The Amethyst Room’s multi-designer showcase in Chennai

The exhibition features some of the leading designers like Payal Pratap, Soham Dave, Santanu Das of Maku, and The Summer House
Designer Payal Pratap
Designer Payal Pratap

A thoughtfully curated shopping experience entailing affordable luxury in the fashion realm is here, featuring some of the leading designers like Payal Pratap, Soham Dave, Santanu Das of Maku, Yam, and The Summer House. From a focused holiday luxe collection to languid styles in whisper weight jamdani, the exhibition with an impressive line-up of brands has something for everyone. If you are one of those always on the lookout for a fashionable getaway, or believe that comfort comes before style, or loves luxe prêt wear for an unconventional touch, the exhibition at The Amethyst Room should be your next stop.

Glocal with an Indian accent

Payal Pratap’s designs imbibe timeless style and serenity, bringing forth a glocal bohemian flavour with an Indian accent. She is exhibiting two of her collections — Java and Gardenia. “Java is a focused holiday luxe collection. It encompasses myriad motives from flora and fauna, through the use of leaf vine, tree, berry, and bird elements in the artwork, detailing from the age-old craft of batik and chintz printing, and sequins used with restraint to create a 3D texture, and give life to the flowers and motifs,” says the designer. Placement prints have been engineered to make structured pieces, tailored jackets, wrap jumpsuits, knotted skirts and dresses, layered looks and pieces with crossover bodice, made in satins, muslins, and silk blends.

Payal Pratap's collection is crisp and easy for the balmy summer
Payal Pratap's collection is crisp and easy for the balmy summer

With a dominance of subtle floral motifs with embroidery done on feather-weight handloom fabrics, Gardenia is crisp and easy for the balmy summer and leading into autumn. The colour palette for Gardenia is ivories and pastels in woven fabrics.

“A collection requires a lot of research and it’s a labour of love that takes over three-four months’ time to develop new shapes, textures and embroideries. What I do is definitely not fast fashion,” she asserts.

The designer has used a medley of materials — from breezy cottons to soft satins and silks, effervescent chanderis, modal and bemberg too. “Different pieces need different treatments; we experiment across the spectrum to provide our clients with a range to select from,” she says.

About some of her favourites from the collection, the designer says, “The coordinated sets and jacket pant structured pieces are my favourites from these collections. In Gardenia, the lightweight summer dresses would be my pick.”  While Java features mostly wines, blues and beige, Gardenia is more of a pastel story.

Her muse is the modern woman, who is independent, sensitive and appreciative of artisanal craft. “She is someone who is comfortable in her own skin, loves to experiment and is eco-sensitive. We believe what you wear is an embodiment of your personal universe, and your sartorial choices reflect who you are and your lifestyle. Each piece is slow-crafted with respect for nature and our artisans; creating a fusion line that is eminently wearable in India and beyond, and follows no fashion trend in particular. The brand believes in timeless elegance and rustic exuberance, is emphatically craft-based and encapsulates the rich cultural heritage of different regions of India’s vast landscape,” she adds.

Maps inspire to explore

Soham Dave’s spring-summer collection — Maps — represents the relationship between roads, blocks and directions among other elements. In cohesion, they depict the surface of a space. “Our Spring-Summer collection, Maps, is inspired by these independent elements put together in the form of textile prints,” says Soham.

Minimalistc designs from Soham Dave's spring-summer collection — <em>Maps</em>
Minimalistc designs from Soham Dave's spring-summer collection — Maps

    His love for minimalist designs, rooted in India’s rich textile heritage, reflects onto his sustainable clothing label. Their effortless contemporary collections are consciously made in biodegradable textiles, using handcrafting techniques.

Maps inspire to explore. In the spirit of continued exploration, we rediscovered and reinvented the Ajrakh craft. The collection is in-hand prints on cotton and cotton-silk fabrics in indigo, turmeric and alizarin to get blue, yellow, green and red colours respectively,” he says.

Minimal, artisanal, subtle and understated, the textiles are woven in hand-operated looms. “They are dyed and printed in Kutch by an artisan community that I have been working with for decades. The fabrics are made using natural resources with minimal impact on the environment,” says Soham. Picking a few must-haves from the collection that is made using cotton and a blend of cotton and silk fabrics, the designer says, “The Maps Kimona is a timeless piece. The Kaftan teamed up with a drawstring pant is a summer must have.”

Design statements in white

Maku by Santanu Das’ Our Midnight Sun — Whites collection represent the sanctity of one’s soul. The designer says the collection is a smorgasbord of lightweight dresses, jackets, trousers and scarves and it is perfect for summer.

Maku by Santanu Das’ <em>Our Midnight Sun — White</em> collection
Maku by Santanu Das’ Our Midnight Sun — White collection

“It took us about five months of constant hard work to come up with the full collection including the designing and sampling of our handwoven fabrics. The natural whites of cotton and silk are featured in subtle tone-on-tone and contrasting jamdani brocades. The yarns are hand woven into light silk-cottons, wispy silks, cotton-linens and soft fine cottons,” he lets us in on the design details.

The emphasis is on texture with the use of applique and labour-intensive machine embroidery to create cord stripes with various shades of indigo.

About the must-haves in the collection, the designer says, “One of the must-haves is the Sophie_489 dress. It is a free-size dress, gathered around the neck, with embroidered panels on the sides in a lightweight silk cotton with contrast indigo jamdani brocade.” 

At Maku, the textile takes the front seat, and the design statements evolve from the pulse of the yardage. The brand offers select exclusively designed garments from the fibre to the rack using only handspun and handwoven textile in indigo.

The label believes in the slow fashion of handloom and uses only organically produced textiles manufactured using indigenous practices — handspun and handwoven — intrinsically bringing into focus India’s textile history of khadi as an emblem of human skill and sensitivity towards material resources. In the individualistic spirit of the textile type, it advocates handloom, and deliberately incorporates perceived imperfection in its design detail through the use of reverse buttons, print etc.

“Maku only handholds them giving shape to wearable art forms, which appeal to global consumers, thus supporting expansion with limited diversification (limiting choice); in the process saluting age-old practices and acknowledging weavers as artisans, not mere factory hands,”  adds Santanu.

Exploring the lightness of being

The Summer House, which is all about sustainability and mindful fashion, is exhibiting two collections — Lightness of Being and Chettinad.

Ensemble by The Summer House
Ensemble by The Summer House

 The founders, Rekha and Shivangini, are people who appreciate craftsmanship, and slow living. Their personal aesthetic is very Western; it’s not Indo fusion or bohemian. It was founded as a brand that bridges the gap between sustainable craftsmanship and everyday luxury. 

Their collection, Lightness of Being features languid styles in whisper weight jamdani and handwoven fabrics. It presents wardrobe staples in organic cotton and tomboyish shirts featuring grandma embroidery.

The Chettinad is an Ikat collection inspired by Athangudi tiles from the homes of Chettinad. The collection features stately, timeless, and breathtakingly beautiful fabrics and designs.

Rs 3,200 onwards. On till July 5.
10.30 am to 7.30 pm.
At The Amethyst Room, RA Puram.

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