INTERVIEW : Designer Siddartha Tytler brings his grand collection inspired by courtesan culture
It's inspired by the old world decadence of Mughal era
The entrancing essence of courtesan culture lies at the intersection of allure and seclusion, a duality that both fascinates and distances us. As we cast a veil of taboo upon the enigmatic world of courtesans, we still remain captivated by their portrayal in pop culture books, films, fashion, plays and more. This enticing charm finds its cinematic echo in India’s notable films like Anarkali (1953) and Mughal-e-Azam (1960) to erotic movies like Kama Sutra (1996) and romantic opuses like Devdas (2002) that chronicle their tales of passion, majesticity and grace.
A stroll through the annals of history reveals how the ancient cities of Awadh, Varanasi, and Delhi once thrived under the spell of courtesans. They would peer through jharokha balconies, enthralling the royalty with their performing arts that were a sensorial fusion of dance, music, poetry, ghazals, and more. Their vintage style marked by sumptuous silks, crepes, and brocades, adorned with the legacy crafts, was an insignia of their well-heeled status in the bygone era.
Bringing their hypnotic charm in the spotlight, Siddartha Tytler has unveiled his Mehfil-eHusn collection. It is nothing short of a pinnacle of his creative journey since the inception of his eponymous label in 2002. The collection indeed resembles a true mehfil — a rendezvous of connoisseurs who gather to bask in the splendour of artistic celebrations. The solo show of the designer had a whopping 142 models dish out 145 regal ethnic looks — exquisite lehengas, kurtas that breathe heritage, corset tops paired elegantly with trousers and more.
Aditi Rao Hydari walked at the finale emanating light like a princess, a living testament to her royal ancestry. She looks like a vision in a black and white lehenga, adorned with intricate zari work, luminous pearls, and dazzling crystals — a homage to the splendour of the Taj Mahal. The pairing of dupattas and a velvet blouse complete the attire in a harmonious blend of vintage charm and contemporary sophistication.
Siddartha shares about the inspiration post the show, “I haven’t travelled anywhere to seek inspiration for this edit. But yes, in my life, I have been to historical monuments like various Mughal forts, tombs and mausoleums. This time, I watched movies like Mughal-e-Azam, P akeezah, Kama Sutra, Padmaavat and Umrao Jaan before I started the collection and the theme just clicked!” The NIFT alumni brought the magic of plush silhouettes like silk, tussar organza, velvets, crystal mesh, and crochet in monochrome and bold tones of gold, gunmetal, blush, cerulean blue and purple.
Telling us about the embellishments, he shares, “We picked up inspiration from Mughal architecture and drew motifs from the Taj Mahal and other historical monuments. We have worked with techniques of aari, thread work, zari, pearls, crystals, embroidered mogras, crystal embellishments, sequin splashes and applique work.”
What separates this collection from his past ones is that it’s heavily embellished with surface adornments, that the designer has not experimented with before. Since the new edit is tailored for occasion wear, he spills out the ruling trends and how the latest collection harks on them, “One I could comfortably say is corsetry as jewellery looks best with corsets. Since winter is coming, people would love to layer up. So we’ve done double dupattas, lehengas with jackets and corsets inside. Also, the times are all about the bling, being confident and showing who you are so the ensembles reveal the same.”
Rs.15,000 upwards. Soon available online and in stores.