Romancing history through fashion


There’s a certain charm that draws Poonam Bhagat to museums. Perhaps, it’s the glorious artefacts preserved over the ages. And it’s this element of timelessness that’s evident in her collection, Romance of the Mughals. One can almost imagine Nur Jahan or Jahanara draped in them, gingerly strolling across their rose gardens. At the same time, these garments would not be out of place on a 20-something at a cocktail gathering. “It’s a modern person’s version of 17th Century pieces,” she says, fondly cradling a rich red lehenga.

Showcased at the Amazon India Fashion Week Autumn Winter ’16, this line is now on display at Collage. In luxurious raw silks, chanderis, and voiles, they spell grandeur with their royal appeal. The collection is every bit feminine, and comprises column-style tunics with palazzos, anarkalis with gathers, short tissue blouses with long skirts, long tunics with decorative yokes, jamas, dhilja pajamas… The colour palette is dominated by ivories, corals, oranges and blacks, and then there’s the occasional refreshing shade of sage and one that’s a brilliant blend of an unripe aubergine and a glass of red wine.

Her penchant for intricate detailing is visible in this collection: it’s rich with surface embroidery like dori work, burnished gold embroidery and tissue appliqué. There are floral motifs comprising lotus, poppies, kilims and lattice designs as well. There are prints inspired by Central Asian tapestry — Samarkhand, Bukhara and Tashkent to be specific.

“I have always been into vintage and museum pieces. They aren’t available to wear, but even if someone were to replicate them, they would be very expensive,” says Poonam. The idea for this line has been on her mind ever since her visit to the Art Institute of Chicago a few years back. “The South Asian wing had such beautiful costumes from Mughal, Asian and Himalayan royalty. These images remained in my mind. Mughal miniature paintings also inspired me,” she recalls. With the markets flooded with anarkalis, the designer says that as a theme, Mughal-inspired clothing is not unusual, but it depends on how one interprets it.

In addition to this, Poonam has also designed a capsule exclusively for Collage. These retain the same silhouette as Romance of the Mughals, but have a “flirty, fun and feisty” vibe about them. With carefree butterflies and dragonflies embroidered and printed on them, these are more of elegant day-wear in bright pink and green voiles.

Celebrating her 25th year in the fashion industry with her label Taika, the designer says she notices design aesthetics are changing. With a lot of experimentation taking place, people often compromise on their style to wear a particular kind of outfit just because it’s in fashion. “Don’t blindly follow fashion,” she says and adds, “It’s important to wear what suits your personality and body. The collection that I have brought here is wearable, classic and suits every body type.”Read more at:formal dresses online australia | bridesmaid gowns