualwear and the colour too bright for office. Since only the sleeves are visible, it matched the green face paint of the dancer well. I’ve always worn this with classic blue straight-fit jeans but I daresay straight black pants could add a slightly more evening-formal look. If I was feeling upto going all gypsy, I’d wear this over a flowing skirt.


(If you like this piece, watch for Desert Dancers, another other Tandav piece that I’ll write about, shortly)


Garment: Sleeveless waist-length vest

Material: Terrycot

Background colour: Black

Paint colours used:

  • Fevicryl no.27 White
  • Fevicryl no.o2 Black
  • Fevicryl no.32 Cerulean Blue
  • Fevicryl no.352 Pearl Metallic Gold
  • Red
  • Yellow
  • Green

* Cross-posted to Divadom.


If you liked this post, also see:

Other Indian designs at Kolam and Desert Dancers.

I Style! – Biting Nuts

I was just about to give up on this section as I found it rapidly running out of options. What’s more, it has gotten a little tiresome to discover that even the wildest of us only show our individuality in our footwear!

Then, like a ray of neon, electric-strobe light, Sushant waltzed in. Let me introduce you to my pal. I first met Sushant at a formal dinner with friends, where another member of the gang was all set to introduce us all to her fiancé, Shawn. Sushant strode into Del Italia a little late, grabbed Shawn and demanded,

Tu hi hai kya be, teri wajay se mereko itna traffic mein aana pada??

(Is it you, you’re the reason I’ve had to wade through traffic?? – okay, forget it, it belies translation from Bambaiyya)

Shawn hollered back,

Haan be, itna late kyon aaya?

(Yeah dude, why the hell are you so late?)

Needless to say they hit it off like a house on fire. Somewhat appeased, Sushant turned to the waiter serving us tall glasses of wine with our pasta and asked,

Ae, daaru ke saath kuch bitings milega kya?

(How about ‘bitings’ with the booze?)

The waiter, I’m afraid, not in possession of Shawn’s oratory skills was left dumbstruck and returned a little later with the requisite ‘bitings’.

So this is the rockstar of the group, Sushant. The last time the gang caught up, Sushant sauntered into Bombay Blue and I whooped with glee.

The tee-shirt titled ‘I’m going Nucking Futs!’ would have been enough to get anyone into I Style! But Sushant takes it a few steps further. Tag Heure ke chashme, woh bhi orange framewaale, kya baat hai, boss! Here’s the man himself, giving us an Emran Hashmi look.

Biting Nuts!

Biting Nuts!

Sushant, saviour of I Style!, you’re truly Futs but you’re a rockstar!


* Cross-posted to Divadom.

Ideart: Peacock

This is the first of a series of posts on my artistic experiments. I realised that since each work is a story in visual form, I can write a post about it too. This is one of my recent success stories. I’ve only worn it twice!


Purple was an unusual colour for a background. This was a pretty dark shade, almost a brinjal-like shade so light and bright colours would show well. However unlike black that has a solid personality of its own and pretty much offsets anything that contrasts it, purple is a more – shall we say – malleable colour? The combination of colours you choose sets the tone for how you interpret purple.

For example, teamed with vermillion and gold, it would cue royalty, the way monarchs of old would wear it. You’d imagine velvet (purple) edged with rich brocade (the other colours). On the other hand matched with hot pink, it would be more funky-punk. Line up purple with black and you have futuristic, especially if edged with silver.

I decided to try a different tack. I’ve always been fascinated by the peacock’s spectrum of colours. Vibrant blues, indigo, violet, green, turquoise and yellow. It was probably a bit of a risk putting all those against a purple background since purple does belong to a related colour-family (on account of the blue but different because of the red in it).

The garment is a thin cotton vest that I bought off the roadside. The fabric was thin enough to absorb all the paint and stiffen when it dried, which was ideal since I was painting across the whole front and it would lose appeal unless the entire picture was on display.

I’m not great at sketching animals so I decided to focus on the vivid colours instead. There was no sketching involved here. I just lined the peacock’s head in thin white line (which was subsequently coloured over) and went splash-dunk into a riot of colour (my favorite technique). I think it came out pretty well.

For each feather, I started with the outer-most colour (Fevicryl no.12 Light Green) and then painted over with each inner layer in the following order – Fevicryl no.32 Cerulean Blue, Fevicryl no.352 Pearl Metallic Gold and Fevicryl no.46 Bamboo. I touched up a few of the feathers with Fevicryl no.305 Pearl Blue so the sheen in the colour would catch the light. The plumes and eye were done in Fevicryl no.301 Pearl White while the beak was Fevicryl no.355 Pearl Metallic Bronze.

