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The unique fashion runways of 2020

Lounge looks back at some memorable presentations during fashion shows in the past 12 months

Balenciaga Fall RTW 2020 – The show, held in Paris, was truly an immersive experience, as the first two rows of the set were submerged under water. And above, skies were displayed with lightning and rough seas. Creative director Demna Gvasalia’s vision for the future was clear in the set as much as the collection: the future is dark, black and apocalyptic, unless the world changes its consumerist ways.
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Balenciaga Fall RTW 2020 – The show, held in Paris, was truly an immersive experience, as the first two rows of the set were submerged under water. And above, skies were displayed with lightning and rough seas. Creative director Demna Gvasalia’s vision for the future was clear in the set as much as the collection: the future is dark, black and apocalyptic, unless the world changes its consumerist ways.
Balmain Spring RTW 2021 – For Balmain’s 75th anniversary show, its Creative Director Olivier Rousteing went the ‘phygital’ route in a more literal sense than how it’s usually meant. While there were physical attendees at the show in Paris, for those who couldn’t travel, three rows were set aside for them to be present on oversized TV screens, each for a VIP guest such as Jennifer Lopez, Megan Thee Stallion and Kris Jenner.
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Balmain Spring RTW 2021 – For Balmain’s 75th anniversary show, its Creative Director Olivier Rousteing went the ‘phygital’ route in a more literal sense than how it’s usually meant. While there were physical attendees at the show in Paris, for those who couldn’t travel, three rows were set aside for them to be present on oversized TV screens, each for a VIP guest such as Jennifer Lopez, Megan Thee Stallion and Kris Jenner.
Celine Spring 2021 Menswear – The effects and inspirations of TikToks reached far and wide this year, to the extent that even Celine’s Creative Director, Hedi Slimane, showcased a menswear collection based on the street culture that’s emanated from the app. While the was filmed in at the Circuit Paul Ricard racetrack in Marseille, the clothes were elevated street style.
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Celine Spring 2021 Menswear – The effects and inspirations of TikToks reached far and wide this year, to the extent that even Celine’s Creative Director, Hedi Slimane, showcased a menswear collection based on the street culture that’s emanated from the app. While the was filmed in at the Circuit Paul Ricard racetrack in Marseille, the clothes were elevated street style.
Jacqemus Spring RTW 2021 – One of the first shows to happen after the world went into lockdown was by Simon Porte Jacquemus’ eponymous label. Set against a pastoral background in France, models walked down a winding path amidst fields of golden wheat, showcasing a collection that was meant to soothe and calm in troubling times.
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Jacqemus Spring RTW 2021 – One of the first shows to happen after the world went into lockdown was by Simon Porte Jacquemus’ eponymous label. Set against a pastoral background in France, models walked down a winding path amidst fields of golden wheat, showcasing a collection that was meant to soothe and calm in troubling times.
Moschino Spring RTW 2021 – During a period when designers and fashion houses were being tested on their creativity on how to present a show, Jeremy Scott brought the quirk in a nostalgic form by showcasing his collection on miniature marionettes in a charming salon-style show. Every detail was down, to even the attendees.
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Moschino Spring RTW 2021 – During a period when designers and fashion houses were being tested on their creativity on how to present a show, Jeremy Scott brought the quirk in a nostalgic form by showcasing his collection on miniature marionettes in a charming salon-style show. Every detail was down, to even the attendees.

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Paris Haute Couture Week: Vaishali S. creates an underwater journey

The designer stays true to her signature style while offering new silhouettes and blends of shimmering materials 

The show took place in a room stripped of wallpaper, with rows of electrical wires visible.
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The show took place in a room stripped of wallpaper, with rows of electrical wires visible.
All the females models wore Kolhapuri chappals (from Vaishali’s hometown state), while walking in clothes were structured, yet flowy.
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All the females models wore Kolhapuri chappals (from Vaishali’s hometown state), while walking in clothes were structured, yet flowy.
Vaishali S. presented her collection, Abyss, on 24 January under the landmark, La Pyramide Inversée skylight, at Carrousel du Louvre. The collection included 35 garments, made using different silks and uplifted with traditional embroideries. 
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Vaishali S. presented her collection, Abyss, on 24 January under the landmark, La Pyramide Inversée skylight, at Carrousel du Louvre. The collection included 35 garments, made using different silks and uplifted with traditional embroideries. 
Vaishali S. greets the crowd after presenting her collection
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Vaishali S. greets the crowd after presenting her collection

