A leg up for fashionable footwear

Dress from your feet up—that’s Shweta Bathija’s style mantra. She customises your attire to suit your shoes. She declares, “Shoes reflect your personality. But they are often ignored by many. It shows a lack of interest in putting together a look perfectly.”

Shweta’s fashion philosophy is there for everyone to see from the way she is dressed for the launch of her first line of high-end foot wear, Baha Souk at The Residency. She wears a traditional sea green anarkhali with funky navy-blue velvet stilettos. “Shoes are an extension of my personal style. I love bright colours. I am inspired by the vibrant colours of the Indian bazaars. That’s why I have named this collection Souk, which means bazaar.”

An MBA student from Symbiosis, Shweta has done an intensive course in foot wear fashion designing at the London College of Fashion. She says her idea is to incorporate Indian influences in her designs, that her teachers in London admired so much.

The fusion footwear collection marries Western fashion with Indian fabric. So there are the sleek stilettos, flat cut shoes and wedges made of raw silk, satin, velvet and suede leather. Some of them feature mixed fabric too. For instance, a stiletto model is made with red velvet and brocade. Then there are smart dark green suede leather boots called Anklebootie, looking classy with those golden zippers. The delicate Black Lace Chantilly, pitch black stilettos with lace work, look regal and feminine. The shoes are arranged enticingly. For instance the collection called Baha Hot Pink sits pretty inside a bird cage. The white high-heeled Lily and the bright red Primrose are arranged amidst jasmine and rose petals.

Shweta was always known in her college for her sense of fashion, right from the clothes to the footwear she owned. “I was always complimented for my sense of style. So fashion was always at the back of my mind,” she says. Finally she decided to quit her advertising career and follow her heart. “Quitting the job was never easy. It was risky business. But there is nothing like following one’s passion!” she says.

The collection not just features stilettos and high heels but also wedges and flats. But, Shweta the designer prefers heels. “I love high heels. In London, I had a friend from Thailand, who used to stock a variety of sneakers. Inspired by her collection, I have even fancied sneakers with heels!”

In London, she studied under some of the finest fashion designers in the world. “It opened my eyes to different kinds of styles. I think every fashion student should travel abroad.”

The fashion sensibilities in Coimbatore are changing. There have been a lot of requests from youngsters for custom-made shoes. “Many people are of the opinion that people here will not like bold colours and high heels. But from the response, it looks like people are not afraid to experiment. Many of the young girls who saw the collection loved it. Even when their mothers were advising them to go for flats, they were pressing for heels!”

Her well-wishers warned her to play it safe while designing this collection. “It’s a huge risk to strike that balance; be bold and sober at the same time. So I have used sober colours on high heels and chosen loud colours for flats. But then, I have had fun with a few single pieces where I have thrown in loud colours and incorporated high heels, as well!” concludes Shweta with a wink.

(Shweta will be flying to Italy to learn all about bridal customisation in shoes. Baha collection will soon be available online at e-commerce websites. It is priced between Rs. 2,700 and Rs. 4,600. To know more, visit www.bahastudio.com)

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