Technical know-how and clever construction marked a day of cerebral fashion at Pragati Maidan as Wills Lifestyle India Fashion Week (WIFW) Autumn-Winter 2014 entered its second day. On display were collections by young designers who have shown more than a passing predilection for pushing the sartorial envelope. While Rimzim Dadu and Anand Bhushan took micro elements to make macro style statements, Nachiket Barve went from feminine to fierce and Rahul Mishra rounded off the day with more technical wizardry. The collections may not have been flawless — with some conceptual pieces even bordering on the unconventional and ludicrous — but we applaud the conviction to look beyond the customary zardozi and sequin saga.
Yes we are not a fan of uncomplicating things. And we don’t really like technology” — says the Autumn-Winter 2014 concept note for ‘My Village’. While Rimzim Dadu’s initial inspiration for the collection was the complex Patola weave from Gujarat, the theme went through a creative process where the diminutive designer created complicated textures with cording, resulting in a chic, modern and uniquely folk-sy interpretation. She took chiffon, tore it, corded it and hand-stitched cords together to create colour-blocked patterns, and did the same with leather. In places, the chiffon and leather cords were used to create a shredded effect. Dadu extended this process to her footwear as well, with cords sown on to shoe uppers. All in all, a collection that tied up neatly.
Kallol Datta’s collection, titled ‘Paranoia Pronoia’, was evidently an extension of ‘Blood Song’ — his art project for a Khoj International Artists’ Association residency. Blood stained prints took over experimental silhouettes that Datta put on the ramp. Narcissism too reared its head as models walked in saris and shirts with Datta’s face prints on them.
Adding to Rahul Mishra’s presentation was a special hand-cut paper installation, created by artist Sachin George Sebastian,that took centre stage. Created in keeping with Mishra’s progressive graphics , Sebastian exquisitely translated the designer’s meadow to a high-rise story using pristine white paper.
Not oNE to rest on his laurels, Rahul Mishra not only presented his International Woolmark Prize winning six-piece capsule collection ‘The Lotus Effect’, but went a step further and added some more innovative pieces to the line-up. For the Woolmark range, inspired by Dutch graphic artist M C Escher, he took engineered contigous motifs emerging from the eight petal lotus and embroidered the motifs onto ensembles in pure Merino wool. At WIFW, Mishra took this graphic story forward in an immaculate tie-and-dye range. Apart from its intricacy, the feat of artistic engineering was the fact that the bandhani texture was created on ultra-light Merino wool jersey in a “one size to fit all” line. A Merino marvel, indeed.
The geek in designer Anand Bhushan resurfaced yet again for his Autumn-Winter 2014 showcase. Staying true to his signature, Bhushan used unconventional materials such as steel, copper, aluminium, plastic, glass and acrylic. Titled ‘Broken’, the collection had Bhushan get his hands dirty with steel welding and moulding and plastic to create an armour-like cover on top of dresses. The fragmented black shirts and dresses, which we fancied the most, were made using acrylic and leather. As for the metallic tassles on some garments, Bhushan applied the copper binding technique on glass and then moulded it for desired results. Our favourite bit about this geeky designer’s line — he used a 3D printer to make the outline of a dress.
Drawing inspiration from the steely femininity of Maori women of New Zealand, Nachiket Barve abandoned his hitherto “graceful and fragile beauty” oeuvre and dug in deeper. He interpreted the finer points of Maori culture and tradition into definitive design stories. Sacred ‘Kirituhi’ tattoos were rendered onto faux leather in the form of laser-enabled perforations. The tattoo designs were carried onto embroidery on flesh coloured tulle as well as metallic cut-work accessories that aped chin tattoos. The Kiwi motif of the ‘silver fern’ was brought to life by French knots, intricate bead-work and, in some cases, was embroidered on organza that was cut out and appliqued on faux leather. Hand-cut woollen felt applique and embroidery recreated an illusionary fringe effect on pencil skirts and tops, alluding to the Maori Piu Piu fibre skirts. Storytelling met fashion finesse in an interesting interpretation.