Most stylish: Shelly Chhabra
OCCUPATION: BRIDAL DESIGNER SPECIALIZING IN TRADITIONAL INDIAN GOWNS
> Contrast American and Indian clothing. In the United States we don’t delve into too many colors. Our fabric choices for casual wear usually boil down to cotton, denim, and knits. In India, people [wear] prints and colors and textures — velvets, raw silk, chiffon, organza. We are so used to seeing it that when you put wild things together, it doesn’t turn people off.
> You’ve said there are “logistical” issues with Indian clothing. What do you mean? It’s a lot more ornate and not as conducive to machine washing. In India, dry-cleaning clothes is not that common — you wear them a few times. You don’t want the fabric to be ruined. People here want to clean their clothes more often.
> Where do you get your inspiration? I’m inspired by the Mughal era. It was during that period when fashion became very luxurious. That had to do with the Persian influence from the maharajas. They used very intricate embroidery, rich silks, bold colors, and jewels.
> How influential is Indian fashion? More and more people know about the sari — it’s all draped and very elegant. I see that draping style in many evening and cocktail dresses now.
Beth Teitell can be reached at email@example.com.