Ports 1961- For Fall ‘09 Tia Cibani transports us to India, in a collection that was imbued with all the visual tactility that is worthy of the designer’s inspiration. The charm and resonance of Cibani’s work lies in her courageous virtuosity- she always seems to be designing with more than just sales numbers in mind. One can always be assured that ‘love it‘or ‘hate it’ Cibani’s work will emote some internal reaction. True to form she always sets the stage, this season with the music of an Indian marching band that beckoned the crowd on what would be an indulgent expedition of texture, color and line.
The show opened with a sand colored, Angharkha coat with an intriguing offset neckline highlighted by a series of ruby colored embellishments. Cibani shows a talent for creating feminine coats, this season they came in the form of frock styled shapes that accentuated the waist and then flared out. According to the program notes the emphasis was to mimic the ideal female form. Amid the line up of coats streamed forth all sorts of variations of Indian garb from cropped jackets to salwar trousers to dohoti skirts. Through strategically layering garments Cibani was able to create interesting negative spaces or peak holes that added a sensual aspect to the collection. While not altogether realistic for the average woman the collection did give way to some graceful looks- like the Kohl Kalidar coat or the moonstone mousseline pleated coat with metalline pleated dress.
As one might expect of a collection inspired by India, the fabrics were brilliantly textural – ranging from lames, to hand pleated velvets, mulmull cottons and amazing jacquards. The colorful palette was equally inviting and in keeping with the warmth and festive mood of the collection.
Cibani was intent on preparing us for an appearance before the Empress Nur Jahan or perhaps she is simply banking on more jubilant times ahead. Whatever her reasoning the designer presented a glistening collection that was inspired by the richness of the Indian culture. While visually captivating upon reflection and study I wondered how some of these inspired looks would translate to real life.
In a season where many designers seem timid about taking chances I suppose Cibani is deserving of some degree of note for her moxy. Visually the collection had all the things that keep you reeling – rich in texture, color and shape but it just seemed too extreme…even for this Cibani fan.
Photos © Stevyn Llewellyn 2009. See more photos from the show below.
To see a slideshow of the entire collection, please click here.