Fashion visionary Madhu Neotia gives The India Story new dimensions

Her efforts to merge the digital and physical platforms together last year bore fruition this year turning the diverse cultural mosaic into a truly global affair.

Sharmistha Ghosal Published :  30th December 2022 12:00 AM   |   Published :   |  30th December 2022 12:00 AM
Madhu Neotia

Madhu Neotia

If there's anyone who is singlehandedly putting Kolkata on the global map in terms of fashion-centric jamboree, it has to be unanimously Madhu Neotia. The spunky and ever-enrgetic woman has took it upon her slender shoulders to turn Kolkata intot the most happening destination for the three days around mid-December by pulling off a show that brings the best to the city in terms of fashion, food, music and culture. We are talking about her pet project The India Story that turned seven this year. 

Her efforts to merge the digital and physical platforms together last year bore fruition this year turning the diverse cultural mosaic into a truly global affair. Just like the pandemic added different dimensions to people's life, The India Story too had Dimensions as its overarching theme, lending an edgier vibe to the lit event. "People are tired of seminars, talks and workshops, they just want to let their ahir down and have fun and laughter. That's exactly what TIS was all about this year --relaxed and full of life," says Madhu.

Last year saw renowned deisgenr Anju Modi showcasing her nuptial edit Swasthik with Jaipur-based PC Totuka & Sons completing the ensembles. This year it turned even bigger  with an hour long show of the Tarun Tahiliani's signature India Modern styles that synchronised pret and couture lines with Raj Mahtani's couture jewllery complementing the silhouettes to the tee.

Choreographed by Indrani Dasgupta Paul and Vahbiz Kersy Mehta, the show saw 30 models flaunting 50 sets of clothes including very dapper menswear from the label.

"Last year we were lucky that our event went well and was over before Covid tried to disrupt lives again. This year, people have gone back to normal with full gusto and are travelling with a vengeance. the youngsters especially are out and about, dressing up well and shopping like there's no tomorrow, and having a time of their lives with their friends," observes Madhu.

High on intuition and quick to feel the pulse, Madhu, too took no time to understand the vibes of the youth and turned TIS into a very pulsating event with very young and energetic vibes. The youthful energetic vibe was palpable all across the venue -- right from the vibrant decor to the live events, the curation at the food court and the labels on display. 

"My young team members are my greatest teacher. They are trendy, are always fashionably turned up and TIS is about reaching out to youngsters and feeling their vibes. When you become receptive to what's said and unsaid and make observations and trust your hunches, you are bound to touch the right nerve. I instinctively look out for what people want. We realised that post-pandemic people have become more outbound and hence we shrunk our retail space for furniture and shifted to home edits and accessories only. The Farmer's Market that we introduced last year has become even bigger since conscious eating has become a habit now for most of us with people realising the value of health. We have also added a children's corner where the kids can happily stay engaged while the parents move around and soak in the ambience," she says.

Madhu feels one must sense which way the world is moving and thinking and moving with time. "Otherwise you will stagnate. The India Story is all about moving with times," she adds thoughtfully.

And true to that, this year Madhu got an eclectic line-up of live performances that included artists land bands like What the Funk, Lush Lata, Zephyrtone and Jasleen Royal. "I thought this year we should ensure that people feel happy and celebrate life. We really don't know what's there tomorrow and I didn't want to further shelve something which is there in my mind today. I wanted to bring Jasleen to town for a long time now and what could be better than to have her perform just before the FIFA life screening began. There's food, there's beer and a giant screen for everyone to enjoy the World Cup finals," she says. And she indeed read the pulse well since the courtyard area was choc-a-bloc with people hooting for their favourite teams.

Always seeing opportunities in risks, Madhu plans to bring some very unusual bridal palettes to the city for Wedding Diaries next year. " I think fashion the whole colour palette for weddings has changed and for the next edition of Wedding Diaries, we want to engage with new sets of designers who have not come before. We will also have a stylist on board since good stylists are the need of the hour. There will also be some new additions which will take shape as our plans concretise further," concludes the fashion visionary.