Designer Hemant Trevedi talks about his comeback collection and what it means to have his own label

The veteran designer has tied up with Purple Style Labs to launch his own label

Rashmi Rajagopal Published :  20th August 2021 05:21 PM   |   Published :   |  20th August 2021 05:21 PM

From Paradoxical Shadows

In the early 2000s, designer Hemant Trevedi decided to step away from the limelight after a near-fatal accident. Up until then, Hemant’s was a popular name, having dressed pageant winners like Lara Dutta and Priyanka Chopra Jonas, apart from a host of film stars. In the following years, he continued to mentor and train fashion students, mainly at the National Institute of Fashion Technology, which he helped set up. However, when it came to designing, he became more selective. He did make a few appearances, most notably at the Rajasthan Heritage Weeks from 2015 to 2017, using materials such as khadi, indigo block prints, and hand-woven muslin in collections inspired by Gandhi and the colours of Rajasthan, but these were few and far between.

Now, two decades since he first took that break, the couturier has tied up with Purple Style Labs to make a return to the fashion circuit with his latest collection, Paradoxical Shadows. The Mumbai-based fashion start-up which acquired luxury online store, Pernia’s Pop Up Shop, in 2019, identifies and promotes new talent in India, and Hemant, though not new, is the latest name to strike a deal with them. The new drop is based on one of his earlier collections, Divisional Paradox, created in the late 2000s and showcased at the CPD Fashion Fair in Europe. While the aesthetic is similar, this is a more contemporary take. Through the clothes, Hemant aims to challenge the notion that horizontal lines can’t be flattering. He tells us more about the collaboration and what to expect from the collection:

What are the biggest changes you see in the industry in terms of craft and design?
When I came into the circuit back in 1979, I was one of the first internationally trained designers in the country. At that point, the fashion industry in India was still getting up to speed in terms of design knowledge. There was progress but fashion wasn’t a popular word yet. Eventually, with globalisation, the difference we notice now is that an increasing number of people recognise the potential of fashion and that it is in fact serious business. With fashion institutes blooming all over the country today, people have begun to enjoy learning about fashion and have recognised the immense cultural impact it holds.

What does it feel like having your own label?
Throughout my time in this industry, I have invested my time, talent and name in other companies. It has always been Hemant Trevedi – for somebody. The launch of my epony- mous label with Purple Style Labs has given me the freedom to focus on designing and creating independently. Having someone wear a piece of clothing that is truly Hemant Trevedi is nothing less than a dream come true for me.

What is your new collection inspired by?
My new collection, Paradoxical Shadows, celebrates my rebirth and my new journey. In these troubled times, I decided to channel the negative energy into doing something out of the norm. I have looked beyond the basic mindset of using vertical lines and celebrated the beauty of the horizontal line.

Tell us a little more about the collection.
Banded rows of fabrics are carefully connected to each other in ombre-dyed silks and organza, thereby creating the shadowed effect of two colour-shades melding into each other. This newly created fabric is further highlighted with rows of tonal tube-beading. I’ve decided to introduce colour, simply because, I believe it’s exactly what we all need right now. The collection is presented in a range of five ombre hues: blush to a soft rose, peacock blue to aqua, burgundy to charred plum, dove to dusk grey, and finally, saffron to rust.

What made you want to work with the horizontal line?
The basic mindset of most designers is to create fashion vertically to give the illusion of a longer line and silhouette. I wanted to challenge this reasoning and went against the grain to represent the beauty of the horizontal line. From square necklines, and garment cutaways to beaded embellishments, each ensemble celebrates this.

How have you made the horizontal line flattering for those who are afraid to experiment?

We are born vertically, we grow vertically. A straight horizontal line is looked upon as the end of life – a flat line. So the idea behind this concept is that I have contradicted this truth, that the horizontal line can also be celebrated if used correctly. If the horizontal line is used with a tonal balance and shadowed colouring as I’ve done, it can defy valid reasoning and still create a logical conclusion of a beautiful new life.

Rs.3,400 upwards. Available online.