A peek into some of the various projects by Melange.
1. The Royal Opera House show and the Framjee Cawasjee show 1993
Melange wanted to draw attention to the city’s architectural heritage through its events. To celebrate its first anniversary, it hosted a fashion show with garments crafted from recycled paper at the Royal Opera House. The then defunct Opera House came to life for an evening of high-end glamour.
Later, Melange hosted a fashion show at the stately Framjee Cawasjee building. Held in partnership with Akademie Mode Design, Germany, Sangita used corrugated paper and dried flowers to decorate the hall.
2. Mallika Sarabhai’s Green Stationery 1994
Mallika Sarabhai of Mapin Publishing launched her range of eco friendly stationery at Melange. Made out textile waste, petals, grass, straw, jute, hemp, silk and wool fibre and vegetable dyes, the range encompassed notebooks, cards, folders, envelops and gift wrapping. The collection fir right into Melange’s philosophy of recycling and being eco-friendly. Melange also presented a range of beautiful books on Indian Art by Mapin Publishing. (1994)
3. Tai Chi Chuan demonstration 1997
Priyadarshini Rao’s Transitional Collection was launched at Melange in a novel way. Guests were treated to a one hour Tai Chi Chuan demonstration by Sandeep Desai, director of the Shorin Matsubayashi-Ryu Karate Association. Originally developed for self-defense, Tai chi became a graceful way to keep the mind and body healthy. This resonated with Sangita’s Fitness for Life formula which she wanted to share with her guests.
4. Shakti Sutra 1998
The Ladies’ Wing Indian Merchants’ Chamber and Melange joined forces to celebrate International Women’s Day with Shakti Sutra, an unconventional performace at Mumbai University. Directed by Mahesh Mabubani , the dance presentation combined a dance narrative with the elements of fashion to capture the evolution of a woman and her inner Shakti. 1998.
Designers like Aki Narula, Nahid Merchant, Tarpana Shah, Saviojon Fernandes and the Melange DesignStudio created outfits to depict a different phase of a woman’s blossoming.
All proceeds from the show went towards setting up a computer centre for women at Asha Daan.
5. The Window 1998
Sangita Kathiwada wanted to create awareness about contemporary art. In 1998, she launched The Window, a new art gallery right opposite Melange. It made its debut with a line up of 16 not-for-sale exhibitions, curated by Neville Tuli. The list included Ganesh Pyne, Jamini Roy, F N Souza, Somnath Hore and A Ramachandran among others.
6. Ranjan Kapur’s sculptoons
Sangita Sinh Kathiwada convinced advertising veteran the late Ranjan Kapur to showcase his sculptoons –at Melange Window. Ranjan Kapur made humorous caricatures from m-seal in his spare time like ENT specialist Sir Pestonji Nosejobwala and General Phataphat, who fought the shortest war ever.
At the same time, Melange showcased Marjoleine Innemee’s collection of garments and illustrations inspired by Indian textiles especially Mashru silk. Marjoleine, a Dutch designer, worked on a residency programme with the store.
7. Fundraiser for martyrs of the Kargil War
Lina Tipnis of Linarika along with Sangita Kathiwada of Melange organised a unique fashion showcase to raise funds for families of the soldiers martyred in the Kargil War. They brought together 13 leading designers to donate garments from their latest collection for the sale. A total of 200 designer outfits were up for sale at 40% discount. The response was overwhelming. The proceeds were sent to the Army Wives Welfare Association Fund.
8. Rohit Bal’s stand alone store
Rohit Bal’s garments deserved an entire store, so Sangita Sinh Kathiwada conceptualised a store with his works. It encompassed formal and informal collections for men as well as light and embellished outfits for women.
9. Pranhuddha Das Gupta’s book launch 2000
Ace lensman the late Prabhuddha Das Gupta chose to launch his book on Ladakh at Melange. The fashion store transported guests like like Aarti Surendranath, Rahul and Malini Akerkar to Ladakh as they saw black and white compositions of snow, stone, sand, water, earth and sky depicting the enigmatic land. 2000
10. Raisa Hussein collection 2000
Raisa Hussein displayed her collection inspired by her father MF Hussain’s paintings at The Window. The collection called Solah Shringar was a limited edition of cotton and chiffon sarees and salwar kurtas. 2000
11. Anil Dharkar’s collection launch 2001
Veteran journalist Anil Dharkar launched his own line of clothing at Melange amidst friends and colleagues. Dharkar was often complemented for his sartorial style and was often asked as to where he bought them from. The menswear collection in silk and raw silk was an extension of his wardrobe. His tried and tested designs received a warm response. 2001.
