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Little Shilpa S/S 09 Collection

Little Shilpa's Accessories

The Mumbai-based stylist has turned her hand to custom made, one-off accessories.

Little Shilpa by Shilpa Chavan is so named because designer Shilpa is herself “very little”. And her forename means “sculpture” which considering her multi media hats, is also very apt. Born and based in Mumbai, India, 34 year old Shilpa studied science before branching out into a colourful world of play toys and boys otherwise known as the fashion industry. After working as a stylist for ads and mags, she turned her Midas touch to handicrafts and so her label was born from a handful of one-off pieces. Dazed spoke to Shipla in the super-crowded Mumbai during Diwali, the Hindi festival of light, where the city is currently lit with coloured lights, lanterns and fireworks.

Dazed Digital: You use really bright colours in your work including embellishments like aeroplanes and toy soldiers. How did that come about?
Shipla Chavan: The one thing Indians are not afraid of is colour and we use it shamelessly! I love to wake up and look at bright colours as it keeps the rest of the day bright and shiny. It gives me an energy. These days I favour fluorescent colours – the brighter the better! My work also holds a very nostalgic feeling to it: growing up, toys, bright colours, travel, pictures and other funny bits collected from all over.

DD: Where does your inspiration come from?
SC: From all that they call “the street”. Having worked as a stylist it helps to manifest that image of “street” 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.

DD: A lot of textile mills in India have been closing down over the last 18 months as the rupee loses value against the dollar – does this affect someone independent like yourself?
SC: Not really as I don't use that much textile in my collection. But on a larger perspective it does as the cost of everything has gone higher.

DD: Which famous person (alive or dead) defines style for you?
SC: Isabella Blow as she defined what she wore and never the other way around.

DD: If you could dress anyone who would that be?
SC: Bjork!!

DD: You're final hat this season was a lit chandelier. What was that about?
SC: It included all my favourite pictures: travel, friends, family, skies in different countries, parties, etc. Everything and everyone who played something in my life towards making this collection possible. The chandelier was my final mood board for the collection.

DD: What can we expect to see from you in the future?
SC:  I love the space that I'm in now. It's in between art and fashion. I'd like to continue doing my installation pieces as I think that these are a starting point towards scaling down the sizes into a wearable piece.
I'm also working on a label called "LSD" too - Little Shilpa Design -- creating party accessories for the boys.
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