March 16, 2017 Asmita Aggarwal

The dark side of the Moon

No, this is not an homage to David Gilmour of Pink Floyd and his band of socio-political music, but maybe somewhere it is… as day one at AIFW went back to its roots and kind of said that handlooms are really cool inching their way into young women’s hearts as much as slinky gowns…

By Asmita Aggarwal

They often say that fashion is ruthless and a fleeting fancy of the privileged, but it kinda revealed its softer side, when the lovely Krishna Somani tripped thrice on the catwalk and won an applause for her fortitude to walk back gracefully. Quite like last year when the affable Sonalika Sahay, had a mishap at the JJ Valaya and Alpana and Neeraj finale, making you believe that style is after all not so unforgiving, as they proverbially say.

Unlike the West which uses its voice to denounce Trump (Prabal Gurung and his tee shirts saying “I am an immigrant”) and his autocratic tactics, or to declare that you are finally (phew!) a feminist…ahem… (Maria Grazia Chiuri of Dior), our country sticks to what it knows best—exploring the wonders of a sea of textiles.

The day one of the Amazon Fashion Week autumn-winter 2017, was dedicated to crafts and saw the Textiles Minister Smriti Irani making a swift entry to support the impressive line of Anita Lal of Good Earth’s collaboration with Sally Holkar’s Handloom School, which not only gives employment to artisans, but also trains them on technological advancements.

So the grassy ramp, complete with flower bushes, saw dusky models walk barefoot in salmon pinks, muted greens and mustards bidding goodbye to constricted silhouettes and welcoming autumn with roomy pants and pleated jackets. The flyaway tresses and almost nude makeup matched the mood of Sanjay Garg, Rina Singh, Neeru Kumar, to Pratap and Urvashi Kaur, among others.

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When you grow up in the world of fashion, like me, you kind of know everyone’s trajectory that’s why it was heartening to see 90’s topmodel Ruchi Malhotra, the reclusive wife of tech expert, Rajiv Makhni, walk the ramp for designer Madhu Jain, who was celebrating 30 years of her being in the business of fashion. The sindoor reds, and monochromatic ikats, peppered with Bandhini showed Madhu’s undying love for what is innately Indian minus the frills of embroideries. Ambika Shukla, the director of Sanjay Gandhi Animal Care Centre, and politician Rajiv Pratap Rudy’s wife Neelam, who have been close friends of Madhu, delightfully supported the designer, who returned to the runway after decades. Much like Madhu’s nephew Raghav Meatle, (who won the TV show The Stage), who sang Eric Clapton’s chart-topper You Look Wonderful Tonight


The undisputed winner of the first day was none other than the Nagpur-based designer Shruti Sancheti, who’s quiet resilience showed that trends and crafts do make heady soulmates. That’s why her ingenious trumpet sleeves, long capes with cool pockets and pleasing mocha browns refreshed your palate. What was heartening is that she and Rina Dhaka paid homage to Jharkhand in the Jharcraft show without trying to compromise on the simplicity of the fabrics. Shruti’s ahimsa silks and finely woven cottons made way for separates that had immaculately tailored insides which you could see in the piping or lining of the skirts and jackets or what we can safely term as restrained luxury. “Jharkhand is a mineral-rich state and boasts of many natural reserves, so I was inspired by the colours of teak, mahogany and ecru and didn’t dye the fabrics, rather I used them in their natural state and colour as they had this undeniable sheen,” she adds.

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The surface ornamentation was restricted to the running stitch, which finds it own version in Jharkhand, much like the Kantha from West Bengal. The ombre effect came from the tribals from that region, and Shruti gave a unique twist to surface ornamentation with Warli’s geometric motifs by deconstructing them, resulting in a worn out feel. “I felt with demonetisation women must be given multiple options for the same outfit, so you can wear the jacket with a skirt or trousers, anything that makes you feel comfortable,” she concludes.



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