In a world of sequinned everything, Vineet Bahl’s Qashqai kilims inspired embroideries as well as beaten denims, and jaali work was the untold story of the hippie, in all of us, waiting to be set free.
By Asmita Aggarwal
There are some quiet warriors amongst us who prefer to let the outfits do the talking while they remain in the background. So they skip press conferences, keep minimal interactions, and don’t leave cue cards. But this doesn’t dim their strong voice in the design world, as creativity has a niggling way of finding believers.
Vineet Bahl has always maintained a studied distance from the roller coaster of fashion, and for him, glocal is now the mantra, global with a local hand writing, so most things are trans-seasonal. Layering is what, for him makes the difference. “My clients are younger, so even though the 80s are back, I have restricted that to just the soft padded shoulders,” he says.
But what is most fascinating about his line is the focus on detailing, so if you look closely he has intermingled several movements and regions, mostly from the Middle East, his leitmotif this autumn. The Qashqai kilims from South West Persia, made by a nomadic tribe from the treacherous Zagros mountain boast of the most stunning geometric designs; these are made using only organic fibres and dyes. Those have been nattily picked up and transported on to dresses and skirts.
But there is also lurex with its innate shine and shirts that caress the knee with their fluidity, which Vineet changed at the last moment to get the right length. “Skirts are such that they need to hit the right spot, so they are tougher to execute correctly than trousers,” he smiles.
With seasons losing their boundaries and merging into one another, most designers are abandoning wool, and have been working on interesting finishes and textures. Vineet has used brushed twills and linens, which were among his various experiments with fabrics that worked. “Winter is now no longer necessarily darker, people like contrasts that’s where the game is. Also my clients are more open to colour now as they don’t always want something ‘safe’,” he adds.
Among the ivory jackets and felt coats, cop caps and tapered pants, pockets found an identity of their own. Now they are the new accessory that designers are using by ‘misplacing’ them everywhere on coats and trousers. Their size too has become from just functional to bolder and larger.
When Jacob Davis and Levi Strauss, created history with jeans in the late 18th century, little they did they know it would become a revolution of sorts. And for Vineet denims hold a dear place in his trajectory. He worked on his denims, so they were beaten and washed and subdued to submission, so much so that they fell softly, almost like crepe. And then inspired by the jaali work on burqas women wore in Afghanistan, just like the crochets, he used those motifs on his jeans. “Earlier we did a lot of Andhra Ikkats and I realised that it somewhat looked similar to what I see around, so we turned our lens elsewhere and explored the Middle-East, with its varied forms of embroideries and their impactful rendition,” he adds. The idea was to mix things up and then juggle them to get a new puzzle and that’s what made his line, the most exciting, this time.