Pero’s SS20 collection Millefiori celebrates the Italian beadmaking technique
No. 13, on Delhi’s Barakhamba Road is a quaint old yellow bungalow, complete with shuttered windows and stained glass arches. It was here that designer Aneeth Arora held her exhibition, Time To Love, to mark the 10th anniversary of her brand Pero, earlier this year. The showcase was a celebration of everything that goes into the making of the label’s garments, from the colourful buttons to the gorgeous textiles. “Usually, we showcase our brand on the ramp for 15 minutes. This was my way to highlight the bits and pieces that we have collected along the way to make Pero what it is today,” explains Aneeth. Around the same time, barely a few weeks before India went into lockdown, she also launched her Spring/ Summer collection, Millefiori. “Things have changed so much over the last 10 years for us. When we started, each collection used to be centred around one technique. Now, there are about five different techniques in each garment,” says the designer, citing this, her latest collection as an example.
Clay the part
Millefiori or ‘thousand flowers’, which the collection is named after, is an Italian mosaic glass art form that is characterised by floral patterns. Though typically used to make beads, paperweights and other knick-knacks from glass, it has also been used with numerous other materials, one of them being polymer clay. When she came across some of these adorable polymer clay buttons, she decided to build the collection around it. She even created buttons for the collection through millefiori. They were done completely by hand, and Aneeth reveals that no two buttons are alike. “These buttons are the highlight of the season,” she says.
The buttons are supplemented with surface ornamentation techniques such as ribbon work, beadwork, applique, stumpwork and mixed media incorporating laser-cut organza petals to create a 3D effect. Of these, ribbon and stumpwork are a first for Pero. “They are both labour intensive, and we’ve refined the techniques as much as possible. The challenge was to make everything come together seamlessly, so that they didn’t look like patchwork, but all part of a single garment,” reveals Aneeth, adding that the technique used for each flower was decided based on the character of the flower. For instance, gerberas which mostly appear in bunches, were created through stumpwork, for mandarin and margarita flowers, which have a single layer of petals, she used ribbon work, while multiple-layered flowers such as roses and sunflowers were fashioned out of organza.
Painting a picture
The dreamy watercolour prints that are another highlight of this line are created by Paris-based artist Nathalie Lété, who has earlier collaborated with Gucci, H&M and Athropologie among others. “Her charming, child-like art resonated with me so I approached her and she agreed. We turned the paintings she sent over to prints and did some embroidery over it, keeping it true to the colour and style of the originals,” shares the designer, adding, “For our earlier collections, such as our underwater-themed line, the prints and motifs were inspired by what was already in existence. This time, we have constructed the ‘Millefiore’ universe ourselves.”
While Aneeth has worked with her signature fabrics — cotton gingham checks, linen stripes and gauze-like solid fabrics with contrast selvedge — other textiles that are employed are gabardine and taffeta silks from Puttapaka and Koyyalagudem, jamdani from West Bengal and mashru from Gujarat. The silhouettes range from relaxed ruffled dresses and cropped jackets to roomy blouses.
The lockdown may have put a spanner in the works of most people, but Aneeth is already thinking ahead. “This lockdown has forced us to take things slow, but it has made me think about a lot of things. Our Autumn/Winter collection Disco, will hit stores in September. And we’ve already started our research for the season after that,” she says, signing off.
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