July 23, 2016 Asmita Aggarwal

Artisanal Ephemera

Uzbeki Suzanis form a backdrop for Harpreet and Rimple Narula’s ICW 2016 line where Islamic art becomes a leitmotif for creative expression as Gulzar saheb’s voice reverberates soothingly in the background.

By Asmita Aggarwal

Showing at the ICW 2016 for the third time, Harpreet Narula has once again dipped into his reservoir of textiles, which he and his wife Rimple collect from all over the world, whether it is Baluchistan, Afghanistan, Uzbekistan or the flea markets of France and Germany. Thus you see the vibrant Uzbek tents used as an inspiration and where French knots meet Samarkand rugs’ embroidery on bodysuits teamed up with shirts or capes with lehenga-style flowing skirts.


But what stole the limelight were undoubtedly the mashroo silk pants, which were lined with buttery smooth cotton to take you on a nostalgic trip. “There is a riot of motifs that we have amalgamated to make it blend in, they are both architectural as well as Manchester prints, so it is really a very wide palette. If you see for example, Afghanistan, the motif changes every 150 miles as you travel in the interiors. But the underlying theme remains free-spirited and frankly bohemian,” he adds.


As cultural influences change the artworks on the canvas of Harpreet’s ICW line, he has worked to pick up motifs which have not been archived in fashion history. Though, he is endearing enough to confide that bridal wear is now functional, more than dreamy. “Brides have a story to tell, so the days when you could sell them a lehenga overflowing with embroidery are far gone. Now it is more individualistic and every piece we design has a unique idea supporting its edifice,” he adds.


Since the entire line is travel-based, Harpreet shows a transition of colours from day to night. It starts from ivory and beiges and accelerates to marsala and midnight blue. “It is not just about the craftsmanship, but also about the expression, how you encapsulate the colours and textures in your moodboard,” he smiles.

In the last few years where designers have played with the biology of the cholis, creating a stir with innovative backs, lengths and corsetry, this time, Harpreet has gone back to the original, structured choli. “When you are putting out a line, you are giving your 100 per cent and once it is showcased you are left with a hollow feeling, creatively speaking as you have put in all your ideas in one line. The question you ask yourself is, ‘What will be the future like,?” he smiles.


Professionally for any designer and Harpreet admits that too, you have to give the right price points, which are affordable, as he says, “I strongly believe that fashion is no longer for the elite, it is for everybody that’s why ‘Hiraeth’ the name of our ICW 2016 line is artisan based, we celebrate things that are made by hand, which involves a laborious process. Even though I know that a lot of people resort of machine embroideries and screen printing to reduce costs. But a discerning few will always cherish what is truly the real meaning and interpretation of couture,” he concludes.


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