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Tradition weds modernity in India

books Updated: Aug 31, 2007 17:07 IST
Priya Rajendran
Priya Rajendran
Hindustan Times
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It just takes one 30 seconds to judge a person as he/she enters the room. Clothes define a personality and can form an identity too. You could be identified by the image you portray in society. In a way, personal image becomes not only important for keeping oneself distinct in a crowd, but also to others who will eventually identify you wherever you go.

Doris Pooser, a recognised expert in fashion and beauty industry for over 25 years, has helped thousands of women and men to look and feel their best. An author of several bestsellers on personal style for both men and women, she has reached millions through her television appearances on all major TV networks like Lifetime, CNN and Fox and on her own shows on QVC.

She recently launched her book 'An Indian Woman's Guide to Success: Perfecting your Personal Image'. Priya Rajendran catches up with this style expert as she gets chatty about her personal experiences in India with the fashion and beauty industry.

Always in Style (AIS) is your own company. So whats your personal style?
I use very little colour, going for mostly neutrals. I prefer short jackets with big belts over a long skirt.<b1>

You recently visited China and launched an edition of your book there as well. Any striking observation in the fashion industry there...
I have judged the China Fashion Association and Chic Conferences in 2005 and 2006. I found that China has a huge market potential for the fashion industry. The Chinese are well updated in their tastes for clothes. Their street wear collection is quite huge. They use more vibrant colours in their clothes.

The most striking feature that you see in the Indian woman...
The strength and her confidence. I have found the Indian woman to be the most modern in terms of her attire and attitude. She blends the traditional with the modern. This unique fusion makes her stand apart in the global crowd. Wherever she goes, be it the boardroom or on the streets, she gets herself noticed even in something as conventional as the nine-yard sari. She adorns clothing which is perfect for her body shape, skin tone and overall persona.

India as a global leader in the fashion industry...
India cannot be dominated by any other country in terms of fashion trends. The Indian woman, unlike her Western counterpart, experiments with her attire, vibrant and exaggerated colours, different types of fabrics that set her apart wherever she is. She has a certain screen presence - be it the corporate boardroom or an inter-cultural exchange. <b2>

I have worked with a lot of Indian men and women in the fashion industry over the last 15 years. I definitely see India becoming an international brand. I find it turning more western in its integration with its own traditional styles. Amongst Indian fashion designers, Rohit Bal has helped maintain the traditional mode of dressing. However, a fusion style can help India strengthen its position as a global leader in fashion.

Any tips for Indian working women....
There are two choices for her. Bringing more westerns into India. Looking for shapes in the western or the Indian styles. In the end, its all about feeling comfortable in whatever she wears. 93 per cent of what you wear ultimately forms the first impression. In a corporate setup, one can maintain her feminity while dressing conservatively by choosing more subtle colours, wearing clothes that are perfect with her body shape and use less makeup. So, smart formals like shirts and trousers would be the right choice for a boardroom meeting.

About your book...
This book says that Indian women need to remain both stylish and current in fashion. This guide is not meant to dictate your cultural values which are universally acceptable as well as unique.