Traditional and Futuristic – Handlooms at Lakme Fashion Week Winter|Festive 2020

Traditional and Futuristic – Handlooms at Lakme Fashion Week Winter|Festive 2020

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“India”, a land so known for amalgamation of cultures, has always been an inspiration to textile and fashion designers in our country and beyond. Right from the fascinating kanjeevaram silks from Kanchipuram, the magnificent brocades from Banaras, the intricately woven Patolas of Patan, the colourful tie-dyes and leheriyas of Rajasthan to the beautiful Kalamkari paintings from Andhra Pradesh, designers have gone back to take inspiration from these ancient craft forms. India accounts for approximately 95 percent of the world’s handmade textiles, heartening statistics indeed considering that our ancient heritage craft, weave and a textile particular to each region.

From the time when Gandhiji first lauded hand spun khadi in early 1900s, the ardent love for Indian textiles and crafts remained unchanged until liberalization. The onset of power looms and use of state of art machinery led to significant reduction in human labour and brought prices of all products to an all-time low. Obviously consumers loved this super swanky lifestyle where every day was new fashion and new style at affordable rates. Someone somewhere was paying the cost of it all. The craftsmen and weavers started leaving their ancestry and turn to industrialization and job-works. Until “Handloom Day” started being once again celebrated in India to bring in a sense of pride to what we already possess – an ancient heritage of textiles and crafts.

Digital Movements like #isupportlocal, #sustainablefashion and #vocalforlocal have made fashion conscious Indians look inwards and has helped build a new found respect and admiration for Indian crafts and textiles. New age designers along with the old too are rediscovering the ways to bring forth our age-old treasures.

Pushed to break the ceiling of comfort and creativity, the Lakme Fashion Week Winter|Festive 2020 paved way for its first ever virtual avatar recently. Featuring an unparalleled benchmark in innovation, sustainability and creativity, the 5-day digital fashion week showcased the collections of designers and brands like Raw Mango, Pero, Anavila Mishra, Anita Dongre, Jayanti Reddy, Payal Khandwala, Suket Dhir, Abraham and Thakore, Amit Aggarwal and many more who reinvented the magic of Indian weaves while staying true to the millennial fashion trends.

Ciceroni picks out its favourite designers who paid homage to textiles and weaving traditions of India.

  • MANISH MALHOTRA

Celebrating the occasion called “Life” Manish Malhotra’s latest collection “Ruhaaniyat was the designer’s tribute to artisans and craftsmen as his association with the Mijwan Foundation completed 10 years.

Inspired by the historical cultures of Punjab and Awadh, his collection showcased the opulence of Mughal Era through the vibrant hued kalidar kurtas, flared ghararas, diaphanous dupattas detailed with minute beaded motifs and decorative thread work. Syncing with the women’s festive and bridal collection, Malhotra’s men’s collection too had an exquisite range of embroidered silk and velvet kurtas and jama angarkhas in subtle pastels.

If you are looking for a cinematic wedding, look no further than Manish Malhotra. After all, he is Bollywoood’s darling designer.

  • PERO

Giving major “childhood doll house” vibes, Pero’s collection titled “Locked in Love” was all about serene pastels, quirky frills and the brand’s signature relaxed silhouettes. If physical fashion weeks were done away and focus was only on digital presentation, Pero has struck gold this time with its focus on unique representation.

Inspired by the street styles of Tokyo’s famed Harajuku district, the fashion film showcased models portray characters as bakers, bookworms and sleepyheads all locked in their homes in this pandemic. Dressed up in everyday casual outfits like laced slip dresses, tea dresses, French knot detailed jackets and capris, the brand gave its playful collection a feminine twist with beautiful floral prints.

The collection’s handwoven textiles consisted of the traditional Mashru weaving techniques from Gujarat, taffeta silks and gabardine from the southern part of India and stripes woven in Banaras. While Pero looks inward for inspiration, its approach in design is truly global for any modern consumer to lay its fingers on it.

  • SUKRITI AND AAKRITI

Sukriti and Aakriti’s collection “Neo-Phulkari” was inspired by Punjab’s Phulkari hand-embroidery. Phulkari, which literally translates to ‘flower work’, is a unique style or technique of embroidery particular to Punjab.

Phulkari has a traditional significance and is worn to celebrate a wedding or a joyous occasion in Punjab. This embellishment that often appears in bridal trousseaus was given a revival touch by the designers, who incorporated it in fluid forms onto the Indian silhouettes. The base of the craft was the organic fabric as well as the naturally dyed gota work. In addition, Sukriti and Aakriti gave a creative contemporary thrust to Phulkari, so that it had a wider global appeal.

