March 14, 2019 Asmita Aggarwal

Walk Like An Egyptian

Light yet strong, the Liva fabric gets heady renditions on Day one of the LMIFW’19, with Samant Chauhan going the Pharaoh way, and Rina Dhaka invoking the spirit of Rajasthan

By Asmita Aggarwal

Sustainability is the keyword in fashion today as designers strive to work towards a greener planet and that’s where the opening show holds mammoth significance. For Samant Chauhan, the fabric given by Liva helped him explore how to maximise its texture and fall. More than the embellishments or prints, the focus became to use Liva, in its purest form and elevate it to the highest potential.

“This collection is a stark shift from what we do usually – because for the first time, we have thought about a line that looks at being worn in a more casual context. Experimenting with knits is also a first for us,” he says. The shapes of the garments are Western with a mélange of pantsuit, trousers, dresses, skirts and shirts hoping to woo the young, modern woman, who wants to make a statement, without saying too much.

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The dresses are cinched at the waist with a belt, others are straight, some have knit detailing and the prints are inspired by Egyptian symbols. “We have created an interesting print, which from a distance, looks like a regular floral, but if you pay close attention you’ll notice that each floral form is a manipulation of motifs used in the Egyptian culture,” explains Samant.

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Fascinated by the forms and symbols used by the Egyptians, specially the army – each division of which had their own representing symbols, Samant took these and manipulated them to look like abstract forms, which mimic the appearance of a floral pattern. “I have taken the tone-on-tone approach, wherein I am using off-white as the base for all my garments. This is the natural colour of the LivaEco fabric, which I believe is most beautiful in its purest form. My design philosophy dictates that fiber is best when left untouched,” he explains.

In addition to the off-white base, Samant has used earthy toned prints that range from green to a dusty pink – all of which are contrasted with bright red, blue stripes and borders. “I have not used a single panel of polyester till now. Apart from that, we have not used a fabric that is imported either. We create from fabric that is either handspun or hand woven, which ensures the livelihood of communities. Sustainable clothing is not only for the people who wear it, but more for the people who benefit from it,” he admits.

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The four designers who are part of the LIVA show have their unique presentations. Rina Dhaka, known for her admiration for the stretch fabric, earlier made by Dupont has now shifted her lens to the desert, with Rajasthan becoming a recurring language of expression. Playing with geometric Rajasthani borders, the designer re-twisted them to give them a fresh form after colouring it and adding a graphic pattern.

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The result was a leaf, heart and flower motif with an innate sweetness that was then converted into skirts, trousers and the pant-suit. “The beauty of the Liva fabric is its softness which resembles mul-mul, minus its fragility, so it offers strength too and that’s an important aspect for a designer,” says Rina.

The inventor of the transparent churidar, Rina admits, she can’t get Rajasthan out of her head and is still contemplating whether she should add her glorious collection of Jamevars in this line. “When we think of autumn-winter, Kashmir becomes an important conversation, and I was debating how I can integrate it in my Liva line,” says Rina.

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