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At Paris couture week, Rahul Mishra brings the universe alive in embroidery

The designer's collection, Cosmos, was a celebration of Indian hand-embroidery and craft techniques   

Rahul Mishra presented his couture collection at Paris' The Westin hotel on 23 January. 
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Rahul Mishra presented his couture collection at Paris' The Westin hotel on 23 January.  (Valerio Mezzanotti @nowfashion)
Each piece in the collection, made at his workshop in the Indian city of Noida, was realised in two and three-dimensional hand embroidery. 
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Each piece in the collection, made at his workshop in the Indian city of Noida, was realised in two and three-dimensional hand embroidery.  (AFP)
The embroidery was encrusted with Swarovski crystals, to give life to the elements of the world using threads.
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The embroidery was encrusted with Swarovski crystals, to give life to the elements of the world using threads. (AFP)
The collection included gowns, bodysuits and jackets.
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The collection included gowns, bodysuits and jackets. (Valerio Mezzanotti @nowfashion)
The custom-made shoes also grabbed attention with glitter-full heels. 
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The custom-made shoes also grabbed attention with glitter-full heels.  (Valerio Mezzanotti @nowfashion)

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Zângkhua, a Beacon of Hope, a Mizo folktale translated and illustrated by Alyssa Pachuau

An ancient Mizo folktale tells the story of how a young warrior’s spirit continues to watch over his people