This playful and vibrant textile art sets perfectly in their collection of contemporary Indian wear that consisted of season fluid lehenga cholis in soft pastels for women and festive must have kurta sets and phulkari bundis for men.

Dynamic Duo Aparshakti Khurana & Radhika Madan walked for Sukriti & Aakriti’s Neo-Phulkari A/W’20 collection.

  • SUKET DHIR

Known for his alchemical mix of Indian textiles like khadi, cashmere and hand-woven brocades, Suket Dhir’s fashion week collection consisted of luxe and statement making silk jackets and co-ord sets that included both skirts and trousers.

Instead of adding the conventional motifs inspired by the royals, Dhir is seen experimenting with a myriad of animal prints. Giving the traditional Banarasi brocade a modern and powerful twist, the collection features ensembles in relaxed tailoring and bright colour palette, making them the right pick for your next galore of festive occasions.

Dare to be different with Suket’s collection if you are the one who wants to embrace heritage but still be modern in approach.

  • PAYAL KHANDWALA

Presenting a limited edition of Jamdani sarees, Payal Khandwala’s Jamdani collection at the fashion week was handwoven in silk unlike its signature rendition in fine muslins and handlooms.

The result is a textile that feels luxurious and contemporary whilst using a craft that has been honed for generations. Seen in vivid hues of purples, fuchsia and greens, the regal festive essential sarees were detailed in a way that the traditional motifs which are typically smaller, either floral or geometric, were redesigned as an extension of a more modern wildflower print story, to be both exaggerated and graphic. The series of handwoven jamdani saris is limited to just 10 saris one in each colour, so if you love one off pieces, this saree might be just the one for you.

  • RIDHI MEHRA

Drawing inspiration from Kutch and its royal heritage, Ridhi Mehra’s latest collection ‘Reflection’ blends the traditional mirror work, bohemian embellishments along with a riot of colours. Keeping the age-old craft of mirror work at its core, the collection weaves together novel designs and techniques, articulating a couture equivalent of the “old wine in a new bottle” rhetoric. She has mixed elements of Gota Patti and zari on the silks as well as the prints that highlights the fabrics like chiffon and organza.

Entailing romantic ruffles and dainty embroidery, the line-up of pre-draped saris, lehengas and kurtas, the collection is sure to keep your sartorial wedding woes at bay.

  • RAW MANGO

Sanjay Garg’s Raw Mango rejoiced the nostalgia of being back home in Rajasthan through its latest collection “Moomal”. If there is one designer that should be given credit to modernise saree for urban elites, it has to be Sanjay Garg. He introduced colours and played with them unabashedly. Moomal raised the bar for digital presentation of a fashion show for all designers in India. Going back home in Rajasthan, shedding light on otherwise considered garish but traditional style, Moomal is an ode to Rajasthani heritage.

Introducing Rajasthani Bandhej for the very first time, the collection featured poshak-inspired long blouses, kurtas with choli cuts and typical Rajasthani necklines that can be adorned for day and evening functions come what season.

The colour palette, which is the star element of Raw Mango, comprised of rani, red, purple, mango green, rustic orange and white – absolute favourites in all Indian festivities. Go ahead and bring in zest in festivities with Raw Mango’s Moomal.

  • AMIT AGGARWAL

Amit Aggarwal presented his 15-piece capsule collection ‘First Light’ at Lakme fashion week digital show through his unique film. Futuristic in approach, it featured models in lehengas and sarees floating in meditative poses along with sheer dupattas that glittered against the cosmos backdrop.

He combined his signature recycled polymer with indigenous fabrics like chanderi and matka silk, South Indian temple inspired motifs, and leheriya techniques to create his latest collection. Reminiscent of the cosmos, the colour palette included Venus violet, gamma green, and earthy plum. Amit Aggarwal definitely knows how to convert an age old craft into a futuristic design and make it aspirational for a global audience. The Colours can definitely light you up your festivities.

Giving major festive dressing goals through a twist in the traditional Indian silhouettes, these designers have surely played their part in creating an awakening about Indian handlooms. Whether you choose futuristic styles or you settle for old classics, whether you select pastels or you opt for jewel tones, do get in a piece of craft for your festive dressing, says the vibes of Lakme Fashion Week.

Aishwarya Menon

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