Posts Tagged ‘individual style’

Shoes that built cities

November 3, 2010

Bata shoe company is not Indian but there have been good reasons to believe so. Introduced in the country in 1930s, during the time of British rule, in the middle of social and political chaos, I am not sure who wore Bata shoes except for the British..but five decades later, in the 80s, everyone was wearing them. With plenty of stores in every city, print ads in newspapers and magazines, Bata established strong recall value. And due to its simple and economical character, it slowly became every commoner’s shoe.

Bata shoes were also popular amongst school kids. If I remember well, the local shops selling school uniforms would always direct one to Bata stores for school shoes. The company has been around in India for almost a generation and it seems that India is where it originated from. The name sounds Indian. Good thing, Tomas Bata didn’t use his first name. But then, over a period of time, even a fancy European or American name could seem Indian…for example the toothpaste – Colgate. In many villages and small towns, Colgate still means toothpaste…and my guess is, for a long time, the term Bata was synonymous for shoes.

The company was founded in 1894 by Tomas Bata, the Henry Ford of Eastern Europe, in the city of Zlin, Czech Republic. Bata wanted to make the shoes as affordable as possible so that the greatest number of people could access them. He initiated a policy to set up townships around the factories for the workers and to supply schools and welfare. In building an ideally structured living environment, he attempted to create a “new industrial man.”

During its global expansion in the 1930s, the company started to set up villages all over the world called Batavilles. It established itself in Calcutta and started manufacturing shoes in a village Batanagar, which now is a suburban town.

Today, Bata has a retail presence in over 50 countries, with production facilities in 26 countries, and has sold more than 14 billion pairs of shoes.

The advertisement on the right is from a Polish weekly newspaper. The ad reads – “Peace to men of good will. Merry Christmas.” I think the ad is trying to show that the three kings are wearing Bata shoes, which made the trip possible, or maybe that’s reading too much in to it.


Ibadariakar,24. Freelance stylist.
Cardigan – Sarojini Nagar  Market
Brooch – Globus
Shoes – Bata
Socks – Shillong street


Edited by an old school girl.


Lou Lou

October 25, 2010

Lou Lou is 65. She designs houses, gardens, and interiors.
Kurta dress/Shoes – Self designed
Pants – Fab India
Belt – Flea market at Anjuna Beach

The luxury of not caring

May 18, 2010

Koos Faber, Rad Hourani, Steve Strange, Klaus Nomi, Ville valo, Michael monroe & Helmut Newton all have three things in common – they’re all men, icons of androgyny in modern culture and not from India. Then I came across some small text written by who knows who, “Androgyny was found to be more predominant in certain traditional cultures such as India, was particularly predominant among Indian males, and it wasn’t a product of western culture.”

So where’re all the androgynous Indian men? Not like there is a database for them but I performed a search and found nothing. I can’t think of any Indian actors or musicians. But there’re some designers. (names please?). My knowledge about designers is limited and maybe they’re not talked about in this context but I’d like to know if you know. Quite a long introduction, but that was all to say that I found an androgynous person. And it’s a boy!!

Vir is a club kid(with traces of Macaulay Culkin’s character from Party Monster) & an Unidentified Modeling Object in his own right. His hairdo is similar to what Kristen Stewart has been sporting lately and they both are oblivious to this fact. His friends claim he exudes style. People usually confuse him for a girl. I did too.

“Yes that happens a lot and there’s nothing i could do but laugh.”

“Music, film & fashion industries have  always played an influential role in advancing a challenging perspective on human sexuality for modern times. In the 1980s, androgynous musicians — Boy George, David Bowie, and Prince — made headlines as they captured the world’s fascination with sexual ambiguity.”

Somehow, I wish this was true for India as well. I wish the film & music industry could inspire a trend towards self-exploration emphasizing individual freedom and self-realization, blurring the line between feminine and masculine fashion.

“Vir started working as a make-up artist around two and a half years ago and in time, diversified into doing hair and fashion styling because of the demand generated by his friends.

“I did my first make-up assignment for a friend when I was 16. She was going for a birthday party…something pink and silver…is all that i remember of it.”

