Sunday, January 30, 2011

La Cucina!

Its been an adventure finding fashion in the streets but the last few days I've spent discovering them in my kitchen! As Indian as my palate was for the 'saada khaana' (or simple food) in the Indian context, the 'Indian' saada khaana is anything but simple, we have complex tastes whether its food, fashion, faith or film. The 'basic' itself would churn out to be gourmet else where. I've however developed some Italian cooking skills, (thanks to my dear Italian friends and their little inputs while cooking in the Italian kitchen), some of it seemed so effortless after the complexity of Indian food but the simple stuff can be tough since we all have a 'way' of doing things. An Indian school friend who joined me for lunch the other day and I did the pasta alla norma, which is a traditional Sicilian pasta with pomodoro and melanzane for her. It was 'simple' and scrumptious. It tingled her Indian palate to say 'it was the best pasta she'd ever had' and if it were for her it would be tough to 'simplify' the cooking so much for it to turn out 'Italian'.

The Indian tongue is accustomed to taste a variety of flavours at one meal: sweet, salty, tangy, spicy.. these flavours are essential for an Indian tongue to say 'that was a good meal' after.

Italian cuisine these days is quite 'fashionable' as far as food fads in India go, it is a favourite with many, but its tough to find an Italian eatery in India not adding the Indian touch to it. Both these are rich and old food cultures, interesting different and enrichingly deep!

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Designers are fine-tuners ?!

Very often I wonder where the originality emerges from? and I do have mixed views since I've absorbed two very different but grounded cultures. Both the Indian and the Italian cultures are so delightfully colorful that I'm always discovering something interesting or new. Its about the way these people do things.

My Indian origin and influence in the Indian design scene tells me of the fine-tuning work that this community is ever so good with, it could be called innovation or creation but a lot of it is just 'fine-tuning' the existent. Some do a great job with it and its much needed for the present market place and others maybe not so good but they could have a different market to cater to.

The Italians would do it the Italian way, since some innovate on the inspiration they get from cultures design or just space, there are a good lot that fall back on tradition! An easy example would be Dolce & Gabbana.
In the Indian scene of crafts and design its a need to convert a craft to design and that's where we come in and do all the fine-tuning business,  so its  polishing or re-inventing ma at different scales, ofcourse we'd have tons of examples to quote here.

I had this thought lingering in my head - over-hearing a lay man conversation while I was traveling a few days ago, 'This was the basic product (referring to a particular product), and what does a designer do? they just fine-tune it...' that little conversation stuck in my head and re-played and re-questioned itself..

Are designers really 'fine-tuners' ? What do you say?

Monday, January 24, 2011

Sheer Shoes!

Footwear is fashionable, functional and an intrinsic part of dressing!!
I've been thinking over what to write about people's happy feet that are in these interesting pairs of shoes; I for one love shoes; comfortable and individualistic ones.
I'd like to photograph mine as well in subsequent posts maybe but these feet were walking on the streets of Milano. After I went through all these images I realized I had very little of the stilts that Milanese women usually walk on very efficiently. There are here quite a few interesting flat shoes, some that people made themselves or their friend's did for them and others ofcourse good taste!

Those are my glistening shoes-- Photo courtesy Devendra Purbiya

Friday, January 21, 2011

RE-vived History!!

This is a global trend that's developing, fashion trends in this case; over the last few years have gone through a series of revivals from the past, whether its the recent past or historical past.
The prolific blend between personal history, one’s own culture of origin and the emerging needs of modernity, stimulate the creation and the reassessment of traditional products that are capable of supporting the new dynamics of people’s everyday life.
This is Milano through a lens, spotting this trend, though I'd like to connect these trends else where when I travel too, seeing how globally local we are!

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

The Irony of Punk!

I didn't think I'd be seeing punks in a slick city like Milano but that's the best part there's such a developed diversity in the city that Punks too make their mark.

After my fascination of photographing the Punks at the Colonne di San Lorenzo and my amazement at how much trouble they'd taken to dress themselves up, I wanted to educate myself a little more on this fascinatingly crazy subculture.

Wikipedia tells me a little more than I knew of the their ideologies of nihilism and how it started in the mid-70's in the United states, UK and Australia.. well yes its made its way to other parts of Europe and the world too. It started ofcourse from a music form 'Punk Rock' which is now shortened to Punk.

Most punk rock songs are short, have simple and somewhat basic arrangements using relatively few chords, and they use lyrics that express punk values and ideologies ranging from the nihilism of the 'Sex Pistols' "No Future". Punk-related ideologies are mostly concerned with individual freedom and anti-establishment views. Common punk viewpoints include anti-authoritarianism , a DIY ethic, non-conformity, direct action and not selling out.

The Punk subculture fashions are most distinctly the Mohawks and the piercings with ripped clothing held together with safety pins etc. they say its the uncared for look but to me its been paid the most attention of all!

The attention to detail, the well colored and arranged Mohawks are no 'I don't care how I dress' guy's look. The colors and the clothing are well chosen each making their own identity, hmm and all that costuming sure does cost quite a bit so its tough living off the streets like that.

Though I'd bumped into this one Punk guy several times around the city and the last time I met him his Mohawk had melted down and he was begging for cents, drunk. (the look sure needs maintenance)

Punks are know to be the angry guys around and the ones you'd rather not mess with, I was lucky to find quite a few friendly and some even shy punks re-inventing themselves. 
Another interesting fact on Italian punks is, their meeting points are outside churches which sounds quite queer, but that's where it is!

An adherent fan of the Sex pistols she's re-invented her Juden jacket!

Dr. Marten boots and tartan patched denims with a Juden jacket like from the Holocaust.
The dreads are interestingly treated and the piercings together, he develops yet another punk style.
Green drain-pipes and Dr. Martens with colored laces and a leather Jacket.
He really does have red lenses on, a teen punk at Colonne di San Lorenzo
Drain pipes with Skate shoes.
Pink and the piercings, the razors and body alterations form part of the punk style.
The razed nape of the neck is yet another style apart for the mohawk where the sides of the head are shaved.
 Punk Rock
The tartans, the boots and the beer!!
Leather clad punk at the Colonne with flaming red hair! Figa!
Laddered fish-nets darkened eyes exaggerated, toxic colored hair chains and accessories tartan skirt and the Dr. martens.
Razed Nape!
Re-locking the chains!
Torn Fish-nets with a colored base and converse.
This Pink pixie i think is fantastic, the style, the individuality and the attitude, she's worn it all!

The Mohawk Man! Classic image of a Punk!
 Same guy the following day re-invented!!
 Bondage Coat!!
Braided long locks, and the English Miss!