March 28, 2022 FDCI

Tracing Happiness

Suneet Varma announces the arrival of his pret label, a big one for a style guru trained by Yves Saint Laurent. Pankaj & Nidhi’s graphic prints dance and Punit Balana makes the brides’ friends go easy with light-weight offerings

By Asmita Aggarwal

When the husband-wife duo, Pankaj and Nidhi began their journey more than ten years ago, they were sure applique and cutwork was going to be part of their design vocabulary. And they have stayed true to that ideology. Thus, at the FDCI X LFW, this found elevation through the medium of global silhouettes as they announced the arrival of the oversized and printed pant suit.

Ruffled details on sleeves,  one shoulder dresses, crinkling along with fabric manipulation made the olive greens shine and the graphic prints sing. The athleisure jogger is still around in rusty pinks as Pankaj brought back flapper dresses reminding you of the roaring 20s. Sheer and roomy pants made a heady combo, as the play this season is on the sleeve which is finding volume as it glittered with sequin flowers. When you have the voice of Gen Z Sanjana Sanghi and Marbella, Spain with its sandy Mediterranean beaches, as the theme you know you have a winning team.

Some people mature like wine, they always have gravitas, never lose their humility and after two years back on the ramp Suneet Varma decided to dance on the evergreen number Don’t stop till you get enough….much like Manish Malhotra and Pratap (though he was missing)!

Where there is Suneet, sisco balls are not far behind.  This year was momentous for him, as the couture designer launched his pret line complete with ribbon textures, beading using essentially knitwear, adding a youthful vibe to it. “The mirror work jackets with blazing red thread work could be great for a night out as you can team it up with a pair of denims or a cocktail dress.  What Suneet managed was taking a traditional craft from Bhuj and Gujarat and making it super modern and glamorous. “We created the SV logo and wanted to offer multi-purpose ensembles,” says Suneet.

Colour Wheel:

It happened the other way round —Esha Amin studied fashion design from NIFT Mumbai, but began her career as a stylist. It was an important lesson to learn, as she understood the gap in the market, which is what she plugged with her label in 2007.

Working with various brands, designers, and styling actresses, Esha understood what works in India, in terms of silhouettes, trends and shapes. Few know she also runs a wedding styling company, where she manages wardrobes of brides. And what covid has established is the need for buying for longevity. “There is a hesitancy in buying for one time use, practicality is now the buzzword. I create pieces when I feel I have something to express, so my label would be more pret, veering towards diffusion. My colours elevate my silhouettes and clothes are trans-seasonal, as most of my life in the last two years has been spent on zoom calls, and video conferencing making time management is a bit easy,” she explains.

This season, she has de-constructed geometry, with a line that is based on denim, by developing her own fabric base intermingled with applique. The reversible jackets, accessories, footwear and jewellery has been done by Esha to match ensembles which are fuss-free, including zipper hoodies and capes. Is Mansi Scott her showstopper a fan? Certainly!

City of Prints:

Puneet Balana is based out of the mecca of handicrafts, thus printing became the mainstay of his line. Not one to mull over the disaster that Covid caused within the fashion space, rather, he focused his energy on pre-wedding functions that require a mix of maintaining cultural identity with a touch of modernity.

Thus Jaipur, became the melting pot of his experiments, as he played with the rich Rajasthani heritage in his line for the fashion week, which traces the journey of a girl, Lakshmi who is travelling to attend a friend’s wedding.

The year has been rough on her and she now desires to break free from the agonizing time, by dipping into Indian ethos without missing out on the fun, edgy side of dressing up. This year, Puneet worked with metallic coin embroideries, indigenous Jaipur block printing in silk, chanderis, Habutai, as well as organzas. Each silhouette is constructed in such a way that you can improvise—wear a skirt with a crop top, or add a duppatas for a friend’s sangeet ceremony. “There are lightweight lehengas, with volume and gheras, but I have also launched my menswear line, this year that include dushalas rubbing shoulders with athleisure, track pants and kurtas. The lockdown gave me a lot of time to work on my menswear, which I always made for myself but found admiration from friends and family,” says Puneet.


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