April 21, 2011

Lotuses Blooming From Wood

When I was at university, one of my close friends perpetually teased me about my fascination with flowers and floral-prints. I bought SATC-inspired corsage hair-ties by the armful and upon misplacing them, immediately bought more as replacements. My closet was overflowing with button down forget-me-not print shirts, tea-parties-in-garden appropriate chiffon blouses, rose-embroidered scallop-edged black trousers and my personal favorite: purple-corsage-topped flip-flops that I bought from H&M one summer. Yes, in short, there was virtually a flowerbed in my closet, folks. With passage of time, my interest in flowers/floral-prints has literally withered, so to speak: I have yet to remember the last time I purchased something in floral print unless it was in monochrome and veered towards the bold and abstract.

Yet, I was instantly enchanted the moment I first set eyes on Rachana Reddy’s exquisite silk-lotus embossed wooden and leather minaudières from her debut 2010 collection. For starters, I find the lotus unbearably beautiful: I recall seeing worshippers delicately clutch lotus buds by the dozen at the Green Emerald Buddha temple in Bangkok, the slender buds seemingly equivalent to candles. I have only once seen them bloom in their natural habitat, the water and it happened to be a lake by a temple in Jodhpur, the surface filled with bluish-pink blooms. The rose and its beauty just seem far too clichéd in comparison.

In the case of Reddy’s clutches, the marriage between the wood, leather, silk, color and the lotus pattern was irresistible. Reddy’s other clutches are equally intriguing studies of the interplay between wood, leather, studs, and silk but the lotus clutches in magenta and the gold/brown are my favorites by far.The latter's metallic accents and quilted surface enable it to be a perfect accompaniment to structured Western wear while the deep magenta one will complement the jewel tones of traditional Indian clothing while simultaneously offering an unusual textural contrast through its use of wood.

Definitely something to covet, rather than merely admire…

Images courtesy: Rachana Reddy

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