12. A Kitsch evening 2001
Sabina Singh showcased her kitsch collection Horn OK Please at Melange with a flamboyant party. Designer Preeti Vyas Giannetti decorated the store with typical streetside altars and small light bulbs while guests came dressed as per the dress code for the evening – kitsch. 2001.
13. Khadi sails upon a new wind 2002
Following the Hindu-Muslim riots in Gujarat in 2002, Sangita Sinh Kathiwada sought to bridge the community divide through what Mahatma Gandhi called the ultimate panacea to the Hindu-Muslim problems – the charkha. Writing in 'Young India' in 1927, Gandhiji said, "Khadi stands for simplicity, not shoddiness. It sits well on the shoulders of the poor and it can be made, as it was made in the days of yore, to adorn the bodies of the richest and the most artistic men and women. Khadi creates moral and spiritual bond between the classes and the masses. It restores to the poor somewhat of what the rich have taken for them."
The Morcraft exhibition called “Khadi sails upon a new wind” interspersed panels with quotes by Mahatma Ganghi with designer khadi wear. Another highlight was the set of Ambar and the other charkas on which people especially children could learn how to spin their own yarn. The event was supported by the Bajaj family. The intention was to promote khadi as an eco-friendly fashion statement.
14. Neeta Premchand’s Paper Lampshades
Neeta Premchand learnt how to make paper from Pune, Khuldabad, Sanganer, Pondicherry, vardha only to realise that hand-made paper workers were out of work. She fused their handmade paper the waste got from it and her creativity to make lampshades, letter paper with folders, sachets, elegant books, collages. Neeta showcased this collection at Melange.
15. Wine and Pasta Evening 2010
Melange celebrated close to 50 designer’s collections alongside a wine and pasta evening hosted by chef Moshe. The evening brought the charm of Italian cooking to Melange and served an array of pastas accompanied by great wine. 16 Jan 2010.
16. Ray’s cinema by Nemai ghosh 2013
Melange along with Delhi Art Gallery showcased an exhibition of archival photographic prints by eminent photographer Nemai Gosh.
Dedicated to the memory of Satyajit Ray, one of the finest auteurs of world cinema, Neimai Ghosh captured stills from his iconic films to present a retrospective of 30 limited edition photographs. The prints were complemented with designer wear and jewellery especially chosen by Sangita Sinh Kathiwada.
17. Umang Hutheesing’s collection 2013
Melange showcased Umang Hutheesing’s regal collection inspired by original antique textiles of Gujarat at an English tea party in 2013.
18. Morarka Arts and Crafts Foundation 2013
It supported (then) upcoming designers Anavila, 11.11/eleven eleven and Tilla at the Lakme Fashion Week 2013.
19. Rang Rasiya Party 2014
Melange celebrated the release of Ketan Mehta ‘s Rang Rasiya, a feature film based on the life of Raja Ravi Varma. Sangita Kathiwada designed the costumes for the movie. She was an integral part of the film and spent several hours discussing the film with Ketan Mehta at Melange. The film was close to Sangita’s heart as she herself is an art patron. In a perfect example of reel life imitating real life, Sangita Kathiwada had a cameo in the film as an art patron who bids for one of the paintings. The star cast including Randeep Hooda and Nandana Sen attended the event. 2014
20. Organic lunch 2014
21. Leroy Parker collection 2014
An artist and inspirational speaker unveiled his first collection of hand-painted apparel in India called The Five Senses. He offered guests with a hands-on experience of how he creates art on clothing. The showstopper for the evening was singer Manasi Scott who wore a beautiful saree painted by Parker. 2014
22. The secret supper project 2015
23. Pamela Easton’s collection 2016
Melange launched Australian designer Pamela Easton’s first collection for India under the label Easton Anaphora. An Australia-based designer Pamela combined her contemporary design sensibilities with traditional Indian embroidery to create chic ensembles. 2016.
24. From Empire to Emporium
On the 50th anniversary of India’s independence, the Centre hosted a tribute to khadi. The event began on 2nd October, birth anniversary of Gandhiji, khado’s stalwart campaigner. During the week-long project, children from schools across the city learned how to use a traditional charkha, dancers performed wearing all-khadi costumes and Emma Tarlo, professor of anthropology at Goldsmith University, London, curated a special exhibition on how khadi influenced the freedom struggle.
Avant-garde designers showcased their khadi collections with unconventional dyes and modern designs to appeal to the younger generation. To further this agenda, the show was followed by a discussion between students and established designers.
The project ignited a renewed interest in khadi and caught the attention of the international design community.