Priyadarshini Rao’s ajrakh and Benarasi winter lines are dictated by delicate textiles
Trust designer Priyadarshni Rao to find a way to reinvent her love for traditional Indian crafts. In her latest Winter/Festive lines, the SNDT graduate purely focuses on the textile crafts of block printing and weaving, leaving usual muses like travel and nature out of the mix. “These collections are dedicated to my craftsmen and artisans. While we do have our fair share of collections that are inspired by particular themes, this time around I wanted to work on something that spotlighted the craft,” she says. As part of her festive edit, the designer recently launched dual collections — a complete ajrakh line and the Benaras Edit.
Created exclusively on Chanderi tissue, as opposed to a thicker textile like cotton, the ajrakh line is unique in its use of fabric. “It is a very special line because of the handwork that is involved in the creation,” explains the New Delhi-based designer, who set up her eponymous brand in 1996. “Ajrakh is usually carried out on heavier fabrics because of the nature of the block printing, which uses corrosive metals like iron for the dyes. This collection was hand-printed by our master craftsmen and took over six months to complete,” Priyadarshini adds, talking about the line that is dominated by ethnic-leaning silhouettes and long dresses.
The Benaresi line, on the other hand, transposes traditional booti motifs on to a lightweight muga silk. Contemporarising the weave through the silhouettes, look out for tunics, short dresses and wrap dresses in an eclectic colour palette of deep violet, sulphur, pearl grey, marigold and yellow.
Rs 11,000 onwards. At Collage.