Kolkata-based designer Ambika Lal attempts to re-shape luxury pret with her new line
With a shift in the post-pandemic fashion landscape, pret's ready-to-go memo seems to have evolved in favour of wearability. Globally, the trend has seen houses like Moschino and Louis Vuitton prioritising versatility over anything else. In light of this phenomenon, Kolkata-based luxury prêt wear designer Ambika Lal believes that now is the perfect time for designers to rethink the viability of their creations — since buyers are willing to splurge, albeit intelligently.
“I don’t know how exactly but things have gotten better since the pandemic-induced slowdown; if people like something now, they are ready to spend. It’s been all the more evident to me with my new line because I make it a point to interact with all my clients over specificities, since I also offer customisations and I should say their buying patterns have gotten decidedly broader,” Ambika shares. With her luxury festive line the designer is also outlining the possibilities for the otherwise unforgiving bodycon cut, by moving towards a Gen-Z-approved comfort-first memo which is leading the big transition in styling.
You may have seen Anjini Dhawan sporting Ambika’s striking draped bodycon metallic dress at her brother Varun Dhawan’s wedding cocktail night. The number’s body-loving silhouette and the deconstructed flair essentially switched up some key elements in urban ‘dressy’ code to make the number more adaptable. Ambika’s new festive line also makes use of some high-powered couture staples like ruffles, high slits, feathery bustiers and moves away from the heavy embroideries or sequin overkill that can drown out a well-styled number. The edit also offers some really effortless deep V-neck and ruched midi dresses that balances several fashion memos.
The newest (virtual) runway season saw labels like Rick Owens and Max Mara fine-tune their wearable luxury niche by maximising comfort and universality in a single number. Ambika has mainly focused on interesting blends like organza or crepe blends, woven fabrics which support metallic accents or nuanced beadwork. For instance, Mithila Palkar wore an off-shoulder beaded ‘work’ gown by Ambika, in lavender satin blend and stretch, featuring sophisticated and intricate kaat daan work
“I feel in India, in the luxury spectrum you see a lot of karigari and beadwork, so what happens is it becomes a bit generalised. You start seeing it everywhere, even on really stunning pieces. What we’re doing is, we’re working with great fabrics and we are just draping it and giving them great cuts. The metallics and these drapes, they are not very heavy, they are great to move around in, and comfortable. Specifically, they are great for smaller bachelorettes or intimate cocktail soirees, which are the sort of things that are happening now. So, our millennial buyers are moving towards this vibe,” remarks Ambika.