Applique is rendered on boxy kimono shapes reminiscent of Japan, a recurring leitmotif in Pankaj and Nidhi’s collection. While Paras and Sonam Modi combine their signature stripes with Chikankari, channeling less is more!
By Asmita Aggarwal
Inflation, war and the pandemic are all contributory factors that have affected the world economy and fashion is not an isolated identity. The purchasing has seen a dip and rise depending on customer behaviour and mood, but the festivities always bring with it rays of optimism, and the style world looks forward to the season of optimism.
The FDCIxLFW fashion week will see the husband-wife duo Pankaj and Nidhi focusing on dedicating the craft they have worked with for more than ten years now —applique, in its original form. The alacrity of fashion now is the seasonality has finished, you see and buy now, the six-month gap between showcasing and then going into production and later reaching stores is abandoned by most designers. “This retains the interest of the buyers, crucial at this testing time,” says Pankaj.
FDCIxLFW Pankaj and Nidhi have continued their love affair with Japan, the kimono patterns are elevated, inspired by two books that have always given them interesting ideas— Grammar of Ornaments by Owen Jones and Patterns and Ornaments of India by Henry Wilson. The appliques this year are matte, in jersey unlike their couture rendition where metallic sheen is omnipresent. The details can be seen in the 3D hand done finish which has a raw edge different from the laser cuts cookie cutter composition. The stones too used have no clasps if you look closely, to offer a metal free look, combined with subdued shine. “This year we wanted a clean aesthetic, boxy kimono shapes, single notch lapels, overlapping, comfortable and above all lightweight,” says Pankaj.
The technique is key, with French net lining, overlayed with silk organza guaranteeing a soft touch and play with sheer, completing the ensembles with satin and engineered twills. “Structure and tight-ness have made way for silhouettes that feel as good as they look,” he says, adding, “Party dressing for us is not hues of black and blue, but burnt tangerines, emerald greens and heady purples.”
The combination of Japanese ethos with Indian techniques has been a mainstay of the collection, as somewhere there is a commonality in the approach to design. “We have done Japanese themes in the past, ‘Autumn of Samurai’ but each time there is an addition to take it a notch higher,” he concludes.
When Paras met Sonam in 2013, she was already running a womenswear line, and he was interested in menswear, so it only seemed befitting they launch a brand that catered to both. SVA or soul in Sanskrit was founded and it was backed by the knowledge of textiles that Paras gained from his father who ran a successful business, sourcing myriad fabrics from Varanasi and supplying them all over the country.
The Mumbai-based designers have witnessed a shift towards a “less is more” aesthetic as well as more online buying. Being in the business for the last nine years, Paras has consistently elevated his signature stripes giving it a new interpretation each season. Combined with prints and motifs, with a sprinkling of their travel experiences, SVA caters to a customer, who is going for a vacation and aspires to wear a statement piece.
This season, their trip to the Nadesar Palace, Varanasi brought about distinctive motifs capturing the peacocks and fountains that they were mesmerised with on their daily walks. Silk, crepe and georgettes were printed; Chikankari formed the fulcrum of a line that reverberated with ombre shades. Teal blues, pleasing pinks and minty greens removed the monotony of blacks and blues, offering lighter and easier silhouettes.