I’m going back to India after 10 years — don’t know how I’m going to feel. I arrived early in the morning, checked in at the Clarion Qutab Hotel in Delhi and met with my friends, designer Manish Arora (who gave me my first job ever) and show producers Aparna Bedi and Anisha Bahl for lunch at Flavours — an Italian restaurant that’s a hangout for the Indian fashion industry. Food was okay, company was great. I was just wondering what I was doing eating Italian in India instead of sumptuous curries. [Afterwards, we] went to the flea market and soaked in all the colors, textures, sounds….Hmm, wondering if I would get inspired for my next collection? Back to the hotel and got ready for a birthday party at the house of Indian couturier Tarun Tahiliani. I went with Manish, stylist Aparna Chandra, Edward Lalrempuia from Vogue India, and met up with friends like models Sapna Kumar and Joey Matthews and designers Rahul Khanna and Rohit Gandhi. It was Indian fashion’s crème de la crème….The decor was major, with lights, stars and fire-eaters. It was fun, fun, fun. The next three days was spent preparing for my friend’s wedding, Bollywood star Koel Purie. [We practiced] singing and dancing. (It was my first time wearing a turban.) Everywhere I looked during the wedding, I saw riots of colors, sexy blouses with draped saris.
I flew home to Kathmandu, Nepal on the 13th, where it was all about more weddings, receptions, anniversaries, family and food. There was even a prom-themed anniversary party (prom is universal, I guess). I also spent time in Patan and Bhaktapur, working with local artisans to develop pieces for a few upcoming projects. The traditional arts and crafts techniques they use date back thousands of years. It’s awe-inspiring to see the [quality of] the metalwork, woodwork, crochets and embroidery. But the local crafts and artisans are slowly being replaced by cheaper and faster manufacturing.
This story first appeared in the May 12, 2009 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.
I also went to WEAN (Women’s Entrepreneurial Association of Nepal), a women’s organization that helps rehabilitate, shelter and teach battered and abused women how to become self-sufficient. I visited a workshop where they were working on traditional Dhaka fabrics, which look almost like ikat. It was very, very inspiring. [Coming back,] it was a long flight for such a short trip, but definitely worth it.