Day 4 dedicated to Indian textiles


Day 4 of the Lakme Fashion Week’s winter/festive season began with the question “How do heritage and traditional Indian textiles fit into the modern fashion industry?”

Panellists like celebrity stylist Pernis Qureshi, Ogaan’s Aashti Bhartia, fashion columnist Sujata Assomull and designer Rahul Mishra attempted to answer that question by focusing on how Indian designers (young and established), are setting new trends in creating a distinct aesthetic of their own that is both indigenous and modern. But while the words were helpful, the “practical demonstration” that unfolded over the course of the day’s shows answered the question rather more effectively. On a day dedicated to Indian textiles, designers like Shruti Sancheti, Krish-na Mehta, Gaurang Shah and the grand doyenne of Indian fashion, Ritu Kumar, displayed just how beautifully indigenous fabrics are being used in refreshingly contemporary silhouetes.
Shruti Sancheti’s was the first show of the day, in conjunction with the Maharashtra Handloom Corporation, followed by Soumitra Mondal. Shruti’s line, called “Saaj”, used a blend of pure spun silk, woven silk, blends of cotton and Nagpuri checks in colours like gold, crimson, fuchsia, green, indigo blue and purple. Motifs like peacocks, the nathni and karvats gave a twist to the palazzos, lehengas, cholis, saris, tunics and jumpsuits on the ramp. Soumitra, on the other hand, chose a starker palette of blacks and greys, worked with gold, in lean pants, lehengas and more. The afternoon shows saw Gaurang, Shravan Kumar and Vivek Kumar showcase lines that were very different in tone and inspiration. Whil Shravan’s collection — which featured cool whites, pinks and greys coming together in hand-block motifs on skirts and saris teamed with sequinned bikini tops — presented khadi in a fresh, youthful way, Gaurang’s more traditional line featured colourful patolas, juxtaposed with stark khadi that was worked with Parsi embroidery, Kanjeevaram borders and gota. Gaurang said of his line of anarkalis, lehengas, gararas and saris, called “Stridhan”, “I wanted to give a whole new dimension to the patola.” Shravan, whose line was very well received, said that his collection began with “a sampling of block prints on fabric, using different kinds of clay with inlay and outlay appliqués”. “We wanted to use a lot of Indian motifs which have been positioned very differently,” he added. In the late afternoon, the action shifted to the “Talent Box” venue where designers Barkha and Sonzal and Rajat Suri displayed their menswear lines. While Barkha and Sonzal’s creations essentially stuck to pastel shades, with embellished jackets forming one of their mainstays, Rajat chose to go with black, in a dramatic series of fitted jackets for men, albeit with a futuristic accent. “My winter/festive 2013 collection featured a lot of the Jawahar waist jackets and bandhgalas among other designs because the actual grace of these respective silhouettes prompts me to (use them) and also because they are truly stylish. It’s an effort in the direction of making Indian styles appeal to the global fashion arena and not the other way round,” Rajat explained. Day four’s exuberant vibe continued with Krishna Mehta’s evening show in collaboration with the state of Manipur’s department of commerce and industries. Hand-woven traditional Manipuri weaves were seen in fine silk, wool and tweeds in shades like crimson, red, purple and flaming orange, making the parade of saris, dresses, tunics and flared pants memorable indeed. Krishna said it was an “overwhelming moment” for her to bring forth the unique workmanship of the weavers from Manipur and added, “What you see is my interpretation of the lives, textiles, traditions — so rich, lavish and vibrant — of Manipur.” Shows by Rahul Mishra and Ritu Kumar brought the penultimate day of the Lakme Fashion Week to a close.

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