Urmi Ghosh is an artistic young woman from Kolkata, and has just taken her first steps into the Indian fashion scene. A NIFT graduate, Urmi presented her first collection as designer at Lakme Fashion Week Winter/Festive 2011’s GenNext show last week in Mumbai.
Urmi’s collection, called “Maar and Moumoune”, depicted the tale of Pablo Picasso’s lover, Dora Maar. (Moumoune was Dora Maar’s cat). Using heavy fabrics for cold climes, Urmi fused layers, textures and motifs like a veteran for dresses, jumpsuits, tunics and smocks with asymmetric cuts. Despite the muted colour palette, the imagery of cats, boots, birds, and a little girl was striking.
Even though Speaking Chic sat down for a formal interview with Urmi, it later turned into a freewheeling conversation on art, architecture, travel and photography. 🙂 Here’s some of the things we spoke about:
Urmi, what have you conveyed through your first collection?
I’ve envisioned my first collection specifically for the Delhi clientele. What I wanted to communicate is my design aesthetic to buyers. Every piece in the collection can be toned down into something very wearable in a number of ways, like by using lighter fabrics. Fortunately, I have been able to communicate my aesthetic in just the way I wanted.
So what is your design aesthetic?
Developing a design aesthetic is an evolutionary process. But I’m a more silhouette- than embroidery-centric person, so you can see that it is very minimally used in my garments. I’m quite form-oriented and like I anti-fits. I don’t go for skin show. As for colours, I prefer dull and neutral colours like greys, which I’ve used. Though I do like to break greys with a bit of colour.
Tell us more about Dora Maar and how her story inspired you.
Dora Maar was an extremely talented lady, but Picasso left her for another woman. Through the collection, I’ve tried to portray the transformation of Dora into a schizophrenic and recluse who needed therapy.
And the little girl we see in the imagery on your garments is Dora?
Yes, I imagined the little girl as Dora Maar. These images are by Japanese surreal artist Naomi Kobayashi and her illustrations depict this young girl and her hallucinations, which could well be those of Dora and do justice to Dora’s story.
In your collection you have fused fabrics and textures in a very artistic manner. What inspired you to do that?
I’ve drawn inspiration from Cubism, which is a style Picasso was known for. For instance, in the painting Dora Maar Au Chat, Picasso has painted Dora by putting together different shapes and fabrics, and her attire in the portrait is intricately done.
It seems art has been a great source of inspiration for you. Do you paint? And which artists have influenced you?
Yes, I do paint—I love exploring poster colour and painting on glass. And both Picasso and Salvador Dali have influenced me immensely.
Aki Narula is your mentor at LFW W/F 2011 along with other GenNext designers. How was your experience working with him?
Aki has been a rockstar! He’s been like a father figure to all of us, guiding us, being patient, and giving us good advice. When I was working on my fourth or fifth garment, I got very sceptical of my designs. He told me to cover the clothes I’d already done with a sheet and continue with my collection. I did that, and it worked! Before I head back to Kolkata I’m gonna hug him and tell him thanks!