For a fashion week which is attempting to embrace the hashtag and idea of “#myfashionmytribe”, the Lotus Make-up India Fashion Week (LMIFW) and the Fashion Design Council Of India(FDCI) could not have asked for a better opening show. Delhi-based designer Ragini Ahuja, who presents her work under the label Ikai, showcased her show titled ‘Quwa’ and kicked off the Spring Summer 2020 edition of the LMIFW.
Her collection invoked the nomadic cultures of Persia, Uzbekistan, Tibet and Arabia and was accompanied by percussion-heavy African music. The show was low on drama; even the make-up was kept subtle. The models sashayed down the ramp in multi-coloured braided barefoot sandals, with their hair in matching braids. The show was presented on a ramp that had built-in steps and had been inlaid with carpets.
Ahuja’s collection was heavy on the layers, with long jackets, flowy capes, and bolero jackets juxtaposed with loose cotton trousers among others. The humble salwar-kurta-dupatta was also presented, but the salwar was replaced by slim pants. There was a rare sighting too, a sari (a simple white number with a floral applique border). Stand alone tunics, skirts and dresses, too, were a part of the collection.
Staying true to her ‘anti-fit’ mantra and high wearability factor, the clothes would not seem out of place at an office, a picnic and even a dressy occasion. ‘Quwa’ marks the coming of age for Ahuja. Her last showcase at FDCI, a couple of years ago, had more whites and the designs reflected her search for a footing. She had showcased ‘Clan’ then, which was inspired by tribal narratives and motifs. With ‘Quwa’, she seems to have found her ground.
The show opened with a tangerine ensemble which featured an open jacket and pants, and it just got bolder. “I have used the accents of fire, the various hues that we see in an open flame,” said the designer. “Hence the mint tea, and the navy blue, and of course rust and beige,” she added.
There were also more busy and floral motifs which were created using applique embroidery on silk and chanderi. Linear patterns were created using thread work. “This show has been all about empowerment. After being in the industry for a while, you evolve and you finally get to a place where you know what is it that you want to do. This show is that point in my life,” said Ahuja, who graduated from National Institute of Fashion Design, New Delhi. Experience, or the fact that her label has now been favoured by the ilk of Kareena Kapoor Khan, things are certainly working out for the designer.