I have a dusky skin tone which normally looks sallow with such a dark colour but since it is  matched by the feather highlights and contrasted by the bright blues and greens, I think I carry it off well. I team it up with jeans, usually a dark blue. The last time I wore this, a gusty wind swirled around making me feel like I really was welcoming the monsoon.


Garment: Loose waist-level vest

Material: Thin cotton

Background colour: Purple

Paint colours used:

  • Fevicryl no.12 Light Green
  • Fevicryl no.46 Bamboo
  • Fevicryl no.32 Cerulean Blue
  • Fevicryl no.301 Pearl White
  • Fevicryl no.305 Pearl Blue
  • Fevicryl no.352 Pearl Metallic Gold
  • Fevicryl no.355 Pearl Metallic Bronze


* Cross-posted to Divadom.

Giggly Girls & Credit Cards: Confessions Of A Shopaholic

I am not a shopaholic. I’m not, I’m not, I’m not!! And for those of you who gasped in shock/amazement/incredulity (or don’t follow my idea-tweets, here are some of the Confessions of a Shopaphobic:

  • I don’t hate spending money, it’s the dressing room trials that get me down!
  • I don’t hate toting shopping bags, but I do hate it when they get crushed in the crowd!
  • I don’t regret having too much stuff; I just hate not having the place to put it all in!
  • I don’t miss having a man accompany me; I just hate not having someone else to blame my bad choices on!
  • I’ve no problem with cut-price sales; it’s the sharp nails (claws!) and trampled feet that get me down!
  • Window-shopping makes me feel like a tease: Foreplay which does not result in a climax!!
  • Environment-friendly: I’ve no problems with the price tags; I just dont like the credit card bills!!

What a pity Becky Bloomwood doesn’t know me. But if she did, we might not have the latest chick-lit offering that’s all set to send women across the world oohing, aahing, this-is-better-than-an-orgasming over it. Don’t believe me?

I picked up the first book at Heathrow airport, causing my very stiffy-upper-lipped (and cute!) British companion to remark,

That’s the one all the girls are mad about, innit?

From Mumbai to London (or should that be the other way since the heroine is British?), Sophie Kinsella is the reigning queen of chick-litdom. Her first book The Secret Dreamworld of a Shopaholic, sparked off an American version which is the one the movie is based on, thus Becky is a dollar-billing New Yorker. As you’d expect the movie is a glitzy, glamourous look at the Big Apple where skinny women tote Prada and totter about on Gucci as they sigh in envy at skinnier women in Jimmy Choos. The look is very Sex and the City, though the feel is more candy-floss ‘Someday my prince will come’. Prepare for dreamy eyes, dreamy sighs, gush and mush.

Confessions of a Shopaholic has all the classic ingredients of a good ol’ rom-com chickflick – fabulous clothes, unrealistic (but beeyootifool) shoes, accessories to die for, great friends, kissing on the beach and a droolsome hunk (to kiss). The plotline is pretty basic (but then you weren’t into chicklit for the intriguing storylines, were you?) and sweetened with pretty faces, zippy lines and fabulous montages. If the jokes seem a little predictable, they are but then again, they’re set in candy-fluff charm so you don’t really worry too much. It’s like a little kid telling a story, you’ve heard it, you’ve seen it but she’s so cute, you can’t help but listen to it over again and applaud at the end of it. Realism is another thing that you’d be better off not expecting from this movie. It’s an all out light-hearted chickflick, not meant to be taken seriously or examined too closely. Enjoy the giggly glitz and have an evening of girly fun!

It is also rather ironic that this movie’s release coincides with a time when the US is reeling under the aftermath of its excessive (pre-consuming) consumerist lifestyle. I’m not really sure how well this movie will do in the US markets since the audience there might just find it too hard to digest the disparity between their seemingly endless problems and how the heroine’s gargantuan debts are magicked away.

The movie led me to wonder exactly what makes a person a shopaholic. There is one telling point (and the one and only profound/intelligent moment) and it comes right at the start as the heroine tells us about her childhood, growing up with sensible (read frugal and boring) parents who believed in saving for a rainy day. The child that she is, is overawed by the shiny, magical things that can be possessed by those greater beings wielding pieces of plastic. When she grows up, she never quite gets used to the feeling that she is now one of them.

