October 19, 2020 Asmita Aggarwal

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From migrant crisis, graphic knits, zipped jackets and the red dot emerging as a leitmotif for freedom of thought, LMIFW SS’21 ended with a discerning eye on the future

By Asmita Aggarwal

The thing about being young is that your thoughts are unfettered, making you unafraid to experiment and push boundaries which is often not the case, when commercial aspects seep in, while running a business. That’s the kind of ingenuity we saw at the Pearl Academy showcase, when the graduating batch of 2020 created a moodboard for the future, while dipping into the past.

From using interesting stitching techniques to dyeing processes, they showcased myriad themes. Graphic knits, sporty chic, interesting prints, tie ups, dip dyed pants, roomy palazzos to engineered trousers, understanding the need for kimono sleeves offering comfort — Words like “disappear” emblazoned on jackets made fleeting appearances. Frankly, they are not vanishing, they are here to stay and how!

It is the truth, the lockdown affected us the most emotionally, but the worst hit were 40 million migrant workers, as almost 90 per cent are engaged in an informal economy. UP and Bihar account for almost 80 per cent of the labour force, thus, the Modi government’s Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Package (PMGKB) launched a $22.6 billion relief package.

It was this grief and despondency that deeply impacted designer Rina Dhaka, who paid homage to those who walked home, barefoot, carrying the unbearable weight of unemployment on their tired shoulders. Sans any colour, as if mirroring how it had drained out of their forlorn faces, she used a palette of tone-on-tone, abandoned her love for shine, sometimes keeping it minimal and offered a line that was wearable.

Will men ever break up with stripes and checks? Unlikely, as Pawan Sachdeva would have us believe, but what he did was add a cool energy to it with Safari-esque suits, quilted jackets, heavily pocketed leather jackets and zipped hoodies, along with belted trench coats.

“The materials used are metallic fabrics like PU, leather and leatherites and crepe lycras and we have introduced a lot of knitted fabrics in t-shirts, hoodies and trousers. I wouldn’t say there is a big difference in menswear, but yes given the current change in lifestyle with the new normal, I have introduced futuristic elements in my collection,” says Sachdeva. He adds the current scenario demands a pop of bling even as the looks are always comfortable with a mix of athleisure with a street style approach. “Not everyone wants body fitted garments, one can never go wrong while playing with checks and stripes and I always carry a hint of them in every collection. I have blended both on solid coloured fabrics to create a strong visual style statement,” he adds.

The detailing of the monochromes from the PU fabric enhanced it to being more edgy and stylish, yet retaining its sporty feel. The silhouettes are relaxed, easy, and he added quilted jackets on shimmer fabrics for a fun party night.  “I have caps as an accessory to amplify the sporty and edgy side,” he explains.

The flavour of LMIFW was really in designers understanding the urgency of reset, with Shivan and Narresh known for their love for artists, and of course, natty swimwear, paid an ode to Austrian painter Gustav Klimt and his erotic art. Their printed, away from the body kurtas, belted dresses, kaftans, cutwork flowers on slinky bustiers along with glittering cover ups for bikinis, rendered a hippie vibe, something a Bob Marley would don, while strumming his Hawk Washburn. High-waisted skirts came pearl-encrusted; it was a visible departure from their predictable oomph to a more relatable glam.

Embroidered tuxedos, metallic brooches and water creating a visual paradise, in a monochromatic visage, Rohit Gandhi and Rahul Khanna’s “Parallax”, had sequinned off shoulder gowns, and the very 70s fringes, as sheer played peek-a-boo. The belt has emerged as a coveted accessory, added on to dresses as well as jackets to focus on the waist, with just hints of cherry red evening wear to offset the ebony and ivory.

No fashion showcasing is complete without makeup, even though this year nothing has been OTT, Lotus Make-Up has been a trendsetter with not just its value-added products, but also path-breaking thinking. Whether it was using graphic eyeliners, or creating a splash with aqua or sea green eyes with shadow, they also played with shimmer— just a hint of golden powder under the peepers! Make-up is really an extension of your personality and the bold prefer to say it with a red mouth while the brazen with a red dot reminding you of Syed Haider Raza’s “Bindu” series, where the centre will always be the forehead, the Ajna chakra.

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