Natural Sources of Dyes

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Natural Sources of Dyes

Who knew that the fiery red color of the Hibiscus lent a gentle mauve shade to fabrics? Just like love, one would say, that’s fierce and proud outside and gentle and dreamy inside.

The fascination of understanding how some common elements in the environment could lend colours and shades to fabrics, jewellery and art had sparked the imagination of people for over 40,000 years. Colors, however, initially were more than just a creative outlet of self-expression; since most commonly used dyes in ancient times were found near their source, color often differentiated geographic location as well as class and custom.

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As a stylist, my love for the pink from shades of blush to fuchsia has mesmerized any evening wear. Flaunt Angadi’s Tussar Dabu Silk on an evening after work occasion with Hermes Kelly Tan Bag. Pair your look with jewels that are muted yet sophisticated. For instance, Cartier’s Amethyst Brooch is an elegant choice of accessory that will seek that little extra attention. A smart evening watch by Chanel paired with a Trinity ring from Cartier with a touch of blush and bronze on you should be just enough for you to look gorgeous.

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One of the colors that captivated history and stays on is Purple. Tyranian purple, as it was once called, was achieved only from crushing thousands of shells of a mollusk called Murex, found on the eastern coast of the Mediterranean. Alexander the Great first laid eyes upon robes dyed with purple when he conquered Persia in 331 BC and was instrumental in the introducing the color to other parts of the world. However, due to its rarity and intensive process to obtain this color, purple was only available for the robes of kings and princes and since then Royal Purple, as it is known now, is forever tied in its association with royalty.

Other natural colours, in the meanwhile, continued to evolve into new shades and combined with others to create magical prints and motifs thus breaking the monotony. Coming from nature itself, natural dyes emulate qualities of nature that are limited only by imagination.

From light golden brown sand of a hot desert to the deep brown shade of wet mud after heavy rains, coffee beans hold the color of the earth and all its moods…sensual, warm, grounded. In more modern times, brown is regarded as sophisticated and classy without being as formal as black or white.

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One of the many questions I receive as an Angadi stylist is how to create a look for a date night. Unlike many believe, some of the best looks are often the easiest to do and leave a lasting impression.

Create an impact on your date with a coffee brown Shibori saree with beige motifs that reflect the feminine energy of the Earth, brown just as ground that you walk on. Pair the gentle translucent saree with sleek and powerful stilettos from Christian Louboutin Nude Collection for balanced and chic look. Accessorize with Alexander McQueen vintage’s cigarette case in pale gold with a blush pink ostrich feather plumage and a bracelet from Cartier’s T Collection to add a playful and flirtatious touch. Complete your look with luscious Deep Mink lipstick by Tomford.

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As the perfect union of blue and purple, Indigo reflects the mysteries of the mid-waters of the deep ocean and deep midnight blue. It is almost a mystery in itself how this enviable combination of calming blue and royal purple comes from the innocuous leaves of the Neelini plant.

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So inspired was Marco Polo by this mesmerising color that he described indigo manufacturing process in India in detail during the 13th century AD, about 300 years before the Portuguese introduced it to Europe.

Indigo’s cool, soothing effects are best appreciated when summer rolls in, as do the eye-catching colours and easy-breathing fabrics. The best part, however, is that this is a great season for looking stylish with myriad of combinations to play with.

Heading out for a leisurely Sunday brunch where chilled Mimosas await you? Match the Sunday mood with a white asymmetrical skirt, plain white top, and beat the summer with a deep mid-ocean blue indigo Shibori jacket and a bright pop of colour of burnt orange stole. Stay comfortable in stylish tie-up sandals from ALL SAINTS. Wear a classic Chanel rouge lipstick and accessorize with fun and colourful sunglasses from Fendi’s Jungle collection to complete the relaxed and put-together Sunday brunch with friends. Hope you are carrying your Polaroid to capture the fun moments!

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Synthetic dyes may have pushed open the colour box wide; however, they are still poor competition to the lustrous under-glow of rich colour or the soft light and shadow of the fabric enriched with natural dyes. Even a simple scarf dyed in natural dye can elevate the look of any outfit. It is, hence, no surprise that naturally dyed fabrics are not just here to stay but will remain in high fashion.

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