October 13, 2019 Asmita Aggarwal

Colour and light

Nanki Maggo creates a divine grid with hand marbling, as Limerick, her label swings between the obsessive love for vivid hues and edgy modernity

By Asmita Aggarwal

It takes a lot to cross over to the other side— from the ones publishing the news to becoming the news for magazines. Nanki Maggo Papneja after studying mass communication from Indraprastha University was fascinated by the world of colours, shapes and forms, so graphics became her pursuit and after working with top magazines and newspapers creating layouts with great alacrity, she decided to intern under stalwart Ritu Kumar (six months) and Pankaj and Nidhi (two years) to turn her lens towards designing, an art that she cultivated.
Limerick, or a funny poem, where the lyrics rhyme, is also a place in Ireland became the name of her label, that hopes to focus on what she does best create prints, beautiful, carefree, free flowing; ones with a dash of boho in them. Always vibrant and never a dull glimpse, a bit like Nanki, the person, who is effervescent and lets her husband, also her partner in business handle finances, so that she can focus on designing.

They met in school and the enduring love affair culminated into marriage with a deep understanding of each other’s weaknesses and strengths. Last year they opened a store in Mumbai’s posh Kala Ghoda and in 2015 in Greater Kailash, N-block market.

Coming from a business family, where her father owns and runs banquet halls, Limerick hopes to blend in tradition with modern sensibilities—laser cutting finds peace with zardosi, even though most would believe they make strange bedfellows. What’s new this season, at LMIFW SS’20 is hand marbling, for which Nanki has collaborated with a couple from Boston, settled in Jaipur.

Using natural colours, paints are added on water and naturally it floats, fabric is then placed on it to capture the imperfect yet interesting shapes and forms it takes. “Colour can flow in any direction and it is this unpredictability that creates surreal forms,” explains Nanki, adding that natural fabrics take colour well. “I like dressing women who are on the go, so when you buy my saris you will never have to make pleats, they come fully packed, all you need is to zip up,” she explains.

As a young label the challenges she faces is stiff competition, as price points decide your customers in a volatile market like India, so cheaper, faster techniques get you a bigger clientele while slower ones get you the discerning ones. “We keep our silhouettes easy and fuss-free, drape dresses, kaftans and summer wraps, but they are smeared with my prints which celebrate the vivacity of life through colour, abolishing any need for embellishments or embroidery,” she adds. This year there is an ode to metallics, 3D embroidery as well as patchwork in the line that is inspired by space. When you look down from above how small everything seems and we are just a spec in that vastness, is what is being mirrored. “It is quite abstract like the techniques we have used,” she says.

Her creating prints for Pankaj and Nidhi’s music box collection were well appreciated, which boosted her confidence and she also discovered that Ritu Kumar is a walking encyclopaedia for motifs, she can spot which one is from which museum or palace at just a glance. “She is truly the undisputed doyen of Indian crafts,” she the 34-year-old.

Never planning to do menswear, Nanki as a graphic artist believes she can tune any detail or motif on the computer predicting the final outcome of what it will look like and this she counts as her forte. “My husband Abirr makes it smooth for me at the workplace, he runs his own textile business, unrelated to fashion. I am happy I am able to do what my heart truly desired, I am one of the few lucky ones,” she concludes.
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