Molten gold meets soulfulness in Dolly J’s couture, as she ends size-ism offering multiple usability as Shilpa Shetty tells us “beware curves ahead”!
By Asmita Aggarwal
She flew down Western classical songstress Shreya Bhattacharya from Mumbai two days before her show so that she doesn’t get overtaken by nerves. But if there is anyone in the business of fashion, who knows how to work quietly and then make a big splash, it is Dolly J. Her choice of show stopper too at the FDCI ICW 2022, was curvaceous Shilpa Shetty whose tulle gown, with a dropped waist moved as the panels grooved to, I’ve put a spell on you a 50s number by Jay Hawkins.
“I got into singing accidently, when I was discovered for a school choir and I then decided to make music my whole career. I studied at Swarnabhoomi Academy of Music, Chennai, and it has been seven years since I moved to Mumbai,” says Shreya. Live singing, recreating the jazz era of the 20s was a team effort by choreographer Anu Ahuja, Dolly and her team and Shreya’s customised gown and red lips was part of that vintage look. “Live singing sets the mood, you are instantly connecting with the audience, so you must be cautious of sending out the right energy,” she adds.
In bridal couture, Dolly elevated metallics, but the ubiquitous reds and pinks made an appearance too, and interestingly, the new approach is introducing lehengas soaked gold and silver, laden with zardozi, Swarovski, even though on the shelf they come with double/triple dupattas, Dolly decided it would take away from the show, thus removed them.
“We sent Shilpa two pieces and she made some adjustments based on what she liked, it is a complicated piece, and took many man hours to construct, due to its different layers,” says Dolly. For the self-taught designer couture is timeless and despite the post-pandemic temporary lull, things have started returning to normal, with people investing in expensive pieces.
“I always advocate the idea of versatility; it creates new avenues of design and gives another life to the article of clothing. For example, in our design studio, we always toy with this idea, while designing to ensure maximum wear. Plus, I strongly recommend buyers to be conscious of the outfits they purchase,” she adds. In the collection, she offers jackets that can be worn with both pants and lehengas, according to the occasion. Further, corsets can be styled with saris for a formal setting, as well as with denims for an uber chic casual evening.
This season, she has focussed on the idea of molten gold as the point of inspiration. Embellishments of iridescent sequins and metallic coils embody the vision, focussing on shimmering tulle, metallic yarn organza and raw silk weave.
“Sustainability is important in today’s scenario in every aspect of life. We constantly try to incorporate those values and ideals in our workspace,” she explains. Dolly J specialises in gowns and most of her clientele trust her aesthetics that marry Western silhouettes with rich, Indian craftsmanship emblazoned with embroideries. “We strongly consider making every piece of clothing size versatile, every size looks equally glamorous and flattering in our creations,” she adds. The idea is to endeavour and experiment with cuts and silhouettes to flatter every body shape. She is incorporating the same this year in the couture collection, along with carefully crafted ruffle details.
“Personally, for me luxury is to spend quality time with family and loved ones. In terms of the market, designers are evolving with time, creating innovations for greater functionality. Our clientele is diverse and everyone has a signature style that is applauded by their ardent followers and that’s the beauty of co-existence,” she confirms.
Her inspiration for this year’s couture collection is the fluidity of molten gold and the soulfulness of jazz as an art form along with its unmatched serenity. “This collection has been titled ‘Miraki’, which translates to soulfulness that leaves a part of you in your creation,” she concludes.