Padma Shri Shobha Deepak Singh had began to showcase Vastra Shobha when she realised that there is a niche market for antique textiles. By Team Viva
Today, one might give their mother’s old bell-bottoms from the 70s a miss but one would never say no to grandmother’s handcrafted silk or Banarsi saris. It would in fact occupy the realm of classy and vintage, believes Shobha Deepak Singh, a Padma Shri Awardee, who presented an exhibition of antique textiles — Vastra Shobha. The collection consisted of a wide variety of silk, Ikat, Patola and Banarasi saris as well as a range of colourful dupattas.
She said, “Indian textiles and weaving techniques have been around from time immemorial and can be traced back to the Indus Valley Civilisation. Through this exhibition, I not only wanted to express my love towards them but also help the regional weavers to actually keep traditional crafts alive that date back to thousands of years. Earlier, I got in touch with contractors for delivery of fabrics but today, I contact the weavers directly.” Shobha has been holding the exhibition twice a year. With over 30 years of experience in the field of costume design, direction, photography, choreography and management of arts, she runs an exclusive boutique comprising heritage saris, borders, stoles and veils and this exhibition showcases the best of these designs. Some of the textiles are almost 100 years old and Shobha takes great care to restore them. With a discerning eye for quality and authenticity, she makes sure every article of clothing is a collector’s item.
While she has been passionate about textiles since a very young age, it was approximately 25 years ago that she held her very first exhibition, which was inaugurated by the then Delhi Chief Minister, Sheila Dikshit. “It all started when my daughter, who was about to get married brought some antique saris. I placed an order to replicate 50 of them for her and the family but since the weavers would make at least four of each sari, I held an exhibition to sell the rest of them. I displayed both the antique and the replicated ones there and I realised then that there is a niche market for the former even though these are torn,” said Shobha, who counts Shabana Azmi as one of her clientele. Since then, the one thing she refuses to compromise on is quality. “And now, I have come to a point when I have probably the best collection of antique textiles in Delhi,” she added.
Shobha acquires the textiles and fabrics from all over the country. “If they are in a good condition, I purchase them but even if they are not, I know how to restore them,” said the self-taught expert, who has a discerning eye for quality and authenticity.
With exquisite Banarasi to Gharchola to Ikats, Patolas and heavy silks in vibrant colours and designs, she promises that Vastra Shobha is a delight for those who share same love for heritage. “Since a lot of women wear salwar kameez these days, there is also a collection of some of the best dupattas. There will also be a lovely collection of antique borders,” said she.
Thursday, 31 October 2019 | Team Viva
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