Designs hinged on sustainability to that prompted by cultural exchange, here’s what to look forward to from LFW’s Gen Next
Lakmé Fashion Week’s 27th batch of Gen Next designers talk to us about their runway debut and how their journey has shaped their collections
For better or for worse, memories often dictate and condition the narrative of an individual’s life. And in the ever-evolving world of fashion where ideas are diverse and similarities are shunned, few, if any, occasions bring the industry together like the shared commonality of collections inspired by memory. Offering unique perspectives on their journey as creators spurred by nostalgia, the 27th batch of LFW’s Gen Next designers will showcase ideas as diverse as sustainable production techniques to designs prompted by cultural exchange. Ahead of their Summer/Resort ’19 debut, we talk to these four designers about their aesthetics and design sensibilities.
Learning the Garasia Jat embroidery in 2005 may perhaps be the most influential design directive for Madhumita Nath. “The embroidery, per se, did not impact my design, but it was the experience and learning which made it evident that Kutch would guide me in this journey as a creator,” shares the Mumbai-based designer who primarily uses kalah cotton—a fabric she got hooked onto following her visits to Gujarat. Bohemian in spirit, her collection titled Bliss, makes use of herringbone weaves with batik prints. “Easy silhouettes with ruffles and layering is what the collection is about. We have also used pleating and pieced together the prints, weaves and stitch lines in order to enhance the surface.” Sporting a neutral natural-dyed palette of beige and yellow, the NID, Ahmedabad, graduate’s label Ek Katha’s philosophy aligns with sustainable ‘traditional’ practices including using design waste to create jewellery, potli buttons and more.
Elaborate background stories and Italian glamour has always been the name of the game for New Delhi-based Amrapali Singh and her label Birdwalk. Biased in favour of feminine and A-line silhouettes that capture the essence of yesteryear cinema stars (think Audrey Hepburn and Marlyn Monroe), the 36-year-old’s S/R collection, Queen of Hearts draws from the iconography of a deck of cards. “Its limited colour palette, sharp lines and simple motifs are brought to life in the collection through red, white and black monoprints and embroideries,” she says. Employing patchwork as the collection’s primary surface embellishment, the designer says that the technique requires precise crafting and hence allows the patches to form fitted skirts and dresses. Working with fabrics like Giza cotton, net, cotton-silk, silk organza and silk chiffon, Queen of Hearts is a unique play on textures.
Taking cues from the culture of her native state of Rajasthan, Ujjwala Bhadu’s use of bright hues like sunny yellow, peach red, Sun City blue and pastels is an allusion to what she considers her happy place—her home. “Having lived away from Jodhpur for most of my life, it is my happy place, where everything is vibrant and colourful,” explains the 23-year-old Parson’s New York graduate, adding that she was also inspired by textile artist Anni Albers’ weaving and colour theory at the Bauhaus. A meeting point for modern contours and functionality, the collection’s fitted tops, pants and dresses employ details like pockets and layering alongside prints and applique work on cotton and silk, thereby creating an easy to wear line that doesn’t take away from the beauty of form.
Sunaina Khera is making a strong case for designing as a means for cathartic release. Titled A Long Way From Home, the 25-year-old’s collection that is loosely based on a story of personal loss includes a range of crop tops, jackets and pencil skirts—the couturier’s take on the traditional Indian silhouette of a lehenga—along with bodysuits and gowns. “My collection has a colour palette that ranges from black and navy to dull greys and pinks to peaceful ivory. It denotes a transition through different stages of grief,” shares the New-Delhi designer whose eponymous label finds patronage with the likes of Sonam Kapoor, Malaika Arora and Radhika Apte. Favouring silk organza, tulle and silk crepes, the line is an expression of a myriad of emotions that find an impassioned outlet in the form of extensive hand embroidery. “Whenever something so intense (good or bad) happens, I feel the need to put it in my clothes. My process has never been transparent. It has more to do with what I am feeling inside, than what I see outside.”