When three designers, established in their metier and honed in their skill sets, take what they do well and make it even better, you know it’s been a good day for fashion. From a revered minimalist master and one of India’s biggest retail successes to a young designer attempting to blur boundaries between conceptual and commercial fashion — Day Two of Amazon India Fashion Week (AIFW) Autumn-Winter 2016 was a treat for our sartorial senses.
Only on designer Rimzim Dadu’s line sheet will you read words such as wire jumpsuit, metal sari and faux leather ombre dress. The “My Village” designer and textile artist is not one to pick up fabric from a store and drape it into any regular, requisite shape. So, while fellow designers engineer fabric out of stainless steel, wool and silk, Dadu is likely to take metal and plastic wires and create a textile out of them. For years, we’ve been compelled to watch her shows and then visit her stall to see first-hand the alchemy that goes into creating her unique textiles. This time around though, at her first solo showcase at AIFW, Dadu had her craftsmen fabricating her trademark pieces live on the ramp and invited all attendees to touch, feel and explore the finer intricacies of her work. What followed was a ramp show that displayed a technical finesse that we’ve come to expect of the designer, only the shapes were more refined and silhouettes were softer and more pliant. From delicate 3D applique in chiffon and organza and faux leather sequin embellishments to moulded plastic wire ensembles and astounding metal wire creations — she bettered upon her trademark techniques, added a tie and dye spin and delivered a collection that was high on skill and artistry.
Dadu, who readily admits that she was earlier more caught up in creative preoccupations than commercial concerns and worries about wearability, took a two-year break from showing on the ramp to address these issues. And she has come back in better form than ever. For a designer, who claims silhouettes are not her strong suit, she gave us molten wire dresses that looked liquid under the floodlights and a gorgeous sculptural sari pallu fashioned from hair-thin metallic wires. The ombre effect on the faux leather dresses and molten wire pieces was mesmerising, to say the least. A very memorable line from one of her past concept notes comes to mind: “We are not a fan of uncomplicating things. And we don’t really like technology”. We, for one, definitely like the way you complicate matters, Miss Dadu.
GO FOR GOLD
Subtle could well be Rajesh Pratap Singh’s middle name. Even when he paid homage to an ultra-flamboyant style icon like David Bowie, it was with characteristic nuance, as model Sapna Kumar took to the ramp in a slouchy over-sized pant-suit with gold chain detailing, to the sonorous tunes of Ground Control to Major Tom. His collection may have been called The Gold Rush, but Pratap was in no hurry to blind and bedazzle like a modern-day Midas. Instead, he lured you in with the textile wizardry that has become his hallmark. “Made in Faridabad, Neemrana and the ghats of Varanasi,” said his tiny concept postcard. Wool weaves shot with metallic yarn, black and gold checks, wool ikats with gold yarn, sumptuous jacquards and some pure metallic yarn textiles manipulated for maximum drape, were just a few of the techniques on display. The silhouettes were a mix of oversized and tailored blazers, high-waisted culottes and relaxed pants, double-breasted suits, asymmetric shirt dresses, floor-length floral dresses, molten gold jackets and full-length skirts. Animal print effects, woven in silk and gold yarn on kinkhab looms, acquired a dramatic 3D appearance. Pratap took his signature white shirt, added length and slouch to the silhouette and splattered it with gold to give us a revised Fall version. “This season I want to exhaust gold,” says the designer, who also brought an extension of his gilded vision to the menswear show on Friday and will make a splash with aurum at the grand finale on Sunday. Meanwhile, Bowie is crooning, Put on your red shoes and dance the blues and we are eyeing the golden sneakers the models are wearing.