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James Dean inspires designer at India fashion week

Designer Prashant Verma's collection at the ongoing WIFW in New Delhi is inspired by the Hollywood actor's life.
Reuters | By HT Correspondent, New Delhi
UPDATED ON MAR 14, 2008 08:22 PM IST

An Indian designer drew inspiration from actor James Dean's life -- and death -- at fashion week in New Delhi, paying tribute to the Hollywood star of the 1950s who died in a car accident at the age of 24.

Beginning with the red jacket and jeans that Dean wore in his most celebrated movie, "Rebel Without A Cause," Prashant Verma's collection also unveiled dresses made in taffeta with kaleidoscopic prints, biker jackets and hand-painted artwork.

Some of his designs were meant to represent the actresses Elizabeth Taylor, Julie Harris and Natalie Wood who worked with Dean before his death, while models carried bags put together from shattered car lights and wore dresses made of bandages.

"We draped them in bandages and embroidered them with crystallized Swarovski elements which looked like scintillating wounds in the bandages," Verma told Reuters at India's premier fashion event.

"There was nothing morbid about it, rather there was something romantic."

Dean died on September 30, 1955, after his new Porsche 550 Spyder was involved in a nearly head-on collision with another car.

Verma, who named his collection "Giant" like Dean's last movie that was released posthumously, is among 80 designers showcasing autumn and winter collections on the ramp or in stalls at the five-day Wills Lifestyle India Fashion Week, which opened this week.

Golden-hued statues of bulls, lotuses and temple tops vied for attention with an Indian classical dancer who twirled down the runway to the sound of old Bollywood hits for designer Tarun Tahiliani's show in the evening on Thursday.

Tahiliani sent out models in silken saris, gowns and dresses in shades of red, black and gold -- some embellished with belts made up of tiny LED screens.

Some of his creations also made a mark off the ramp.

South African writer and journalist Adam Levin sat bare-chested in the audience with one of Tahiliani's burgundy saris draped around his waist and shoulders.

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