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Slumdog Millionaire continues to defy its humble roots, with another offshoot of the Oscar-winning drama proving popular. Yes, the Danny Boyle flick, triumphant after boosting Mumbai’s tourism and encouraging folk to take up Bollywood-style dancing has scored in the fashion stakes. Its star Freida Pinto is to be unveiled as the next face of cosmetics giant, Estée Lauder, is happily staring out from the cover of India’s fashion bibles Vogue and Cosmopolitan and now the clothes she wore onscreen are expected to take off in designer circles.

“I think that movie will be extremely influential,” claims Tia Cibani, head designer at Ports 1961, part of Canadian luxury sportswear label Ports International. Cibani’s work has always been infused with an ethnic twist attracting a celebrity clientele including boho princess Sienna Miller and Debra Messing. “Everyone’s sombre today,” said Cibani on the state of the international economy at last month’s Fashion Week. “We wanted to be joyous, to celebrate.”

And Cibani clearly isn’t alone as fellow designer Bibhu Mohapatra, who unveiled his first solo collection at Fashion Week having worked previously at fur specialists J. Mendel is also expressing a passion for his Indian roots. His new clothes include a sari-like dress and peacock feathers woven in an ancient Indian method. “In fashion, film, art… It’s a big storm that’s brewing.”

And Glamour magazine’s fashion editor Suze Yalof Schwartz agrees, believing that Slumdog can and will help this burgeoning trend explode. She explains that these Indian-inspired togs have “never been hotter than right now.” So forget your tea dresses and your hot pants – summer 2009 is the year of the sari!

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