Here at TTS, we believe in celebrating every holiday possible (because every day should be a party). So that’s why we thought it was appropriate to combine our loves of spring and fashion together in a rad photo shoot, where we got to use authentic Holi powder on our favorite Calvin Klein clothes. Did things get messy? Yes! But did we capture beautiful photos? Double hell yes. Need proof? See all the images from the shoot below.
Spring — it awakens the soul and nourishes the mind as the warmer temps start to peak amongst the boney, naked trees and snowy terrain. As nature starts to rebirth, countries across the world begin to commence as they celebrate the spring equinox. From Valencia’s Las Fallas Festival to Thailand’s Songkran Water Festival, you’ll find friends and strangers alike rejoicing in unique ways with traditions that span hundred of years into the past. But what if you can’t travel across the world to partake in one of these festivities? Well, don’t worry. We’re bringing one of the fiestas to us. And what’s a better festival to celebrate the coming of spring than one that embraces color, unity and love all in one?
The Holi Festival, or Holi Phagwa, is a holiday in India that you’re probably already very familiar with. With its vibrant colors of powders and water that raid the air, it’s no wonder this festival is well known all across the world. The Hinduism event was originally an agricultural festival celebrating the arrival of spring. They would use colored Holi (Holi Gulal) to celebrate old Hindu mythologies. And while the festival is no longer about the agricultural, young, poor, women and men come together the day after the full moon to help bridge the gap of all different social structures such as age, sex, and status.
During the shoot, we also had the pleasure of getting to know our models who had the opportunity to partake in some Holi festivities in NYC and India. Check out their interview below:
So just curious, have any of you guys been to India and if so, what was that experience like and has it transformed you in any way?
Anaa Saber: I have not been to India itself, but I have been to the border. Strange, right? I actually visit its neighboring country Pakistan often which is very similar in cultures in many different aspects. Going there has definitely made me more culturally aware and has really made me feel grateful of living where I do with the many opportunities and freedom we have. I have never done Holi there, but that is definitely on my bucket list.
Zuzanna Buchwald: Yes, I went to India in December of last year for NYE. It was an eye-opening, inspiring and humbling trip. I need two days to talk about my visit there, but one thing I can briefly discuss is how I was in awe of Indian women. Even those who live in poverty are dressed in colors, wear wonderful jewelry and eye make up, walk with beautiful posture with their heads up and have an aura of beauty, pride and dignity.
Rameet Chawla: I’ve taken annual trips to India for the past five years. I don’t consider myself the kind of person who is easily transformed, but I’ve absolutely found inspiration there. I’m Indian; I have family there, and seeing the work they’re doing in business, sharing ideas with them, is incredibly energizing.
If you happen to have/had celebrated Holi (either there or in New York) can you please describe that experience.
Anaa: I have celebrated Holi here in New York actually and it is quite different from what I have seen growing up in Bollywood movies and experiences from my friends and family. First off, it’s very mainstream, I celebrated it in a park in New York City. Tourists, Native New Yorkers all together in one place throwing colors (some knowing what they’re doing others not so much). Still a really fun event, whenever you’re with your friends it’s always a great time.
Zuzanna: I’ve celebrated Holi Fest here in New York last year and it was a super fun day. I danced like a maniac and had powder battles with friends until you couldn’t tell us apart, skin and hair covered in color. Then climbed on stage and watched the crowd throw color powder together and just couldn’t stop smiling (teeth being the last thing that remained white on my body). The event put me in a good mood for the rest of spring.
Rameet: I celebrated Holi in India when I was eight, and a student at what was, essentially, Hogwarts in the Himalayas. The school had four houses that competed against each other, which made the anarchy of Holi that much more potent. I remember it as a celebration of unity—beautifully chaotic.
What does the Holi Festival personally mean to you?
Anaa: Holi is otherwise known as the festival of colors or the festival of sharing love. I think its meaning is the most important aspect, sharing love with your friends and family and just having a great time while doing so.
Zuzanna: Letting go of treating life so seriously, the beginning of spring, replacing the darkness of winter with colors of spring internally and externally, joy, freedom, unity, LOVE.
Rameet: Holi has Hindu origins, but its social and cultural significance is even greater. Everyone celebrates Holi, regardless of their religious beliefs. It’s the best kind of madness. You can’t step onto the street without getting slammed with color—or shot with water guns full of it. Holi is not only joyous, it’s a visualization of joy.
If you haven’t been able to do any of those things, please discuss if you ever plan on celebrating the Holi Festival in the near future, or visiting India and why?
Anna: Would love to go to India in the near future, it is on the top of my list of places to go to. I love immersing myself within new cultures and think it would be an experience I’d never forget.
Zuzanna: Now that Ive experienced both India and Holi Fest separately, it’s time to attend the event in India! Maybe next year…? I truly can’t wait to go back there.
Rameet: I would love to experience Holi in India as an adult, to relive those memories from my childhood. And I definitely want to get my hands on one of those water guns.
Even though the original Holi Festival has already occurred on March 24th, doesn’t mean you lost your chance to partake in this massive, colorful fiesta. In NYC, there are two times you can enjoy the Holi festivities: Festival of Colors: Holi NYC (THIS WEEKEND, April 23rd) and Holi Hai (on April 30th). While Festival of Colors charges an entrance fee, Holi Hai is free to the public.
Photography by Vanessa Granda, editing by Paige Wilber, styling and production by Cyndi Ramirez, production assistant by Eliana Awada, all clothing provided by Calvin Klein.