Rema Kumar brings her latest collection, Textile Tales, to Ambara
In the two decades since she first set foot into the fashion industry, designer and textile revivalist Rema Kumar, has worked with so many weaves and crafts, it boggles the mind. The Delhi-based designer has collaborated with weavers from regions such as Balarampuram, Kancheepuram, Ponduru, Champa, Chanderi and beyond to create exquisite handwoven saris, dupattas, stoles, shawls and yardage. In addition, crafts such as Kalamkari, soof embroidery, chikan work and other surface embellishments have found place in her collections throughout her career. From participating in exhibitions in Tokyo to working in remote corners of India, such as Gunehar, Himachal Pradesh, where she converted an old tea shop into a store selling handcrafted village decorations, Rema’s commitment to Indian craft is noteworthy. This weekend, she brings her latest collection, Textile Tales, to Ambara. She tells us what to expect:
What can one expect from the collection?
This collection has weaves from Chattisgarh, Andhra, Maheshwar and Chanderi — centres where I have been working for more than a decade. For the first time, my collection features elegant weaves from Varanasi where I began my venture this year with light silk-cottons. These have a generous sprinkling of butis in sophisticated, soft shades.
What are the different surface detail techniques you’ve used?
Ajrakh, Batik, Kalamkari, Ari-work, Doriwork, Zardosi, Pipli appliqué coupled with handblocks and embroidery highlights have been the major focus in this collection. The appliqué work of Pipli (Odisha) takes on a contemporary twist in the new collection of Chanderi saris. While the handblocks brings to the fore a love for lines and geometry. The fish theme is dominant in the Pipli collection. And then you have embroidered butterflies, owls and parrots jostling for space in the vibrant pallas.
Tell us about your work with weavers.
A visit to the weaving centre fills me with an excitement akin to that of an artist in front of a blank canvas consumed by the prospect of something new when the creative energies take charge. A weaver’s home gives me a reality check on living simply, devoid of the materialistic urban life and is always a humbling experience. Their warmth and hospitality, single-minded focus on the work at hand, the multi-tasking women who take care of family and kitchen apart from pre-loom processes and weaving whenever they get some free time remind me of lessons in human resilience. Usually my travel to the weaving villages happens at least four times in a year. My last visit was to Mandapeta in Andhra Pradesh in June to work on new cotton series.
Rs.4,000 upwards. Until Saturday. At Ambara, Annaswamy Mudaliar Road