fashion magazine
Lotus Eye - 'It's a Beautiful Thing'
by MARILYN R. WILSON
Photography by KYLA HEMMELGARN @ NOBASURA
Styling - KERRY WEINRAUCH @ NOBASURA
Make up - LUCYANNE @ Lizbell Agency using M.A.C. Cosmetics
Hair - AMBER GEORGE sponsored by Shu Uemura - Verve Hair Lounge
Model - SIOUXSIE @ NOBASURA Rad Kids

Accessories provided by: Gravity Pope, Two of A Few, Low Luv x Erin Wasson, beadworks on 4th, and Gentille Allouette
Designer Paromita Naidu of Lotus Eye is at the forefront of a movement to change the look of traditional Indian apparel. Contemporary aesthetics are paired with classic elements to create a look both versatile and fresh. Gone are the ornate, weighty garments. In their place you find beautiful, pure fabrics used to create saris with a couture feel; Lenghas, Suits and Kaftans that incorporate modern silhouettes and details; strapless, wide-cut Kurtas that can be worn with or with out leggings; and a palette of new colours inspired by gallery art. Best of all, they can move between Eastern and Western events with ease.

Naidu laughingly describes her life journey as "complicated." Despite pressures to be successful artistically and academically, she remembers her childhood as being incredibly happy. After high school she entered Tisch, the performing arts section of NYU where she focused on dance followed by studies at UBC where she earned two additional Masters. The life of a professional dancer first drew her. She performed Bharata Natyam as a soloist - including at the Vancouver Olympics - and worked with renown choreographers such as Judith Marcuse. Then two serious knee injuries forced her to re-focus her artistic energy. A long held dream to design her own clothing line was the answer.

For inspiration she had to look no further than her own home. Naidu's mother was a child during the Independence movement in India and early on made a decision to never wear western clothes. Over the years her mother amassed a museum quality collection of saris and Naidu was "....raised with a respect for textiles, for weaving and for traditional artisanship." Deciding to create her own line was the easy part. Convincing her husband and family to support her was another. Determination and strong planning tipped the scales and it was off to India. Here she sought out artisans in many parts of the country. "Every region has a speciality and I chose to seek out those flavours - Kolkata for weaving and textiles, Chennai for high end silk and contemporary printing and Mumbai for luxury embroidery and manufacturing." She created her own digital prints and woven fabrics and pushed to have traditional elements used in innovative ways. It took a lot of blood, sweat and tears plus constant supervision to convince trades people to do it her way.

Naidu knew she was on the right track when clients began to find her by word of mouth. Seven months after her first trip, she was again on a plane to India to create her current collection. Launched in April 2011, it built on the best elements of her previous line as well exploring new artistic directions. There are elegant, unadorned saris in Matka Silk. The beautiful woven fabric and elegant palette stand alone. Unique graphic patterns including animal print have been added. A small men's collection was developed with contemporary collars and unheard of colours. Then there is the Lengha. Traditionally made from heavy fabric with extensive embellishment, top Indian designers have moved to a global tribal look. The new design is created from 24 metres of pleated cotton that is dip-dyed and then trimmed at the bottom edge.

Paromita Naidu has a strong emotional connection to her work. "Every time I wrap a client I am just blown away by what the sari does for a body - how it moves, how elegant it is, how it can be worn in a sexy contemporary manner and how it can be worn modestly. It is truly one of the oldest masterpieces of art and fashion. Genius!" "

For more information go to www.facebook.com/lotuseye1 or email paromita.naidu@gmail.com