Curating an off-site fashion show is no easy task. As we all know, it requires crazy amount of planning and painstaking attention to every possible detail – carrying it off without a glitch is a different matter altogether. AIFW 2017 kick-started in the Capital on March 15 at Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium and fashion connoisseurs were in for a pleasant surprise when on the second day, Samant Chauhan celebrated a childhood connection with a wonderful showcase at the National Railway Museum, Delhi.
An unlikely location for a fashion show but like always, there’s an interesting story behind it. The designer who grew up in a railway colony in Jamalpur, a small town in Bihar, fulfilled his lifelong ambition of creating a collection around locomotives. The made in India philosophy ruled the show as he presented the Assamese Muga silk collection to revive the craft – which is on the brink of extinction – with help from ‘The Golden Threads of Assam’, an initiative to preserve the royal silk and helping the weavers and rearers to maintain their unique identity.
Chauhan said, “It is a dream come true for me. I’ve been working on this line for more than a year. Everything in this collection can be traced to what I saw from the windows when I first began to travel. As the trains passed through the paddy fields, I used to wonder about people living in the houses that passed by. I have attempted to translate my memories – imagined and factual through my collection today”.
Chauhan, who has been working on this project for the past two years, created 50 outfits mixing Muga – one of the most expensive silks in the world – and Eri silk, also a popular variety of silk from Assam. The outfits in earthy hues like ivory, off white, vanilla, eggshell white and cream had a colonial touch to it. The designer used the knife pleating technique to lend his garments an 18th-century look; accents of gold zari were also seen in forms of intricate hand embroideries, each representing a memory with its elements.
His signature Indo-Western-framed silhouettes dominated the collection of anarkali jackets, floor-length A-line dresses, off-shoulder crop tops, and breezy long jackets paired with delicate circular skirts. French knots intertwined with sequins and hand-made zari buttons looked gorgeous on the jackets and tops. Chauhan also presented a menswear line with structured fitted jackets with some androgynous statement looks and handcrafted elegant leather bags with elements of Muga silk.
Other than the collection, the high point of the event was when the audience was served kulhad chai, crisp matthis and banta. Totally desi!