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Native Stories

Textiles took centrestage as designers presented vibrant collections at the Indian Handloom and Textiles Day as part of Lakme Fashion Week Summer/Resort 2015.

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Vidya Balan accompanied designer Gaurang Shah for the curtain call. (Source: Express Photo by Amit Chakravarty)

The rustle of Chanderi, Banarasi and Jamdani sounded a lyrical note as indigenous weaves from different parts of the country came alive on the second day of the just concluded Lakme Fashion Week (LFW) Summer/Resort 2015. The Indian Handloom and Textiles Day, in collaboration with the Government of India, has steadily emerged as the one of the most popular initiatives of LFW. This edition saw over 15 designers pay homage to the diverse textile tapestry that is India, with native craft techniques that pushed the boundaries of regular Indian wear. Coupled with engaging audio-visual effects that included palace backdrops, folk music and even a live saxophone performance, there were many highlights.

Classic Touch
As a saxophonist belted out old-school Bollywood tunes, models with over-sized naths and tattooed bindis walked barefoot in flared pants, anarkalis, and bright saris with animal motifs, offset by sombre beige and off-white blouses for Hyderbad-based designer Gaurang Shah. Actor Vidya Balan, who was conspicuous by her absence at the opening show of friend Sabyasachi Mukherjee, made a surprise appearance at Shah’s show. Seated in the front row, looking striking in a pink and gold sari by the designer, she took to the ramp with Shah as he took the curtain call. Looks like a new designer-star collabora-tion is in the making.

Tales of Blue
Bangalore-based designer Deepika Govind returned to LFW with a stunning collection that was an ode to the Rann of Kutch. Using Kala cotton, an organic fabric grown in the Kutch wilderness, Govind experimented with bandhani, tie-dye, shibori and ajrakh prints teamed with rabari embroideries. She interpreted the land’s rural charms in earthy tones of brown, burgundy, mustard, red and blue, with one shoulder dresses, boleros, printed skirts, cigarette pants with sheer kurtas and waistcoats. The collection also featured mirror-work and striking Rogan art, an ancient art of hand painting that was akin to fine embroidery on the pieces.

The Bengal Influence
Designers looked eastwards for inspiration, presenting the best of West Bengal handlooms in their designs. Using khadi as the base fabric, veteran designer Kiran Uttam Ghosh showcased both Western and Indian silhouettes, like pleated dresses, loose pants, white button-down shirts with obi belts, sheer cover-ups and handloom sarees with embroidered cholis. Interesting pieces included a Maheshwari cape over a blue jersey dress and a red Dhakai dress with high slits, worn over gold pants. Jamdani especially had its aha moment, with several designers using the weave in their collections. Anavila Misra stuck to her signature rustic vibe, with a line that included sober hued Jamdani saris in patterns such as plaid and hand batik. Not Like You, the label by designers Shovit Dasgupta, Durba Nag and Sharan Kaur, used the weave with bright hand-painted prints and block printed patterns. Revival was key with the trio reusing a 25-year-old sari for a crop top and flared skirt set. Another Bengal staple, the Dhonekali textile was teamed with the rural gamcha in Mayank Anand and Shraddha Nigam’s “Chauraha” line. In a colour story that spanned red, black and white, the collection included a jumpsuit tunic, a shift dress with an attached cape, maxis and asymmetrical kurtas.

Modern Twist
Patine, Shon Randhawa’s label that has a retail presence in Delhi, made a sparkling debut at LFW with designs that sought to contemporarise vintage luxury. With intricate palace architecture serving as the backdrop, models walked to strains of Aap jaisa koi for the collection, titled “A Retro Bar”. Gara embroidery took centrestage, in the form of wrap skirts and asymmetrical dresses that also had chikankari accents, as the designer worked with silks, lace and tulle fabrics.

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