I was under the impression that Ikat was an Orissa-based textile print craft with close cousins in the southern Pochampalli. The internet however, informs me that this art form is also present in Indonesia, Cambodia and other parts of Central Asia. In the recent times, these intricate line-based designs have also been spotted on the Western runways.
My favorite source of Ikat prints is of course, FabIndia and some other similar shops like Cotton Cottage. Clothing, accessories, linen…you name it and I’ll never be tired of Ikat. My bed always has a bedspread of Ikat print on it. Actually, I have two such bedspreads in different colours & Ikat styles so when one is in the wash, the other one covers my bed. Ikat is never far from me!
I already have plenty of the standard FabIndia kurta design – round neck with slit, straight cut, side slits, 3/4 or full-length sleeves, knee-level in different colours – to be worn with white/beige/black chuddidars. Even so, when I spotted yet another at the FabIndia sale a couple of years back, I couldn’t resist picking it up. This even though, the piece in question was XXL and I usually wear M or S. Of course I looked like a peg inside a tent in it. But I thought I’d improvise and wear it over a black spaghetti top, with a shoulder drooping off, sew up the side slits to make it a dress and accessorize with a funky belt. That look, I’m afraid to say, didn’t quite work since the silhouette isn’t quite suited to the cool casual of a loose dress. So instead, I snipped off a patch at the bottom to make it knee length and decided to wear it as a superloose (and equally comfortable) salwar-kameez.
My Indianwear has been largely untouched these past few months on account of the weather (it’s heartbreaking to see a splash of mud on a pristine chuddidar!). But I decided to take it out on this occasion when it looked like the monsoon was on its way out. I had a temple visit & a few house errands to run with mum.
The traditional way to wear it would have been with a black or even a white chuddidar and I did indeed a couple of times. But then I found this block-printed chuddidar at the back of my cupboard. I bought it for a French colleague a few years back but she didn’t think she’d be able to pull it off and decided to retain only the french-collar kurta & dupatta that I’d paired it with. I returned with this pair figuring I’d find something to wear it with. In the time since then, I’ve matched it off and on with a plain kurta. But plain kurtas aren’t really my style (I don’t like that extra-big patch of solid colour) so this chuddidar has largely lain unused.
To my delight, I found it matched my Ikat kurta perfectly! The kurta is green and white and black while the chuddiar is black & white. The prints are different but don’t clash at all. In fact I think the starkness of the chuddidar‘s block print actually accentuates the subtle class of the kurta‘s Ikat.
The rain began just as I was stepping out so I ran back in and grabbed one of my trusty scarves, this time a fine silk one in black that I’ve never worn before (well, except to pose for a display pic for this post). More and more I find scarves are really becoming my thing. This is one of the few times I’ve paired a scarf with a chuddidar-kurta but it worked so well, I think I’ll do it more often now! Apart from protecting my throat from the damp monsoon winds and my hair & face from the traffic pollution, it also added some definition to the neckline of the kurta. Without it, the kurta did still seem a tad shapeless but with the scarf, the look just suddenly came together.
I considered wearing a green semi-precious stone/silver set to match the kurta. But with so much going on in terms of prints, I decided that would be too much and settled for my old favorite – basic, plain silver in delicate designs. First, my latest favorite earwear – faux silver bird eartops from Accessorize. Then, my trusty steel watch from Casio on the left wrist, a heart-charm bracelet from Estelle on the right with my favorite square silver ring.
This bag is yet another in a large collection of cloth bags that I have, embellished, embroidered or otherwise decorated in various ways. I haven’t ever used this one since mum brought it back for me from Dilli Haat last year.
And finally, on my feet, an old, old pair of embroidered leather mojris from Janpath market, New Delhi (boy, I sure do own a lot of stuff from Delhi, don’t I?).
It’s been raining since I left home, which is a pity. But the outfit is so comfortable, I’ve not felt the need to change, even after I got back. There’s nothing quite like Indianwear, after all. The scarf makes even the chilly, unhealthy damp manageable and all in a crisp, clean, stylish look.
- Green & black & white Ikat kurta: FabIndia
- Black & white block print chuddidar: FabIndia
- Black silk scarf: Cottage Emporium, New Delhi (Rs.485)
- Beige embroidered mojris: Dilli Haat, New Delhi (Rs.250)
- Black mirror-work cloth bag: Dilli Haat, New Delhi (Rs.175)
- Faux silver bird eartops: Accessorize (Rs.345)
- Steel watch: Casio (Rs.2000 odd)
- Silver heart charm bracelet: Estelle
- Silver ring: Local silver shop, Khoka market, Vileparle West