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A Salman Rushdie novel in clothes at New York Fashion Week

February 20, 2017 15:04 IST

Stacey Bendet's alice + olivia presentation at the New York Fashion Week, discovers Monali Sarkar, was inspired by Salman Rushdie's The Enchantress of Florence.

Salman Rushdie at NYFW

IMAGE: Booker Prize winning novelist Salman Rushdie at the alice + olivia by Stacey Bendet Fall 2017 Presentation at New York Fashion Week. Photograph: Michael Loccisano/Getty Images

Not all novelists can boast of a fashion line inspired by their works. But after the latest New York Fashion Week, Salman Rusdhie can.

His novel The Enchantress of Florence became the inspiration for Stacey Bendet's alice + olivia presentation at the NYFW, which concluded on Thursday, February 16.

'For my birthday someone gave me a book called The Enchantress of Florence and as I was reading it I thought, "This is the most beautiful story." I wanted to create it,' Bendet told Hollywood Reporter.

According to the book's publisher, Penguin Random House, 'The Enchantress of Florence is the story of a mysterious woman, a great beauty believed to possess the powers of enchantment and sorcery, attempting to command her own destiny in a man's world.'

'It is the story of two cities at the height of their powers -- the hedonistic Mughal capital, in which the brilliant emperor Akbar the Great wrestles daily with questions of belief, desire, and the treachery of his sons, and the equally sensual city of Florence during the High Renaissance, where Niccolo Machiavelli takes a starring role as he learns, the hard way, about the true brutality of power, Penguin added.

Salman Rushdie and Stacy Bendet

IMAGE: Rushdie and designer Stacey Bendet at the presentation. Photograph: Michael Loccisano/Getty Images

Bendet told the media that inspired by the novel's overriding theme of a woman, an enchantress, writing her own destiny.

'I thought that was very apropos to the moment,' Hollywood Reporter quoted her as saying. 'I wanted this sort of rebel, military element juxtaposing the beauty of Florence during the renaissance.'

But in an NYFW season that has been marked by its political statements, she clarified that her statement of rebelliousness was not a political one: 'It's really just about -- as the book says -- commanding your own destiny.'

Rushdie, who was at Bendet's presentation, told The New York Post, 'The whole show is images from the Renaissance. She made my book into clothes -- I-ve never had that happen before.'

Scroll down for a peek at the collection...

Stacey Bendet

The Enchantress of Florence takes place between Mughal India and Renaissance Florence, and the collection gave a nod to both cultures.

This dress was created as a representation of Mughal India and Bendet considered it -- played up against Persian-style rugs and lush velvet curtains -- the most intricate of her fall 2017 collection.

Botticelli and Stacey Bendet

The novel includes references to Sandro Botticelli's works like the Primavera and The Birth of Venus.

Bendet printed the former, pictured above, onto a pair of leather skirts and repurposed the latter as a textile for a ball gown skirt.

Stacey Bendet

The rebelliousness of the novel that spoke to Bendet resulted in camo prints, olive green anoraks, and statement T-shirts.

'I feel like a designer's place is to tell their own story. So for me, it's less about politics and what side you're on, and more about bringing the changes you wish to see to the world,' Bendet told Forbes.

Stacey Bendet NYFW

Bendet also borrowed from the painted stories of Rushdie's novel and hired Trina Merry, an artist known for her body paintings, to paint models as live fixtures in a mural.

Stacey Bendet NYFW

But fantasy wasn't all that Bendet offered...

Stacey Bendet NYFW

...She merged it with metropolitan glamour and the sporty to create a rather edgy collection.

Photographs: Rob Kim/Getty Images


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Monali Sarkar / Rediff.com