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Interview with Little Shilpa

September 15, 2010

I haven’t found much to post for the last few weeks as it’s the ‘quiet before the storm’, the ‘storm’ being London Fashion Week which kicks off on Friday. I’m so excited that inspirational artist and designer Little Shilpa will be exhibiting again at LFW Exhibition and I’m even more excited that she agreed to do the 1st interview for .play blog. Below she talks about her passions and inspirations and her latest catwalk collection ‘The Totem Rainbow.’

Images taken from Totem Rainbow AW10 Lookbook.


What inspires your creative world?

My inspiration comes from all that they call street and having worked as a stylist helps to manifest that image in a more realistic and edited form. My pieces are like a canvas as they personify an aspect of my visual influence from observation to execution. I design on intuition; the challenge is to reach as close to what I have imagined and that’s where ingenuity comes in…the process of the creation of a piece is more exciting than the completed piece. I am constantly working with new raw materials and hence reinvention in design as well as technique is challenging and inevitable.

What is the story behind your latest collection Totem Rainbow?

In an imaginary process, crossing borders between art and fashion, looking forward collectively, and unconscious of our time, this super colourful collection alerts us to the beginning of a spiritual war. The Rainbow Totem is a collection full of bright, fluorescent colours that will bring alive any outfit. It celebrates the use of rainbow colours, which are ever more prominent because of the translucent perspex material employed. Tribals invade the city in feathers, plumes and wild colours. The union of perspex with feathers portrays an almost Warrior Princess-like air.

Does your work relate to current trends in the Indian fashion world?

I’m very influenced by my surroundings. I’m nostalgic about my local up-bringing and the beauty attached to the simplicity of it…this overnight modernisation makes me want to hold onto my visual imagery from the streets. There is always a weird juxtaposition of the old and the modern as you look through the city, my work shows it as well.  I like to create this co-existence by combining the past with the present, decadence with clean and simple design.

You recently created a piece for Lady Gaga. What did you think about that?

Who wouldn’t be thrilled about doing a piece for Lady Gaga!!  How many people do we know who are in a position to wear fashion the way she does and actually get round to doing it?? How many people can be themselves and yet be an enigma?? 

Your work crosses the boundaries between art, fashion, jewellery and millenary, so when asked what you do, what do you describe your profession as?

As a creative job that changes every day. Work that is between fashion and art, I think it’s a blessing to be able to do what you want to do and still call it work.

Your work is so unique and inspiring, particularly impressive in the large scale that you work on. What is your key to success?

My work is being categorised as fashion – art…I have always been in this in-between space. There are small collections but there are a lot more art related exhibits, be it installations or photography or even customised dramatic headpieces for a show or a shoot. I always think of my pieces as a whole, as an installation or a complete picture when I’m designing them. I don’t really think of myself in a space, whether art or fashion, that stagnates you, gives you too many rules to follow or even acknowledge. I endeavour to just create rather than define.

What’s next? Do you have any exciting plans for the coming year?

I aspire to be able to make possible everything that I think of or dream of.

Little Shilpa will be exhibiting at Somerset House from 17th – 21st September.

Thank you very much to Shilpa Chavan for her time and all her lovely emails.

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