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Western culture is developing a grand love affair with the distinctive fashion style that is India. Along with Indian music and spirituality, Indian Clothing is having a huge impact on the mainstream identities of western style and culture. The latest designer shows from Armani, Fendi, and Miyake all draw on elements from the exotic Indian culture.Dries Van Noten, one of the new fashion leaders, recently presented a collection of layered chiffon wraps, dresses, saree, and kurta look-alikes.

The color palette these western designers are drawing from is as vibrant as a Rajasthan desert at sundown,using rich golds, reds, and greens. Indian designers like Sunita Shankar, Vandanna Roy, Ritu Beri, Monisha Jaising, Ravi Bajaj and Krishna Mehta are leading the way in redefining Indian fashion. Rohit Bal presented his latest collection, Sanskrit, at a New York benefit gala organized by Children's Hope,and stunned the audiencewith exquisite embroidery, beadwork, and tie-dye fashions, with a decidedly Indian flair.
 
 
Done the New York, Milan, Paris thing? You might add cosmopolitan Mumbai to the fashion trail. This bustling city already has a Project Runway-style documentary soap, Lakme Fashion House, that follows aspiring designers and stars celebrity judge Donatella Versace. (Naomi Campbell bailed.) And for the first time this year, IMG, the production company that runs Gotham's Bryant Park shows, is helping to organize and broaden Lakme fashion week.
Fashion Street has been aptly described as common man's celebrated 'shopping arcade' It is haunted by youngsters and college going girls, who throng to the bazaar. The street is close to the famous Metro Cinema and Dhobi Talao.In fact, it is a huddle of little shops on Mahatma Gandhi Road. Readymade garments are one of Mumbai's chief exportsand the surplus lands up at Fashion Street.They cost only a fraction of the priceand are grabbed by fashion conscious collegians fresh off the rack.Bargaining, of course is half the fun of buying. Begin at half the quoted price and work your way gradually upwards,then follow though with a thorough appraisal of the goods: much of the stuff hereis rejected by quality conscious importersand likely to have a missing button or crooked collar. But by and large the clothes are of good quality, trendy,and probably the cheapest anywhere in the world.So walk into Fashion Street and shop for your wardrobe.
 
INDIAN DESIGNERS
 
 
Manish Malhotra has managed to achieve that delicate balance between designing for film, as well as haute couture. Now with Sheetal Design Studio, Manish wants to conquer further horizons in the fashion industry. His plans include a prĂȘt a porter line for women along with his couture label and also a couture & prĂȘt line for men.
"A little bit of bad taste can be a good thing", says Ashish Gupta. I love kitsch, glamour and color". Marrying the ease of American Sportswear with the over-the-top aesthetic of his native India,led to the streets of New York
Krishna Mehta is a label synonymous with classic designs of understated elegance. Relaxed yet bold, in keeping with the pace of contemporary life. Today, Krishna Mehta could easily be called the priestess of classicism realising the acute awareness about Indian Fashion on international levels
 
 
Sandy Dalal, the Perry Ellis Award-winning menswear designer, and Brooklyn-born Cliff Fong, a buyer turned fashion and interior designer, are bringing a bit of l'Inde to Paris. Later this month, they'll present a trunk show of their one-and-a-half-year-old Chatav Ectabit line at the shopping emporium Colette. The unisex label, which already counts Keith Richards and Brad Pitt as fans, is upping the luxury (and the price) quotient by creating one-off pieces hand-finished and embellished by craftspeople all over India. In Mumbai, where Dalal is based, he and new bride Julie eat at Seijo and the Soul Dish, a South Asian-fusion hot spot popular with the Bollywood Brat Pack. Chatav Ectabit available Stateside at Jeffrey New York, NYC, (212) 206-1272, and Maxfield, L.A., (310) 274-8800; Seijo and the Soul Dish, 206 Krystal Waterfield Road, Bandra, Mumbai, 011-91-22-2640-5555.