India is one of the countries, along with China and Nepal, that inspired the 2013 Fall/Winter women’s collection. This winter, KENZO sets up camp in a mythological world, populated with flying tigers, menacing clouds, constellations and Indian warriors.
An opportunity for us to return to one of these combative female figures, Durga, who is one of the most important goddesses in Indian culture. She is a paradox in her own right as she is often wrongly considered the goddess of war, when in fact she embodies peace, and wages an endless war against evil.
Her name means “Invincible” and she is often depicted riding a tiger or a lion, armed with seven symbolic weapons that she holds in some of her ten hands! Each of these weapons has been entrusted to her by another Hindu god. For example, she holds the trident that has been given to her by Shiva, the discus of Vishnu and Yama’s club, but it is often said that her best and most effective weapon is love. In fact, Durga is the wife of Shiva and together they form the best known and most appreciated couple of Indian mythology.
Her many exploits are recounted in books or by word of mouth, which helps perpetuate the myth. A holiday is also dedicated to her each year for nine days of celebration: Durga Puja. This event is widely celebrated in many Indian provinces, especially in Bengal, but also in Nepal and Bangladesh which both have a strong Hindu population. During this holiday, temporary temples are erected and Indians wear new, traditional clothes in her honor.