I so identified with that. I always wanted to be able to walk into a shop and know I could walk out with anything that my heart desired (it was on my ‘list of things I want’, the one I made when I was seventeen). When I started working , I was beseiged with people who wanted to give me credit cards, surround me with lovely things and reward me for shopping with them. It was a heady feeling, being able to flash that shiny little piece of plastic and have them put into my hands any manner of lovely things that I didn’t need, could well live without but just…could buy!

Incidently I also really liked the interplay between the maniacally consumerist Becky Bloomwood and the straight-shooting, cool-and-sensible Girl in a green scarf. Alter egos are a special thing with me and you’ll get what I mean when you watch the movie.

Isla Fisher as the scatter-brained heroine was charming and completely believable in her wide-eyed shock/innocence/awe/mischief. Hugh Dancy played his role of Luke Brandon to the tee (but then all he really had to do was look good in that tousle-haired millionaire way). I thought Robert Stanton was hilarious as the villian (debt-collector) of this girl-fantasy – the personification of brown/gray tweedy boringness in a world of bling.

I won’t spoil the story for you though if you’re keen on watching it, you’ve probably read the series already (and need I mention, female?!). Suffice to say that if you’re looking for a warm, glamorous, mushy, sparkly, feel-good movie to giggle over with your girlfriends, queue up at the box office on Friday night!

This preview was brought to us courtesy The Social Media Catalyst. I also had the delightful company of these lovely ladies: Ankita, Tharusha, The Polka Dot and Rehab (Don’t get me started of the sheer irony of Amy Winehouse singing the movie’s theme song while I sat next to the song’s namesake!). I wore a short flowery, flowy skirt and carried a pinky-pink bag. Ankita giggled and dared us a silly dare while Tharusha smiled silent Sphinx like at ‘Do you really have to go to work tonight?’. We did some girl stuff involving Mohitos and phone number-fishing at a bar. The Polka Dot whipped off her sensational heels and changed into sensible flats just after we left. And then we giggled all the way home.

I Style! – Halloween Hangover

And so we welcome her back with open arms, to Mumbai and to the blogosphere again!! Presenting the rockstar Bolly-blogger, Sakshi Juneja! *Drumrollllllll*

At my first Start-up Saturday , feeling fairly unintelligent, I wandered through the important-sounding conversations happening around me. And then I spotted her. She never fails to get ya, does she? Either it’s her spunky, spiky slippers or her Rakhi Sawant obsession or…her bag. Presenting for the second time round, this blog’s god-momma makes another appearance on I Style!

Here’s what she was spotted toting on that weekend.


Take a closer look….


And here’s something she brought to the Kala Ghoda Art Festival (where I also spotted another I Style!er)


To be quite sure, I’ve seen this second one on someone else but that was later. The original remains Sakshi, bolly-blogger and bloggy-rockstar!


I Style! – Beautiful Buggers

We do seem to have a rather strong foot festish here at I Style!, don’t we? Hmm, it seems to me like the only place we’re truly comfortable tucking away our individual style, is under our feet. The shoe-mania continues with something I spotted in one of the Catwalk stores that carried a ‘SALE!’ signboard.

I would have bought this pair, I swear I would have. The only problem is that since the bugs would be under the arch of my foot, they wouldn’t be visible. And methinx the style that doesn’t show isn’t stylish at all!! Even so, I’d love to have them up on my shoe-rack where people can see them. This is soooo my style, I Style!


* Cross-posted to Divadom.

I Style! – Happy Feet

Welcome to another episode of I Style!

It has been awhile since the last viewing and that’s because I haven’t spotted too many interesting people lately. The weather was probably playing havoc on people’s spirits and mine were flagging as well until someone decided to brighten up my day!

Richie walked past me on a grey afternoon while I was staring morosely at the watery sunlight. In his olive tee-shirt and jeans he might have been just another good-looking young man. Until my gaze drifted down to his shoes. Drifted down I say but really I ought to say, ‘snatched away by his shoes’.

Well, look at them! Don’t they grab your attention instantly? Red shoes I’ve seen, blingey sandals but what’s all that compared to a sunshine yellow on anotherwise dull day? For carrying off that daring yellow so well, for giving us something lively to look at and for brightening up my day, Riche makes it to I Style!


* Cross-posted to Divadom.

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