Vir says, most of his clothes are from Mango because they suit his body type, his style, and are comfortable.
“An androgynous style would lack an open expression of ‘womanhood’ or ‘manhood’ and would not necessarily accentuate masculine or feminine features but rather celebrate the idea of just being.”

doo doo doo – doo doo doo doo…you’ve got your mother in a whirl. She’s not sure if you’re a boy or a girl.
– David Bowie
Striped shirt > United Colors Of Benetton
High-waist balloon 3/4ths > Mango
Belt > Charles & Keith
Python leather clutch > Aldo
Metal studded blue booties > Nine West
Aviators > Dolce&Gabbana

Vir Shete|Look 1

May 15, 2010
Vir Shete is a 19 year old make-up artist. He works as a freelancer and this September he will be off to study at London school of fashion. Vir had complete freedom to choose whatever clothes he wanted to be photographed in. My contribution to his looks was through our telephonic conversations which required me to say, “Umm yes, that will be fine. Yes, that too and that too.”
This is first of the 5 looks that defines his wardrobe.
“I don’t wear make-up on a regular daily basis besides eye-kohl, that too, not always. I’ve worn makeup here to reinforce the look.”
Vir is wearing eye-kohl, has contoured his nose and cheekbones with some bronzer & nude liner on lips to make it look natural. Vir calls this make up his signature style.
“I would wear this look in the day to meet and chill with friends preferably indoors; at a friend’s place, at a cafe or maybe to do some outdoor day chores.”
Denim hot pants > Mango
Pink polo t-shirt > Burberry
Beige belt > Gucci
Platform sandals > Some store in Breach Candy, Mumbai
Bag > Louis Vuitton
Sunglasses > Marc Jacobs

About: Documenting wardrobes

May 15, 2010
The third time I photographed Vir on the last day of Lakme fashion week, I knew I’d be making more photos with him. Later I asked him if he’d let me document his wardrobe…and he agreed.
We decided on a day. I postponed. We decided on another day. Vir postponed. Then we decided on another day. I had to reach Altamount road at 11. I took the Tulsi Pipe road route. To my left was the long wall(The wall project-Bombay) romanticized by art containing slogans of peace, love, nationality, bollywood & some mathematical calculations.
I wanted to use these backgrounds for the day’s shoot. The traffic was moving slow due to which I ended up clicking about 50 photos and reaching Vir’s place at 1:30. Vir was still sleeping. We had 5 looks to shoot in 5 hours. We also had to eat lunch, and complain about the hot weather, which he did.

Shoes, Stockings, and an Umbrella.

April 8, 2010
These shoes were going to a far off dark place for an unknown period of time, and I had them in my possession only for a day. Within five minutes of that dawning upon us, Karan & I decided what to buy, and we went on a 15 minute shopping spree on Hill road. We bought two pairs of stockings for 160Rs each and a pair of Leggings for 220Rs. Was it a decent bargain? I don’t know. I usually don’t buy leggings. We also bought two colorful combs for 10Rs each(which remain unused). Soon after that Karan confessed his love for umbrellas. He had two right there, locked up in his car. Greenie is from Hyper City for Rs. 250 while the rainbow is from Esprit for Rs. 900.
We were thinking more props. By next morning there were more.
Kismet is from Chandigarh, and was in Bombay for about 3 days. I am not sure. She was carrying only her traveling clothes and nothing fancy, or so she said. She came home by 1p.m. with these: “4  missing photos” . By 2p.m., we started shooting.

Shoes with open back – not a design element. The shoes were small for her.

Later, in my apartment, I found this hand-me-down tee(left behind by Ann- the other Ann) which I thought we could use, and we did. Now i am thinking of selling it. Till I don’t, it’ll grace this wall in my living room.

Kismet,27. Photographer. She has a sweet blog here  –

Shoes designed by Karan Berry.

Ms Brightside

March 31, 2010

Avani,22. Hair stylist

Monica Dogra

March 28, 2010

monica dogra

monica dogra dhobi ghat

monica dogra

monica dogra dhobi ghat

monica dogra dhobi ghat

Monica Dogra in Tuchi – SS 10 collection. Update: This label has been discontinued.

Blue frog/bonobo

March 17, 2010
Prarthna Singh, 22. Photographer
Romper suit – Some flea market, China
Bag – Chloe

Janit, 28. Film maker.
Shirt/Trousers – shopped by his sister.
Hat/Shoes – Linking Road, Bandra
Reshma. Dancer.
Clothes – TUCHI.
( more on TUCHI soon)
Kalyani. HR consultant.
Top- Orange blossom, Lokhandwala
Skirt – Benetton
Mehr, 24. Stylist.
Dress – Mango.
Shoes – Tres mode


March 9, 2010
Vir Shete, 19. Make up artist/Stylist.
Hair – Be Blunt
Bag – Aldo
Shoes – Nine west
Everything else – Mango


Nikhil, 23. Stylist
Sunglasses – Paharganj
Blazer – Bangkok
Blouse – Sarojini Market, Delhi.
Tee/Shoes – Bandra street
Trousers – Part of uncle’s suit passed on to me
Bag – Aldo
Karan Berry, 27. The shoe designing shoe designer.
Pants/Bag/Shoes – self designed.
Arjun Saluja, 35. Designer
Self designed clothes.