According to Mizo folklore, Zângkhua, or the constellation Ursa Major, is the spirit of a young warrior named Kawlawia. The constellation consists of seven bright arsi (stars) and is one of the most prominent clusters that appear in the north. Our ancestors possessed remarkable wisdom about the world, including stars and constellations. The Mizo elders keenly observed the appearance of these celestial bodies to track time, months and seasons, and read them as signs of good or bad fortune to come. They established their own theories of origin, resulting in interesting myths, lore and legends. This folktale tells the origin of the constellation Zângkhua, and how it became one of the most significant “stars” among the Mizo people.
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According to Mizo folklore, Zângkhua, or the constellation Ursa Major, is the spirit of a young warrior named Kawlawia. The constellation consists of seven bright arsi (stars) and is one of the most prominent clusters that appear in the north. Our ancestors possessed remarkable wisdom about the world, including stars and constellations. The Mizo elders keenly observed the appearance of these celestial bodies to track time, months and seasons, and read them as signs of good or bad fortune to come. They established their own theories of origin, resulting in interesting myths, lore and legends. This folktale tells the origin of the constellation Zângkhua, and how it became one of the most significant “stars” among the Mizo people. (Illustrations by Alyssa Pachuau)
Once upon a time, there lived a man named Kawlawia (pronounced Koloya) in Mizoram. He married a young woman from the village of Sairum, which lies east of the Tlawng river. One night, Kawlawia dreamt a terrible dream that he believed foreshadowed his death. “Go to your in-laws’ village and offer a sacrifice. Tragedy will not befall you,” the village elders said. He decided to go to Sairum to perform a thla hual, a ceremony where a sacrifice is offered to pacify one’s mind.
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Once upon a time, there lived a man named Kawlawia (pronounced Koloya) in Mizoram. He married a young woman from the village of Sairum, which lies east of the Tlawng river. One night, Kawlawia dreamt a terrible dream that he believed foreshadowed his death. “Go to your in-laws’ village and offer a sacrifice. Tragedy will not befall you,” the village elders said. He decided to go to Sairum to perform a thla hual, a ceremony where a sacrifice is offered to pacify one’s mind.
At Sairum, Kawlawia’s in-laws sacrificed a young fowl and a pig for the thla hual ceremony. He felt a sense of peace almost immediately, and set off for his home. On the way back, as he reached Berhvakawn, Kawlawia was waylaid by warriors from another village. And just like he had dreamt, he was killed, and the enemies carried off his head and leg as trophies. 
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At Sairum, Kawlawia’s in-laws sacrificed a young fowl and a pig for the thla hual ceremony. He felt a sense of peace almost immediately, and set off for his home. On the way back, as he reached Berhvakawn, Kawlawia was waylaid by warriors from another village. And just like he had dreamt, he was killed, and the enemies carried off his head and leg as trophies. 
After a few days, a tlaiberh (Red-vented bulbul) appeared at Kawlawia’s house and perched on a bamboo clothesline by the doorway. “Kawlawia lies dead at Berhvakawn,” the tlaiberh called. When they heard its song, Kawlawia’s family became anxious. “What a strange song the tlaiberh sings,” they said. 
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After a few days, a tlaiberh (Red-vented bulbul) appeared at Kawlawia’s house and perched on a bamboo clothesline by the doorway. “Kawlawia lies dead at Berhvakawn,” the tlaiberh called. When they heard its song, Kawlawia’s family became anxious. “What a strange song the tlaiberh sings,” they said. 
Finally, they sent some young warriors to Berhvakawn who found Kawlawia’s body. A small swarm of khawidang (wasps) was hovering over his knee where his leg had been severed. 
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Finally, they sent some young warriors to Berhvakawn who found Kawlawia’s body. A small swarm of khawidang (wasps) was hovering over his knee where his leg had been severed. 
As they stood over his body, there occurred a great gathering of darkness: the Thîm-Zîng. It appeared like a great black fog that covered the world in darkness. In that moment, Kawlawia’s body rose to the sky and turned into a cluster of stars that came to be known as Zângkhua. In this constellation, the first two stars, or “point stars”, are believed to be his shoulders, and the rest his torso and remaining leg. Till today, it is said wasps are flitting around his knee and can be seen blinking in the distance.
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As they stood over his body, there occurred a great gathering of darkness: the Thîm-Zîng. It appeared like a great black fog that covered the world in darkness. In that moment, Kawlawia’s body rose to the sky and turned into a cluster of stars that came to be known as Zângkhua. In this constellation, the first two stars, or “point stars”, are believed to be his shoulders, and the rest his torso and remaining leg. Till today, it is said wasps are flitting around his knee and can be seen blinking in the distance.
When Zângkhua turns upside down, it is common knowledge that it won’t be long before dawn. In hard times, it’s common to say “Zângkhua a la bungbu ang”, which means Zângkhua will turn upside down to bolster people’s spirits and indicate that things will change for the better.
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When Zângkhua turns upside down, it is common knowledge that it won’t be long before dawn. In hard times, it’s common to say “Zângkhua a la bungbu ang”, which means Zângkhua will turn upside down to bolster people’s spirits and indicate that things will change for the better.
When Zângkhua turns upside down, it is common knowledge that it won’t be long before dawn. In hard times, it’s common to say “Zângkhua a la bungbu ang”, which means Zângkhua will turn upside down to bolster people’s spirits and indicate that things will change for the better.
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When Zângkhua turns upside down, it is common knowledge that it won’t be long before dawn. In hard times, it’s common to say “Zângkhua a la bungbu ang”, which means Zângkhua will turn upside down to bolster people’s spirits and indicate that things will change for the better.
Zângkhua not only tells the time and seasons, the stars themselves give hope to those who look upon them. They are a constant reminder that darkness will eventually give way to light and wrongs will be made right.  Alyssa Pachuau is a New York-based children’s illustrator. Her first picture book, Ukepenuopfü, with author Theyiesinuo Keditsu was published in 2022. 
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Zângkhua not only tells the time and seasons, the stars themselves give hope to those who look upon them. They are a constant reminder that darkness will eventually give way to light and wrongs will be made right.  Alyssa Pachuau is a New York-based children’s illustrator. Her first picture book, Ukepenuopfü, with author Theyiesinuo Keditsu was published in 2022. 

