Wrapped in history.
History that turned into a wearable art by Ron Dutta’s Imagination and creativity. What else could be more fulfilling for a creative thirsty soul to clad oneself in a Saree that tells a story. This is Fatherland’s Shashi Kapoor Room. Bizarre it may sound as a name, right? Let’s study how I ended up on wearing letters around me while taking you through a virtual tour of a 200 year old colonial beauty ‘Hotel Fairlawns’ amidst the busy lanes of Sudder Street, Kolkata.
I have tried to present street style with a vintage touch and few personal notes. While we hold street style blogs near and dear, we sometimes get tired of the standard PYT-in designer clothing portraiture and end up craving something a little out of the ordinary it can be something rustic, vintage or completely out of the box. Ready to fill the street style vacuum are a crop of niche blogs that profile everything from the most fashion-forward felines, to the hippest fashionistas you’ve ever seen. How’s that for something that will really liven up your inspiration folders? why not dig your own history, pick your own tralatitious bests.
I love playing and daring all sort of clothing types but saree holds a special bhalobasa and I am always on a lookout for the distinct ones. About a few months ago I stumbled upon the Fatherland’s Facebook Page. Their old countrified Bengal entrancing charm and collection of clothing and accessories hit me with an instant desire. It is then when I came across this unusual piece of art and decided, I would not just wear and style it my own way but also bring forward the little tale behind that Saree.
This Saree is a brainchild of Ron’s stay at the hotel room for a personal project in 2016. The room he stayed in was No.17, The Shashi Kapoor Room.
I’ll tell you how and why its named so.
The hotel was lavishly built by a European some 200 years ago where such construction styles were uncommon and was also a costly affair, it is believed that special permissions were rendered from the Nawabs for the commencement of this project. This property was then acquired by a British woman Rosie Sarkies to run it as ‘The Fairlawns Hotel’ which later was passed on to generations and last taken care by a warm and eclectic woman called Violet Smith, who passed away in 2014. Violet had many stories and tales for the visitors and her death was a also a death of an era.
Shashi Kapoors wife Jennifer Kendall’s family stayed there for years in the past in all their theater visits. In fact the couple spent their honeymoon in Room No 17 of Fairlawn, and thats how Violet named it ‘The Shashi Kapoor Room’ while shooting for a Hollywood Movie, City of Joy. Jennifer was there for a show and both their families had theatrical connexions. So thus came the name :), Interesting isnt it.
Ron captured the simplistic details by choosing a letter on the adjacent wall to the staircase as the translation on the fabric for the collection. This letter was French Author Dominique Lapierre handwritten letter to Violet during his stay. The Pallu is inspired by the vintage iron railing pattern on the main stairways.
There are traces of the Fairlawn hotel as well as a hint of the Shashi Kapoor Room in the collection, but is quite underplayed. The looks are more about drawing a new parallel of the past. The mood is of a boundless simplicity.
I draped my Saree in an irregular way sporting my current favorite red sneakers. The Saree is one of the world’s oldest and perhaps the only surviving unstitched garment from the past, so I think its requisite to play, style and experiment in ways more than one.
I expose my scars as my medallions of life, so there is no makeup. In fact I am pretty sweaty and worn out while shooting this, almost steamed to an idli clad in the saree and skirt with that Kolkata humidity.
The photographers are my friends, my pose players & leg-Pullers and my shoot coordinators. I am not a professional perfect stats model neither a girl next door, so don’t complaint and confabulate about how I posed & how sweaty I look. I do these unconventional drapes and cool wrapping styles to encourage fellow moms and all who’re restraint of experiments with saree styles. Wear it with skirt, wear it with shorts, saree never came in history with rule books. Gujrati’s Seedha Palla and Maharstrian paithani drape style is a proof. I just named two.
I am a creative enthusiast, a story teller, I speak my mind and wear my heart on my sleeves. This is my space, my home, my thoughts and I can be imperfect or fallible but I promise Its warm in here, cozy and real. Its not some extravagance, if you’re on a lookout for but it can be that mango tree shade in a summer afternoon.
If you like coming back to the warmth here, please see me often and tell me how you feel.
Saree : Fatherland’s The Shashi Kapoor Room Collection
Skirt : Fabindia
Crop Top : Westside – Bombay Paisley
Shoes : Koovs
Glasses : Thrifted
Jewelry : Personal Collection
AbhiJnan Rubai Bose