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Chawla's pictures WOW the fash frat.

ROHIT CHAWLA'S latest exhibition is serendipitously titled World of Wearable Art , the acronym of which is WOW. Because that becomes your only utterance when you see his giant canvases; and we use the word canvases because his pictures are nothing less than art. The exhibition was previewed on Sunday evening at the Stainless Gallery, next door to the venue of the Fashion Week which was seeing its penultimate day.

The exhibition derives its title from the Kiwi museum by the same name, which is devoted to wearable art and classic cars. But Chawla's love affair with New Zealand runs deeper than that. According to the lensman, his ad production company Blue, uses the location for several of their shoots. Apart from that, Chawla says he is completely bored with contemporary fashion photography.

" The Photoshop generation has produced some unadulterated anomalies for us to suffer. And I am also put off by everyone who puts up pics of Ladakh.

Sure, this is a sign of democratisation, but at the same time photography has to retain its status as a craft," said Chawla.

Chawla says that he wanted to shoot the models -- one of whom is a Polynesian Maori named Larissa -- in the eclectic, natural setting of New Zealand. For the project, he has shot the models who are wearing the creations of several Kiwi designers who have won awards at former WOW ceremonies.

Some of the exhibits include the truly funky Alpha Romeo Tango Artpholstery, a ' 50s inspired leather dress, embellished with animated images of Marilyn Monroe and Amelia Earhart- type goggles.

But the exhibit that truly stands is the appositely titled Crystal Candela Bra -- it looks exactly how it sounds -- and has been designed by Violet and Charleen Oliver of Auckland. Chawla has shot her against an industriallooking background, with a grill and electrical equipment for company. The exhibits, which feature little nuggets of appreciation for his work written by luminaries such as heritage hotelier Aman Nath and designers such as Tarun Tahiliani and Kalyani Chawla, measure 5 ft by 7 ft or 4ft by 5 ft and are all up for sale.

Chawla says he chose the clothes he felt he would be able to do justice to. " Fashion today has so many unwearable clothes; we decided to take some that were completely impractical," he says, adding that the exhibition is the precursor to a book that he is planning, which will have 120 different images shot across NZ. The evening drew Shaana Levy, executive producer of the film, West Is West , sequel to the precursor of several diaspora films, East Is East . The actress recalls that Om Puri who was part of the original cast, was least perturbed when the controversy around his book, An Unlikely Hero: Om Puri, by wife Nandita broke out during the shooting.

At the preview however, she seemed riveted with Chawla's images. As were the rest of us.

-- The World of Wearable Art is on display at Exhibit 320, Lado Sarai till April 4, 2010 from 11 a. m. to 7 p. m.

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Publication:Mail Today (New Delhi, India)
Date:Mar 30, 2010
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