October 10, 2014 Asmita Aggarwal

Gods of small things

Roman decorative art Pietre dure, a laborious form of inlay becomes the muse for Pankaj and Nidhi’s SS 15 line

By Asmita Aggarwal

They are known for their profound love for appliqué, using fabric as a means of texturisation and Pankaj and Nidhi have also grown to experiment with various techniques from holographic, pack of cards, Spanish bull fighters to pop art adding diversity to their impassioned style spectrum.

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This time, it is early 19th century jewellery, which has taken centre stage in their SS 15 line, which serves as a springboard to exude glamour albeit in a quieter way—through prints. Jewellery from vintage broaches, pendants to necklaces has been converted into prints to go on their vinous A-line dresses, constructed pants and pencil skirts. The effort remains to refine age-old techniques, which they have adopted and adapted to suit contemporary tastes. Their fervent visit to book stores, fairs and museums have heightened their sense of style, creating an imprint of what would intoxicate modern women. “We have pasted prints against pastel backgrounds and included pearl elements to create restrained splendour and amplify the softness of colour,” says Pankaj Ahuja.

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In a palette that reverberates with old rose and powder blue, Moti ka kam, done with intricate beads, you can also see them embodying the spirit of Pietre dure, the fine art of inlay work in stone ( as seen in the monument of love—-Taj Mahal).

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But there is a kind of detour here too! Pankaj and Nidhi have done felt beads, magnified them (four or five times their size), to use as an embroidery rather than lusting after the usual blingy Swarovski. “Hand-made things kind of move us, the craft involved and the man hours, also thinking out-of-the-box makes it all worthwhile,” he adds. But that’s not all.

Ordinary lace has been converted into fabric by stitching and sowing reams of it together, it is then placed on structured garments, giving their often geometric and pixelated motifs an unpredictable conclusion.

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