Updated: April 4, 2016 4:44:24 am
AS WITH many a first associated with Indian fashion, Goa-based veteran designer and Padma Shri awardee Wendell Rodricks delivered another set of firsts with his closing show on the Sustainable and Indian Textiles Day at Lakme Fashion Week (LFW) Summer/Resort 2016 on Thursday night. For “Indica Emporia” Rodricks took joint credit with Schulen Fernandes, who, as the designer described, “designed many garments and will one day take over my mantle and studio as Design Head”. He not only introduced his fashion legacy’s successor, but also orchestrated a walk-through show that re-imagined iconic Indian garment pieces from around the country and presented them as a sartorial study.
With the Main Show Area converted into an emporium of sorts, models stood on display pedestals as a detailed pamphlet introduced us neophytes to the Surat pajama, atamsukh jama, choga and Lambadi choli, among others. But they were reimagined and reinterpreted in a way where the quintessential ghaghra metamorphosed into a floor-length cape, an Odissi drape-inspired cascade adorned a jumpsuit, an angarkhi met a peplum choli and a sora tribal loin cloth married a Goan kashti in a muga silk swimsuit concoction. And while Rodricks’ show, styled by the talented Ekta Rajani, was a master class in reinventing the classics, what had us riveted was the line-up of vintage separates that spoke of a historical lexicon that goes beyond just the six yards of a sari, lehenga and shapeless tunics that textile initiatives have come to be associated with.
Even as the Indian textile narrative swings between exclusivity and accessibility pendulum, Day Two at LFW proved that designers are looking beyond just the woven sari as their proverbial mascot. Wearable separates met fine-tuned commercial approaches to textile as designers such as Swati Kalsi attempted to elevate their craft and make it more accessible. Kalsi used delicate sujani embroidery in a tone-on-tone colour story on tussar and Gicha silk in her collection ‘Monad’. There was a clear focus on mix-and-match separates in her trans-seasonal line, where soft over-shirts and sheer wraps covered kurtas, slip dresses, smocks, cropped pants and off-shoulder tops.
Kolkata-based designer Paromita Banerjee, who truly embodies the sustainability spirit, worked with khadi, malkha, linen and cotton and gave us angarkhas, Gujarati kedias, Mughal jamas, Punjabi pyjamas, layered tunics and saris. Clever colour blocking coupled with hand-blocked checks, stripes and dots gave a distinct geometric vibe to the line. Also sticking to a distinctly geometric narrative, were debutante designers Richard and Amit of Amrich, who used hand processes to tell a modern story, with striking shibori stripes on jackets and maxi dresses, resist block prints on wrap blouses and jumpsuits and ikat checks on flared tops and trousers.
At Indigene by Jaya Bhatt and Ruchi Tripathi, inspired by Gurunsi architecture and the elaborately decorated walls of Burkina Faso in Africa, the duo used Ajrakh block-printing in geometric and linear formations, lending the ensembles a contemporary vibe. Their colour story veered away from the predictable with the introduction of an Africa-infused palette. Sonali Pamnani’s The Meraki Project attempted to add a dash of infuse youthfulness with slit skirts, over-shirts and cold-shoulder dresses, in candy colours, with one tunic proclaiming ‘Boss Lady’ in hand-embroidered text.
On the other hand, Gaurang Shah, renowned for his Banarasi, Kanjeevaram, Patan Patola, Paithani and Uppada saris, attempted to step beyond the six yards of his oeuvre and dabble in westernwear. He sent out a line of voluminous gowns weighed down by metres upon metres of fabric. The quasi-Victorian presentation, complete with models wearing pompadours and curls, was a parade of ill-fitting ensembles, where waistlines were lost under yardage and unflattering can-can lined full skirts. It almost made us forget the line of gorgeous Jamdani saris he had showcased minutes before. With their delicate luminescence and in summery hues, those are truly his calling cards.
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