Indigenous South Asian Designs - Fashion's Hautest Trend

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

The Valentino collection for Spring/Summer 2014 seen at Paris Fashion week last month was different from the design house’s past collections. Usually known for its classy, luxurious, and timeless designs, the fashion house this time injected an element of colorful lace and embroidery that called to mind traditional indigenous methods while sticking with their trademark elegant silhouettes.

When I saw the collection and the distinct needlework embellishment, I was immediately reminded of pieces I’d seen on my travels in Pakistan. The Style Matrix readers will remember the dress below from a previous post that was later featured in a segment on Voice of America. I picked up this vintage piece from a Silk Road fair in Karachi last year. The needlework is typical of the northern areas of Pakistan and the colors truly made the dress stand out from across the room.

I loved the design and color combination and decided to make the piece my own. I updated the look with a chic beige jacket around my shoulders and paired it with a neutral bag and shoes. Adding a string of pearls made the dress work-appropriate.

Explaining how to update traditional folk pieces to Voice of America correspondent Sarah Zaman

Valentino complemented its stunning designs with solid gold accessories – including scarab-accented jewelry and clutches - that gave the collection a sophisticated and opulent look to make the clothes wearable in evening.

With these trends, we’re beginning to see high-fashion designers cater to a global market by incorporating indigenous artisan traditions into their pieces. In other words, we’re seeing a fusion of traditional east and west styles in high fashion.

So next time you’re traveling, try shopping for pieces that incorporate local design traditions. The pieces are sure to be unique and can provide a wealth of style inspiration. It takes looking at them with a new set of eyes. Remember, the pieces can always be mixed and matched with contemporary accessories to give a current update and more sophisticated look.

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