Fashion, Art and History



Art and culture have always gone hand in hand. They have conjointly influenced the fashion trends for eons. Now imagine an occasion where dignitaries from the world of fashion, education, art and culture come together.

I had the privilege to be a part of one such occasion last weekend. I was invited by Dr. Indu Shahani, principal of H.R. College of Commerce and Economics and Ranjit Shahani at Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Vastu Sangrahalaya. We all know it by its former name, the Prince of Wales museum of Western India.



It was a riveting sit down lunch in the board room of the museum. I found myself in the company of 11 distinguished personalities. David E. Van Zandt, President of Parsons The New School of Design, Kalpana Shah, Tao art gallery owner, Tasneem Mehta, Managing Trustee and Honorary Director of Dr Bhau Daji Lad and Bindu Kapoor and Radha Kapoor, Yes Bank Managing Director and CEO’s wife and daughter were present. Radha is also the Founder and Director of Indian School of Design and Innovation (ISDI). We were also accompanied by Pravina and Jamal Mecklai, Ranjit, Indu and Siddharth Shahani and director of the museum, Sabyasachi Mukherjee. It was an eclectic mix of art connoisseurs, fashionistas and academicians.

The delicious food complemented our highbrow conversations very well. We talked at length about various topics which included fashion, designing, art and education. One of the highlights of our talks was the discussion on ways to promote the museum which we all agreed needed more funds for the development of its infrastructure.

Built in Indo Saracenic style of architecture, it is one of the premier museums of the country. On our tour of the museum, the aesthetically pleasing collection of over 60,000 art objects instantly transported us to the historic times. I was enthralled by the handcrafted techniques and block printing that were there on display. The museum provides its visitors opportunities to try their hands at these age old techniques. It has specially customized small printing press and printing blocks carved on densely grained seasoned hardwood for woodblock printing.

While I was in awe of every aspect of the museum, I couldn’t help but notice Mr. David was greeting everyone personally. A man with a charming personality, he was completely at ease in a foreign nation and was more than eager to know about growing India, our political scenario and how fashion has evolved in our country. He also shared his views on the differences between USA and India. But we have more than one reason to thank Mr David for.

We, the people from the fashion fraternity, will always be grateful to him and the ISDI team for bringing Parsons here in Mumbai. Being a designer, fashion is a part of my persona. I always champion the causes that help the fashion industry to flourish. One of the greatest things that happened for Indian Fashion was the very collaboration of ISDI and Parsons The New School of Design. This opened doors to one of the prestigious schools of design in the world for young aspiring designers who could only dream of studying there earlier. With Parsons’ curriculum and ISDI’s state of art studios, young girls and boys can establish an International career right from their home country. I hope Parsons with its expertise in design education and ISDI with its zeal to become a hub for creative entrepreneurship.

I came back with memories that I will cherish always. I thank Mr. Ranjit and Mrs. Indu Shahani for such a memorable and hospitable afternoon. It was indeed an honour to be a part of such a lovely afternoon with Art historians, curators and Gallerists like you all. I was touched by your belief in me and will help raise funds for the development of museum’s infrastructure to the best of my capacity. Kudos to you all and your incredible spirit for keeping our country’s beautiful architecture, art and heritage intact.