Think of cutting chai, cycle, owl and maachis. Now think of high fashion prêt collection. Do they blend seamlessly in your head? Mostly not but if they do then you too have been stung by the Nida Mahmood bug. When you create a concoction of eccentric, in-your-face and whimsical aspects of Indian street with high end fashion, you enter Nida Mahmood's fashion aesthetics.
As Mahmood unfurled her Maachis collection at WIFW, she redefined stage theatrics. It managed to pull you out of the clichéd for something a little more audacious. So this time, there were larger than life match boxes and a spruced up cycle on the stage. Models walked the ramp with match boxes in place of their pretty faces. Seven headed masks and saris worn over jeans. Her message was loud and clear-"Life is too short to blend in so keep it stylish and keep it individualistic."
Another interesting feature about her collection was the shift from neon to black and white. When you think Mahmood, you think vibrant loud colours but what the audience saw was a watered down version of the quintessential Mahmood. "I wanted to move away from what I only always do which is a lot of colours. So there was a lot of colour in the first line but the second line was just black and white," said Mahmood.
The runway saw embroidered jackets, skirts, pyjamas, saris worn over jeans and of course everything came with elements of Indian pop art and maachis motifs.
Obviously, the influence of art is evident in her clothes as well as personality. So how does art translate in to design for her? "Art is who I am. Everything about me is art. I think more as an artist than as a designer though I am trained as a designer and an amateur artist. It's the artist in me which translates everything in me as a human being and as a designer," said Mahmood in an interview to HT.com.
Her collections and her personality ooze Indian popular culture. The collection saw owls, bicycles, lotus stars, radios, flowers and Bollywood faces motifs enthused in the garments. "I love everything that is Indian. I like to make India cool. It's our identity and in the mad race of westernization, it is important to find a moment to find who you yourself are," said she.
So, what about match-boxes is so inspiring that she dedicated an entire collection to it? "Everything which is mundane, boring inspires me. For me maachis is very powerful, explosive and definitive. It speaks a lot of languages."
While the collection was a visual riot, the music was an experience in it self. The music provided the narrative for the show. The tracks were recorded by Mahmood and incorporated aural idiosyncrasy of her collection. "The idea is that there should always be a link between what you see and what you hear. There should be lip miming happening between what you see and hear."
The collection ended on a whacky, whimsical note as Mahmood's personification of an owl walked the runway and left the audience awe-struck.
It truly is eat, sleep, drink quirk for Mahmood!