Sacha the shopkeeper,28.
Clothes – Savio Jon.
Bag – Neil Dantas
Chappals from the street

Meghna, 28. Stylist
Shirt- Promod.
Skirt – Manish Arora
Bag & Shoes- Aldo.
Anindita, 21. Freelance photographer
Dress – Zara
Bag- Some puny shop, Oberoi mall.
Accessory – Amethyst, Khan Market, Delhi
Shoes – H&M
Anand Kabra, 35. Designer
Tee- Topman
Shirt – CK Jeans
Self designed Waistcoat
Pants – Fab India
Sohiny Das, 27. Fashion writer/stylist
Dress – Kallol Datta
Mom’s bag
Shoes – Tres Mode
Priya, 29. Journalist
Tee – An original from The Rolling Stones concert.
Blazer – Notting Hill, London.
Leggings – Linking road, Bandra
Shoes – Red, a vintage store in London.
Accessories  from all over the world.
Aindrila Mitra, 29. Editor.
Afghani harem pants worn as a jumpsuit – Camden, Bandra
Shrug/Bag/Shoes – H&M
Inderjit, 29. Creative director.
Shirt from some place in Spain
Pants – Boy London
Bag from Udaipur
Shoes – Zara

The girl who jumped

March 8, 2010

Due to all the commotion caused by her erratic jumping and my neurotic unsteady hands, I forgot to ask her anything, which is not that important i think.


March 7, 2010

Jagvir, 27- Designer.
Shirt – Vintage, self-designed.
Glasses – H&M
Bag – Sisley
Shoes – Tres Mode.

Shoes – Paul Smith.
Glasses – Mango
Cardigan – Comme des garcons.
Jeans – Zara.
Bag – Dries van noten(hiding behind his right leg)

Rifq, 27.
Scarf- Goa somewhere.
Top – Somewhere?
Leggings – Japan somewhere.
Shoes- Switzerland somewhere
Surilee, 23.
Dress – Izzo.
Bag – Accessorize
Shoes- Tres Mode
Diva, 20.
Necklace – Delhi somewhere.
Dress – BCBG
Shoes- Hong kong somewhere.
Bag – Iforgottoask.
Monali, 27. Stylist.
Dress – ASOS- Online store.
Shoes- Hong kong somewhere.
Bag – Tod’s.
Lakshmi, 21. Stylist.
Dress – H&M
Bag – LV
Belt – Aldo
Shoes- White peacock, Bandra.
Glasses – Mango.
Shweta, 21. NIFT Student.
Top- Gangtok  somewhere
Leggings – Meerut somewhere
Belt – Aldo
Shoes- Sarojini Nagar Market, Delhi.
Accessories- Colaba somewhere.
Parmesh, 33. Author – Gay Bombay.
Hat – H&M
Shirt – Abraham & Thakore
Jeans – Spykar(my ex-workplace)
Tie – Harajuku
Belt – NY Flea market
Bag – Sanchita.
Shoes – Gucci
Siddharth, 22. Model.
Tee – His own company- Dress Master?
Jeans – Levi’s
Shoes – Puma
Sameer Reddy, 31. NYT.
Tee – April 77
Pants – Nikasha
Shoes – Some village market, Spain
And the term for these pants is…?
Nikita, 19. Graphic designer.
Top/Leggings/Bag – Benetton
Shoes – Aldo
Ratika, 27. Product designer.
Top/belt from the Street
Shorts – Mango
Bag – Rocky S
Shoes – Charles & Keith
Nikhil, 23. Stylist.
Shirt – Colaba causeway
Tee – Hill road
Pants – Chaitanya Rao
Bag – Aldo
Shoes from the street
Vir Shete, 19.  Make up artist/Stylist.
Belt – D&G
Bag – Aldo
Shoes – Metro
Everything else from Mango
Nidhi, 24. Assistant fashion editor.
is wearing her father’s spectacles.
Bag – Ranna Gill
Dress – Niteline/Two decades old/Some bandra street/300 Rupees
Shoes – some-local-store
Karan Berry, 27. The shoe designing shoe designer.
Bow tie – Debenhams
Spectacles – Cavalli
Tee – Benetton
Pants & shoes – Self designed

All yellow

March 1, 2010

Rida Gatphoh. ..was my batchmate at NIFT. She worked as a designer for a few years, got bored, started to work on her music more seriously…then something happened..she left Bombay, and is now teaching at NIFT, Shillong.

Overalls – Junker jeans. Barcelona
Tee & Shoes – From the street. Bangkok
Update: Rida is singing in her first music video – OST for My Daddy Strongest.
Music composed by : Rida & JD together