October 3, 2013 Asmita Aggarwal

Fresh Wave

Riveting Chandni Chowk, timeless embroideries, Bangla typography or the mirror work of Gujarat… four young guns reveal their exciting journey as they gear up for WIFW SS 14

Raised in Chandni Chowk, it was Old Delhi’s sights and sounds that left a lasting impression on Gautam Gupta, a debutant at WIFW SS 14. Launching his prêt label Autre (which means unique in French) in 2011, Gautam believes it is prints, bold colours and quirkiness that sets him apart

Showing his resort wear line titled ‘Tick Tock Anywhere, Anytime’, it is based on the philosophy of easy to wear ensembles in linen and cotton. “I have added psychedelic artwork to the maxis, A-line dresses, shorts to make it interesting. My label is targeted at women who have a fun side to them and are unafraid of bold colours,” he says.

The biggest challenge for Gautam remains a fine balance between quirkiness and being a commercial success. “It is ok to have flights of fantasy, but one must be able to sell, so over the years I have kind of learnt to tone down my artistic side,” he smiles.

Wooing simplicity rather than complex garment construction, Gautam has stuck to electric blues and greens but added surprise by merging them with beiges and whites.

If Gautam’s forte is a mélange of striking hues, debutant Poonam Dubey’s line ‘Desert Road’ is her tribute to the women of Gujarat and Rajasthan. So you will see gotta work and mirror borders on her contemporary take on ghagras which have been made shorter and teamed up with shirts; Angarkhas can be worn with Jodhpurs or you can try her dhoti saris. “The idea was not to give my homage a literal translation rather I’ve let the motifs or embroidery unravel the story,” says Poonam.

With embroideries being an Indian speciality, Prem and Khushboo of the label Khem, both Pearl Academy of Fashion graduates centered their line on this colourful threadwork. “Our embroideries are subtle and classic rather than overpowering and loud,” says Prem, who has worked from Ranna Gill to a buying house to understand the functioning of the fashion business. Prem partnered with Khushboo, who worked with Ritu Beri and in 2010 they decided to launch their label.

With a collection titled ‘Dreams in Persian Blue’, Prem stumbled upon the idea when he was working with a national awardee in Japiur. “We were trying to make his collection commercial and he was working extensively with indigo,” says Prem.

Combining printing and embroidery techniques, Prem and Khushboo have kept the silhouettes flowy, even though they admit that the most challenging part remains to be able to execute the idea they started with brilliantly. “What you have thought may not be what you will get in the end,” he concludes.

Kolkata’s Rimi Nayak who is ready with her yet untitled line admits that her USP will always be drapes even though during production, many times she has to do it over and over again to get it accurate. “I am a Bengali girl and we don’t believe in embellishments, it’s a no bling approach to fashion. So for me draping is technique which is timeless and in many ways laborious,” she adds. Instead of Swarovski, Rimi has worked with the Kantha stitch, surface techniques and hand embroidery on her kurtas and saris. “The beauty of drapes is that it is not rigid, it offers fluidity and it has a personal element too—it is done by hand,” she smiles.
Her smooth pastels will enliven her georgettes, muslins, satins and crepes in shades of peach, beige and sea green.

After NIFT Kolkata, Rimi launched her label in 2008 and for WIFW SS 14, she has ingeniously converted Bengali typography into signature prints. “Typography is always used in the context of English texts, but I wanted to treat it differently, so I did it in Bangla to give it an ethnicity. It is a fitting tribute to my roots,” she confirms.

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