Sea Change

Gaurav Gupta has studied the “Undercurrent” like no one else and decided not to swim against the tide. His couture is lighter, subtler and unfussy, armed with his new offering of shiny baubles and sharp tailoring to create an awakening for those who possess an undeniable mystique Read more

Theory of Harmony

 Bindu and Surya, mother-son duo combine music, engineering and physics to create a line that celebrates tradition, minus the jazz

By Asmita Aggarwal

You could call him the prodigal son, the one who stumbled into fashion, seeing the silent, but evocative efforts of his mother. Mother-son make the best pair, emotionally and commercially too as they balance ideas creating a chord wheel where effective notes bounce off.

That’s the story of Bindu and Surya Giri from Chennai of the label SGBG (symbolic of their names). Bindu from the royal family of Northern Kerala, has been working with textiles for the last 15 years, taking up languishing looms and reviving lost crafts. Masters in business administration from Chicago, Bindu adopted the family legacy of working with craftsmen from her village. Very few connoisseurs of the real art of traditional saris want to pay for authenticity; so she found devotees in UK and South Asia. “The family was in tandem with the traditions of yore and believed in protecting heritage, my mother was passed on the baton and she carried it bravely till the finish line,” explains Surya.

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Surya, studied music and economics at the University of Chicago and graduated two years ago. He had no idea what the business entailed or ever dreamt of joining his mom. But it did happen almost serendipitously. While making a documentary for the BBC, he had a day off and decided just spontaneously to visit the looms under his mother’s care. “I was blown over and as my mother has always been so low key, I didn’t know the extent of her intervention. Though what made me want to join is, it was connected to my roots and design in modern times is more than what meets the eye; there are many subterranean layers which are intangible,” he explains.

History has been coded in the warp and weft of the ensembles and the duo took up the onerous task to elevate these art forms. The wheels got kicking and they went for the Paris Fashion Week (Tranoi Week) to participate in the sustainable edit, hoping to curate weaves in a contemporary form.

Literally born with a diamond spoon, Surya’s father was the VP Accenture, and his maternal grandfather Nandkumar was a respected royalty in Kerala, both families appreciated art, culture, fashion and music and the same genes were passed on to the subsequent generations. “Poetry exists in Indian textiles and we must create a cocoon around it to preserve it. Fashion has so many interesting stories sewn in its fabric that as designers we try and present them in the ten minutes we get on the runway,” he smiles.

Just like music, Surya says where rhythm and balance is the key to hit the right notes, in design you need an eye that looks beyond just colours and ornamentation. “We did a more densely packed version of the Kanchivaram and our version of the Banerasi weave, when it migrated down South got greater intricacy and was incredibly textured,” he admits.

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Fashion is more visual now and about fearless concepts and ethics and less about shapes and form. “I view our brand as an art project that’s why our LMIFW’19 showing has sculpture, drape and embroidery amalgamated in its foundation. Our clothes are global, they can be worn anywhere from Los Angeles to Kochi,” he concludes.

Backstreet Boys

Finally men strutting on nothing less than late Prince’s everlasting number Cream….a break from a sea of dresses, came some abs and toned muscles, as stripes and checks played truant with a generous dollop of Bollywood

By Asmita Aggarwal

It was the perfect song to play in the background—– Rolling Stones’ 60s number I can get no satisfaction with the inimitable Mick Jagger and Keith Richards, seemed it was well-chosen seeing the response of the female gender on the last day of the fashion fiesta.

What happens when there are catcalls, applause and intermittent giggles as an army of washboard abs take on the runway? Well… a barrage of smartphones rise up. Then you know it is the menswear show, the most awaited one at the LMIFW’19. The reason is apparent!

This year too, a bevy of beautiful broad shoulders descended on the runway, and among those were Aparshakti Khurana, the brother of the more popular Ayushman, the man who sang Paani da and made us all swoon. And representing a woman with intellect and of course everyone’s pride Guneet Monga, the one who got us the Oscar for the documentary Period. They walked for Rohit Kamra and his Maharaja-style ensembles soaked in the spirit of Rajasthan’s erstwhile royalty.

“I have explored the classic black and white palette, and in the middle fall greys and beiges. Traditional mirror work is the collection’s high point, inspired by the work done in many regions of Rajasthan. We’ve also explored coral, colour of the season, in accessories. As you can see, we have used semi-precious coral coloured stones as buttons on the jacket that Apar (Aparshakti Khurana) is wearing and handcrafted roses in the same shade, on the jacket that Guneet wears. The fabrics come from the loom of the weavers,” says Rohit.

Rohit has known Guneet for a long time now, and believes she has made the country proud. “I have been a small part of that journey just by observing what she is doing, and how. Apar and I have been great friends, and are related as well. He is on his way towards making it big on 70MM,” he adds.

The emergence of pleating and the Patiala shalwar was an interesting addition in the show with mirror work on handloom sherwanis, white winning the favourite race.

 “I like Rohit’s style. He gives an uber modern touch to royal classics like this outfit uses a Western fabric that is velvet, and meets an Indian fabric which is khadi. Not very often do you see this concoction. You can see that variance in the people affiliated also, Guneet congratulated me for a nomination and I told her, ‘dude, you got an Oscar’,” says Apar.

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The star of the day was undoubtedly Guneet who candidly explained that working in the film industry, you start with the hopes that one day you will win an Oscar. “I never thought I would walk the ramp. I think what unites the three of us is that we are very rooted, ‘zameen se jude hue insaan hai’, that’s why we all connect. The center point is where we all come from, our journey and upbringing and we’re rooting for Rajasthan’s ethos,” says Guneet.

Guneet explains how she has been to the Mecca of celebrating design—Oscars entering the place with eyes wide open, looking at so much creativity. “I felt the same way coming here, looking at everyone – even the assistants running around with little hints of blue in their eyes and a pinch of sparkle on their nails, it was just a reminder that there is so much inspiration all around. So yes, we all follow the awards and all of them are celebrations of creativity more than anything. So today, for a person like me, being 5 feet nothing and standing there in all the power and walking the ramp was magical,” she laughs.

 Menswear, a now growing genre, has more scope for experimentation, unlike women’s wear, a rather saturated space. That’s why you could see checks, stripes, tie ups, and tangerine peeking out of a grey base in Pawan Sachdeva’s offerings along with zippers oddly placed.

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Interestingly, small is now becoming big it the world of fashion, with two pint sized bombshells taking on the runway—- Radhika Apte, the new North Star of many offbeat, non-commercial actors. The pant suit is now officially cool, and both designers proved you don’t need a man anymore to be a showstopper for menswear, women are the best ambassadors, as wardrobe distinctions merge to create a more unisex, androgynous appeal.

Fashion Design Council of India