World Heritage Day: A walk down the archival fashion road - Hindustan Times
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World Heritage Day: A walk down the archival fashion road

ByShweta Sunny
Apr 18, 2024 11:58 AM IST

On World Heritage Day today, we explore the timeless beauty of archival fashion and its recent popularity

With the recurring nature of the fashion world, it is not surprising to see that many fashion enthusiasts are now embracing their precious archival collections. Archival fashion can be defined as clothing from a designer’s older collections, especially those which influenced the world of fashion.

Sonam A Kapoor wore a skirt, blouse and dupatta set made from vintage old Banarasi saree featuring antique embroidery from Jigya Patel. She paired it with 80-year-old antique jewellery(Photo: Instagram)
Sonam A Kapoor wore a skirt, blouse and dupatta set made from vintage old Banarasi saree featuring antique embroidery from Jigya Patel. She paired it with 80-year-old antique jewellery(Photo: Instagram)

Designer Pawan Sachdeva says, “Tracing back to archival collection gives us a historical record of rare materials and the popularity of luxury goods at large. These are preserved for the generations to come, that provide a sense of identity and understanding of the past culture.”

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Zendaya in a metallic robot bodysuit from Thierry Mugler's Fall/Winter 1995 couture collection(Photo: Instagram)
Zendaya in a metallic robot bodysuit from Thierry Mugler's Fall/Winter 1995 couture collection(Photo: Instagram)

With actor Zendaya recently donning a metallic robot bodysuit from Thierry Mugler’s Fall/Winter 1995 couture collection, she has proven to be a bona fide archival fashion girl. Back home, celebrities like Alia Bhatt, Sonam A Kapoor, Bhumi Pednekar and Swara Bhasker have also jumped on the archival fashion bandwagon.

Alia Bhatt in a 30-yearold handmade ivory floral Resham couture saree from Abu Jani Sandeep Khosla(Photo: Instagram)
Alia Bhatt in a 30-yearold handmade ivory floral Resham couture saree from Abu Jani Sandeep Khosla(Photo: Instagram)

Archival pieces are known to be priceless and often reflect the rarity of the garments. Its sudden popularity can be traced back to the pandemic, when fashionistas shifted their focus from streetwear to archival style as TikTokers boasted about their second-hand Margiela pickups online. Further, the dominance of fast fashion has pushed consumers to choose pieces that are high on quality and cannot be replicated easily.

Designer Anju Modi says, “We are missing our old ways of living life in a slow pace and more meaningful way. Earlier, people would focus on one particular art and it would come out in an artistic way. Nowadays, the fashion world has become so fast-paced and is so AI-generated that we don’t appreciate the beauty of slowly made pieces and have lost that human touch. That’s why we are craving for ancient antique marvels featuring handwork with time-consuming detailing of the thread embroidery.”

Bhumi Pednekar in a Fall/Winter 1989 Thierry Mugler archival runway dress(Photo: Instagram)
Bhumi Pednekar in a Fall/Winter 1989 Thierry Mugler archival runway dress(Photo: Instagram)

But how are designers referring back to archives for their own collections? Modi explains, “As designers, we are always tracing back to old times. In fact, I visit a lot of museums before I start a collection. The inspiration from museum is very beautiful, everlasting and classic but the challenging part is how I reinvent the old designs and juxtapose it with today’s demand.”

Swara Bhasker rewore her mum’s wedding saree and jewellery for her court marriage(Photo: Instagram)
Swara Bhasker rewore her mum’s wedding saree and jewellery for her court marriage(Photo: Instagram)

Celebrity stylist Isha Bhansali suggests how to style these pieces. She says, “For a lot of Indians, most archival pieces are always their mothers’ sarees or jewellery. Pair old vintage jewellery with a white shirt/ dress or any solid fit. Make sure the accessories blend with it or go minimal, so that it doesn’t overshadow the pieces.”

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