Style is Open Territory

Namaste, Music Lovers, This is the first installment in what I hope is a new fashion series. Fashion/style is one fun part of life in a movie-production orbit that can a) take a detached producer’s view or b) be sought for a particular purpose like today’s show/event (or in my view only for fun).

As you can see from YouTube above, there are many other youngish women making the rounds of bargain stores in Mumbai! Thankfully I can bring in a self-earned income doing what I love to at least update my silks from time to time. My preference is to go lightweight fabrics like silk and linen or don’t go at all, lol.

The fashion cognoscenti are all atither over the goings-on at Windsor Castle in London-towne. I choose to refrain from offering any curt ruminating on the state of affairs in Western garb (matrimonial or otherwise), however I will note HRH Elizabeth’s

fashion-forward favouring of fluorescent lime as a trend of one influential soul, and may God save her. My own tastes tend more toward an eastern sensibility and who can deny the subtle glow of gold as a peerless choice for feminine ornament?

My footman Joe’s mom often imagined herself a great costume designer like early Hollywood pioneer Clare West

Clara Belle Smith

Clare West (costume designer, ca. 1924)

or the legendary Edith Head, and on-camera wardrobe mavens like actress/high-tech inventor Hedy Lamarr

Actress/inventor Hedy Lamarr in a self-costume

and leading lady Joan Crawford

(although the only costumes Footman Joe’s mom designed were for his sisters’ school plays). Once upon a time in American cinema, billionaire fly-boy and oil-drilling heir/film producer Howard Hughes spent hours designing and crafting custom brassieres for busty competitive swimmer/film

leading lady Jane Russell (bizarre, but true—you can look it up, lol). I’m glad I’m not an actress. I tend to favor a far more boyish, athletic line when I’m out of the so-called limelight. My own dear fashion-fan (on me) Mother has (I hope) some joy in seeing my publicity-savvy film/TV industry pals dress me. Other than those odd moments, like any dedicated artist I go for comfort, not fashion statements in the vocal booth, control room or studio (or in transit to/from appointments). FYI, I’m not clueless about blending in (or about being in outfit Z for situation Z). I’m sooner in track suits, funky hoodie-sweats or jeans & texty/fun top than such as tight or even ankle length works of haute couture. I can go glam or camo. To say it in few different words:

  • Sometimes I roll urban-chic though my roots are small-village.

Gals, we’d wear something like this (if we weren’t so priorly paid-out):

Maybe some day I’ll have a benefactor or sponsor dressing me in silks I’ve yet to imagine. Maybe we’ll have a spate of top-hit songs! Or you may see more of my abundant twists on bargain-bin/thrift-store chic—my go-to style spin. It’s all good; imagination is free.

Stay tuned for some fun 2020 giveaways too, right here on AntaraMitra.com. Naturally ladies, one can always abandon hope and turn to the old standby LBD (as shown ca. 1980 in Midwestern USA).

Melissa Stevens

U.S.modelling/LBD maven Melissa Stevens (1954-2017)

On my personal time (now you may catch the drift of my recent other post about keeping work and private time separate)… at home or on travel time, I may put on whatever occurs to me in my PJs before I hit a pillow the night before, or Plan B can always arrive when my “smartphone” rings. Isn’t the truly smart thing to do with those infectious devices putting them on shelves, in drawers or in a purse or pocket or an assistant’s capable hands?

I can promise you that my phone never rings when I’m in a rehearsal or performance. Try me later in such cases. I do get busy in some senses, lol. I’ll preface this with the fact that I haven’t much budget for discretionary purchases (which in the case of high-style fashions is quite pricey turf), so my overall style angle is more like mode depeche (tossed on). You never know. I may luck into some discarded film costumes for a quick editorial or portfolio photo shoot. Fashion isn’t really my idea of a passion in my life. That may be changeable.

To spur healthy interest and discussions I’m glad to talk on apparel occasionally, since in all things about taste (music, for one), one’s personal choices are seldom genuinely contentious. I don’t say this presuming that anyone’s close associates/relatives will actually refrain from offering opinions. In the course of my Sony and other TV appearances I was able to don a wide range of saris, gowns, etc.; I enjoyed wearing a small part of cultural history, in a sense (if they’re fairly so described) our traditions are diverse as the regions that eventually formed modern India.

Johnson: Hindostan/Raj India (1864) Source: Wikimedia U.S. (public domain)

The fact is, Hindustan has an incredibly rich melange of regional styles that define and are cues to well-defined cultural mores and trends over several centuries, mostly predating the European colonists’ and Raj’s fascination with dress and appearance. Not to try a trite metaphor, but native peoples knew and had style before Bengali fashion itself was even a thing. For sure what

little survives of ancient India‘s sartorial splendour came from prehistoric Vedic and other traditions. Fashion is as mundane or exotic as the practitioners may be.

Thank goodness India doesn’t have religious dress code enforcement as a government matter. Though my family leans toward the observant and safety-minded, we’re not late to the quick-dialer in an emergency, but surely constables and police have enough trouble on their hands at our public behest and expense.

May you delight in and get best use of your sartorial splendour per your best dreams. Life is meant to be lived in glorious full colour! Namaste and happy hand-me-down closets to all who can brave the rites of rummage! I’ll try to post again from myself specifically on thrift shop extravaganzas soon.

Namaste,

AM

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