Chennai-based designer Ratika Kaul launches a new line of hand-embroidered saris and a collection of sculptural art
Designer Ratika Kaul's jewellery brand has always showcased an exquisite sense of symmetry and an innate leaning towards gorgeous themes from nature. Now, her foray into designing a capsule collection of saris alongside a series of delicate, sculptural artwork at her recent showcase of All Things Floral seems to be celebrating new beginnings juxtaposed with the nostalgia of her travels. Staying true to her passions, we found profuse blossoms of assorted roses and peonies in her sculptural artwork, tying it seamlessly to the drapes that were embellished with the delicate handwork of floral designs. With a few poppies and hydrangeas thrown into the mix, the designer’s love for roses indeed comes through in her artwork. Some whites are gilded with gold, while many hues are muted with white; the simplicity of the process comprising plaster, oil paints and a palette knife is belied by the ethereal vibe of the final art.
“I think my love for nature comes from being an Army brat and being Kashmiri! I have lived in exotic locations throughout my childhood and have always been drawn to the quietness and beauty of the great outdoors,” says Ratika, as she tries on one of the bumble bee shaped earrings that come with endearing pearl drops. We notice an embellishment of another bombini on a shirt, among her modest collection of tunics.
A visit to Ratika's gallery near Cenotaph Road finds us basking in the mulled glow of at least fifty shades of white along with delicate pastels and sheer, languorous chiffons, georgettes and tussars at one end. While the stark white walls seem to have blossomed organically with frames of three-dimentional floral art on the other end. “I like the dreamy, misty pastel shades — I think this is an influence of my travels to Europe. The way the light softens everything there with a glowing paleness — that truly appeals to me. Also, being in Chennai, I feel the need for airy and light designs to counter the heavy, robust environment — so you will find that I surround myself with shades of white!” concurs the artist, who further adds that her perception has also been significantly influenced by her celebrated photographer husband, Sharad Haksar. “He would point out the play of light and how it changes everything.”
With folds of sheers adorned with delicate embroidery, we find a whimsical play of pearls and crystals between blooms of bold roses on pallus and hems. We are quickly carried away with a girly ruffled vision in pale peach, even as a light ivory drape with intricate Parsi embroidery and a contemporary pinkstriped option distracts us for a bit. While we concede that Ratika had always represented art and fashion through her exquisite jewellery line, yet, we are compelled to ask if this is a pandemic-inspired creative venting. “Not at all! The collection of saris and art has been in the making for the past two years. The pandemic might have just given me the time to complete it,’ quips Ratika, who further adds that she plans to dabble with ceramic art and glazed pottery next and is rather excited about the creative potential it offers.
Saris are priced from INR 9,000 onward, art ranges from INR 7,500.