Thanks to globalization and India’s emergence as an economic powerhouse in the last decade, the latest bout of Western infatuation with all things Indian is arguably the most intense it has been since the heady days of British colonialism. There has been a a recent artistic renaissance, coupled with a steady increase in both interest and export. First it was a small curiosity about Bollywood films, solidified by Slumdog Millionaire, followed by the wild success of Indian contemporary art in the last five years. It is no wonder that the next area of focus would be fashion. Contemporary Indian Fashion, edited by Federico Rocca, is a visually stunning and well-curated coffee-table book featuring 24 leading young designers working out of India. They not only represent the here-and-now of Indian fashion, but its future as well.
This is, essentially, a picture book. Made up of 6 to 12 page spreads, the work of each designer is showcased along with a very short rundown of their background and an interview. All of the clothes are wonderful to look at, and I found myself flipping through it again and again, as I would a really great magazine. Each spread nicely balances editorial flourishes, pages featuring multiple looks from a collection, and several detail shots. In the case of Indian fashion, the prominence of the detail shot is absolutely essential due to the meticulous details of the clothes themselves.