Smuggled over a dozen trips across Indian ethnic hotspots, a blurred image of stacked jeweled clutches, bags and purses adorning my cabinet comes to mind. As simple or vivid as they get, these treasures have played into every woman’s moods and evolving fashion statement. Spotting a foreign tourist at one of my hop-overs to a flea market, I saw her fumbling for many of these chic little purses, clutches, potlis that the shop bragged of. Sheer curiosity drove me to ask what she was shopping for, and pat came the reply, “I never imagined I’d find baroque embroidery stitched onto a Potli anywhere, I’m bowled over with these penny pouches decked in Indian motifs and prints, and I want to take this stuff home.”
As I walked about, here’s what caught fancy of my fashion lens.
Robed in bright colors, embroidered in vivid Phulkari, or jute and cane weaves – these pouches ring in the nostalgia of college-going trends, spilling out as an accompaniment to casual moods.
From ancient Indian literature and paintings, Potlis have fanned out into the chic wardrobe staple for the style-conscious woman, from being a mere item of utility. Each new detail, motif, embroidery or weave adds a new layer of depiction to these pouches, from beaded patterns, hand-embroidered or embellished in stone-work and zardozi on to fabrics like velvet, satin, silk.
Inter played with a banter of sequins in geometric shapes, on to these clothes wonders, the little clutch bag transitions into a party accessory with the bling factor.
Wrapped in vibrant shades, some embroidered in mirror work or Kutch work, these pouches stood out for evoking simple yet classy essences. A sprinkle of Ikat weaves or Phulkari embroidery on to a Potli, and a whole new cult is born.
Shantiniketan leather Purses and Clutches from Kolkata bringing in a fusion of the ‘glocal’ fashion on to the modern runway of contemporary backdrop.