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Snapshots from a cake exhibition in Bengaluru

From a cake weighing 18 tonnes to one dedicated to Lata Mangeshkar, visitors can witness the limitless creativity of bakers at this annual event

The 48th edition of the annual Bengaluru cake show is underway at St Joseph's Indian High School ground in Ashok Nagar. The themes this year explore good over evil, history and remembrance, and nature and harmony. In this photo, a baker poses with a 340 kg cake model of the Great Barrier Reef. (PTI Photo/Shailendra Bhojak) 
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The 48th edition of the annual Bengaluru cake show is underway at St Joseph's Indian High School ground in Ashok Nagar. The themes this year explore good over evil, history and remembrance, and nature and harmony. In this photo, a baker poses with a 340 kg cake model of the Great Barrier Reef. (PTI Photo/Shailendra Bhojak)  (PTI)
The cakes have been created by 20 students of the Institute of Baking and Cake Art (IBCA). This photo of a cake, designed like the bust of Lata Mangeshkar, weighs 130 kgs. (ANI Photo)
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The cakes have been created by 20 students of the Institute of Baking and Cake Art (IBCA). This photo of a cake, designed like the bust of Lata Mangeshkar, weighs 130 kgs. (ANI Photo) (Savitha)
Sugar art is key to designing these elaborate cakes and most contain just icing sugar without the moist sponge, reports a story published by The Hindu. (ANI Photo)
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Sugar art is key to designing these elaborate cakes and most contain just icing sugar without the moist sponge, reports a story published by The Hindu. (ANI Photo)
A man dressed as Santa Claus poses for a photo with this gigantic replica of North America's the Cathedral Basilica, that weighs about 18 tonnes. (PTI Photo/Shailendra Bhojak) 
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A man dressed as Santa Claus poses for a photo with this gigantic replica of North America's the Cathedral Basilica, that weighs about 18 tonnes. (PTI Photo/Shailendra Bhojak) 
A cake designed to represent the highlights of 2022. The show was unveiled on 16 December and will end on 2 January, The entry fee is  <span class='webrupee'>₹</span>100. (ANI Photo)
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A cake designed to represent the highlights of 2022. The show was unveiled on 16 December and will end on 2 January, The entry fee is 100. (ANI Photo)

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In photos: A traditional Christmas cake from Portugal

A cake known as bolo-rei—made with port wine, mixed nuts and candied fruit—is a Christmas specialty from Portugal

The bolo-rei, a donut-shaped cake, is a Christmas speciality in Portugal. Every year, the National Association of Bread and Pastry Producers recognises the best bolo-rei in the country. The 2022 winner is a small bakery, named Padaria da Ne, located in Amadora, in the northwestern suburbs of Lisbon. In this photo, a baker places candied fruits on a bolo-rei before putting it in the oven. (Photo by CARLOS COSTA / AFP)
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The bolo-rei, a donut-shaped cake, is a Christmas speciality in Portugal. Every year, the National Association of Bread and Pastry Producers recognises the best bolo-rei in the country. The 2022 winner is a small bakery, named Padaria da Ne, located in Amadora, in the northwestern suburbs of Lisbon. In this photo, a baker places candied fruits on a bolo-rei before putting it in the oven. (Photo by CARLOS COSTA / AFP)
A freshly baked bolo-rei at the Padaria da Ne bakery in Amadora, Ingredients include port wine, candied fruits and lots of mixed nuts. (Photo by CARLOS COSTA / AFP)
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A freshly baked bolo-rei at the Padaria da Ne bakery in Amadora, Ingredients include port wine, candied fruits and lots of mixed nuts. (Photo by CARLOS COSTA / AFP)
A photo from the kitchen of Padaria da Ne bakery shows a baker shaping the dough to make bolo-rei. The cake is eaten in the period between 25 December to 6 January. (Photo by CARLOS COSTA / AFP)
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A photo from the kitchen of Padaria da Ne bakery shows a baker shaping the dough to make bolo-rei. The cake is eaten in the period between 25 December to 6 January. (Photo by CARLOS COSTA / AFP)
A baker places a freshly baked bolo-rei at Padaria da Ne. (Photo by CARLOS COSTA / AFP)
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A baker places a freshly baked bolo-rei at Padaria da Ne. (Photo by CARLOS COSTA / AFP)
Customers wait to buy Christmas specials, including bolo-rei, at the Padaria da Ne bakery. (Photo by CARLOS COSTA / AFP)
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Customers wait to buy Christmas specials, including bolo-rei, at the Padaria da Ne bakery. (Photo by CARLOS COSTA / AFP)

