Ekaya Banaras’ new collection is an ode to nomadic culture
The line which champions handwoven mashru took over a year to make
It took designer, Palak Shah, of Ekaya Banaras, over a year to create her latest collection — The Crossing - Natives of Nowhere. And the time and effort put into it is evident in the vibrant lehengas with multiple panels, the brocade saris in sombre colours such as grey and the luxe dupattas with intricate detailing. “All our collections are reflections of what we’re feeling and thinking at that moment in time. It’s the same with The Crossing. It’s insp-ired by nomadic culture and I feel that the kind of life we lead these days is nomadic in its own way, because we’re so busy all the time and constantly on the move,” shares Palak, who started the label in 2012.
The line features 40 to 45 pieces of clothing with motifs and other aesthetics borrowed from ancient Indian and Persian civilisations. The nomadic idea is explored through the use of mashru which was handwoven in Benaras. “Mashru is traditionally woven in Gujarat, but we had our artisans in Benaras create the fabric for us,” explains the Delhi-based designer.
Details such as Persian calligraphy, flora and fauna are brought to life through intricate Benarasi kadwa and fekua techniques. Another highlight is the use of nature-inspired patterns from Mughal miniatures, specifically gul-andar-gul (flower inside flower) and gul-hazara (thousand-petalled flower). The palette veers from emerald green, deep pink and dark purple to indigo, mustard and rust. “We haven’t played around too much with silhouettes. So they are very traditional. But we have done a lot of placement weaves (design woven onto the garment depending on where it falls on the body),” she explains, adding that her favourite piece from the line is the chevron lehenga, which is available in a number of colourways, such as deep purple and gold, and black and gold.
Some of the other striking outfits include the charcoal grey sari with intricate botanical motifs in silver, and an olive green lehenga with golden and pink surface work. “There’s a lot of work that has gone into this collection, so I will say that all the garments are special,” shares Palak, who is also currently busy with her first store in Mumbai which was launched on November 21.
Rs.35,000 upwards. Available online