Fashion special: Lakme Gen Next designer Chandrima Agnihotri debuts with a stunning glocal edit
Intricate hand-embroidered cross-stitch from the remote villages dotting the Kutch area get immaculately melded with Western silhouettes and hand-cut lacework patterns in debutante designer Chandrima Agnihotri’s new collection.
The 28-year-old couturier, who will be launching her eponymous label with her debut as a part of the ‘Gen Next’ showcase at the Lakmé Fashion Week Summer/ Resort 2020 show in Mumbai, has always been drawn to indigenous embroidery work nurtured by weavers for years, while drawing inspiration from nomadic tribes of the Kutch region, especially the residents of Bhujodi village, who are famous for their intricate and distinctive style of threadwork.
A graduate in fashion from NIFT Mumbai, this aspiring designer, who hails from Ghaziabad near Delhi, staunchly believes in sustainable fashion and has used Kala cotton and a coarser version of pattern handloom cotton from the rural households of Bhujodi. “My debut collection is inspired by the embroidery work prevalent among the Jat community of Kutch. I have picked up their motifs and crossstitch, and used them to come up with an altogether new and distinctive collection that is international in terms of silhouette and style,” says the designer.
Having interned with fashion stalwarts Abu Jani and Sandeep Khosla and Rohit Bal, Chandrima’s oeuvre has shaped out very well, transforming simple attire into designs that are glamourous and very wearable at the same time. “Both Abu Jani-Sandeep Khosla and Rohit Bal have helped me develop a fair idea about embroidery work, which has always been my favourite form of work,” she recalls.
“I have a balanced mix of jumpsuits, skirts, jackets and trenchcoats for summer in breathable organic cotton, as the fall of the fabric goes very well with Western cuts. I have stuck to neutral colour palettes like black, ivory, mustard and red that are vibrant and very versatile, and can be paired with other neutral colours as well,” informs Chandrima.
To retain a global look and feel while incorporating the essentially Indian hand-embroidered motifs is a tricky affair, to say the least. But Chandrima appears to have done that with aplomb, in her very first edit. “I have carefully blended European lacework with Indian cross-stitch techniques to lend it an international look,” explains Chandrima, whose collection is very impressive, with each piece being individualistic in its approach. “Though I have done full ensembles, all my pieces are versatile. For example, you can wear one of my skirts with a plain shirt or a top and still, it will work well,” she adds.
Apart from regular Western outfits, there are some stunning dress kurtas that one can wear in a Westernised or Indian way. But unlike the latest trend of playing around with a lot of asymmetries in terms of cuts, Chandrima prefers to stick to the regular structure and flow of the garments, as she doesn’t want to take away the attention from the embroidery work, which is the main focus of her clothes.
Chandrima’s collection will be available at her studio/workshop in Noida, post her show at LFW, which is set to be held from February 12 to 16. She also plans to retail online and through multi-designer stores across India.