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A magical exhibition of gingerbread cities for Christmas

The Museum of Architecture's Gingerbread City in London's Belgravia district is an ode to Christmas

A gingerbread installation on display at the Museum of Architecture's Gingerbread City in Belgravia district, London. (Photo: Maja Smiejkowska, Reuters)
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A gingerbread installation on display at the Museum of Architecture's Gingerbread City in Belgravia district, London. (Photo: Maja Smiejkowska, Reuters)
The exhibition showcases five intricately designed cities conceptualised and created by more than 100 architects, designers and chefs. (Photo: Maja Smiejkowska, Reuters)
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The exhibition showcases five intricately designed cities conceptualised and created by more than 100 architects, designers and chefs. (Photo: Maja Smiejkowska, Reuters)
The installations, made with dough, sweets and icing, feature five edible cities across different climate zones such as polar, continental, temperate, dry and tropical. (Photo: Maja Smiejkowska, Reuters)
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The installations, made with dough, sweets and icing, feature five edible cities across different climate zones such as polar, continental, temperate, dry and tropical. (Photo: Maja Smiejkowska, Reuters)
This is the sixth edition of the annual exhibition that draws large crowds every year. (Photo: Maja Smiejkowska, Reuters)
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This is the sixth edition of the annual exhibition that draws large crowds every year. (Photo: Maja Smiejkowska, Reuters)
This year’s theme reflects the desire for more liveable cities where most daily necessities can be met within a 15-minute walk, cycle or trip on public transport. (Photo: Maja Smiejkowska, Reuters)
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This year’s theme reflects the desire for more liveable cities where most daily necessities can be met within a 15-minute walk, cycle or trip on public transport. (Photo: Maja Smiejkowska, Reuters)
The Gingerbread City at The Museum of Architecture will open on 3 December, 2022 and will run until 3 January, 2023 at 6-7 Motcomb Street, Belgravia, London. (Photo: Maja Smiejkowska, Reuters)
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The Gingerbread City at The Museum of Architecture will open on 3 December, 2022 and will run until 3 January, 2023 at 6-7 Motcomb Street, Belgravia, London. (Photo: Maja Smiejkowska, Reuters)

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    Paris Haute Couture Week: Vaishali S. creates an underwater journey

  • At Paris couture week, Rahul Mishra brings the universe alive in embroidery
    At Paris couture week, Rahul Mishra brings the universe alive in embroidery 5

    At Paris couture week, Rahul Mishra brings the universe alive in embroidery

  • Zângkhua, a Beacon of Hope, a Mizo folktale translated and illustrated by Alyssa Pachuau
    Zângkhua, a Beacon of Hope, a Mizo folktale translated and illustrated by Alyssa Pachuau 9

    Zângkhua, a Beacon of Hope, a Mizo folktale translated and illustrated by Alyssa Pachuau

  • Snapshots from a cake exhibition in Bengaluru
    Snapshots from a cake exhibition in Bengaluru 5

    Snapshots from a cake exhibition in Bengaluru

  • In photos: A traditional Christmas cake from Portugal
    In photos: A traditional Christmas cake from Portugal 5

    In photos: A traditional Christmas cake from Portugal

  • A magical exhibition of gingerbread cities for Christmas
    A magical exhibition of gingerbread cities for Christmas 6

    A magical exhibition of gingerbread cities for Christmas