Seematti's Beena Kannan has launched a new haute couture label dedicated to silk
Designer Beena Kannan, who has been designing sarees for Kerala-based brand Seematti has just launched her own label exclusively for silk-based haute couture.
With this move, Kannan aims to change the notion that Kanjeevaram silk is only for sarees. Her new namesake brand, includes Indian, Indo-western and western outfits made either of silk or with a touch of it.
The designer held a fashion show in Kochi, Kerala, to launch her new label 'Beena Kannan'. Top models sashayed on the ramp, wearing the collection that comprises sarees, lehengas, crop and long jackets, kaftans, dresses, etc.
Kannan has used different weaving techniques from across the country to do the label's first lineup, based on three mood boards to cater to the tastes of Gen Z and millennials, among others.
Kannan has combined the Byzantine era with Indian Geometric art; the Art Deco period with Jamiwar and Ottoman art with Mughal styles. She has adopted famous paintings of Vincent van Gogh and S.H. Raza on to her sarees.
However, it is very difficult to create such art on weaves, she says. "Even machines cannot take the 40,000 hooks and 60,000 hooks that we handle."
Additionally, getting modern designs woven by artisans who otherwise work on traditional weaves and techniques is also not very easy, she says.
"The artisans were not ready to do innovative things, because it's a very time-consuming, money- consuming and hard process. It's very difficult for them to get into innovation, get into new designs because Kanjeevaram has certain limitations. It's considered very religious and very much attached to the Hindu wedding," she says.
"When I talked to them, they asked me who's going to buy it. If it's a simple saree, it can be made in five days, and my designs sometimes take three months to be make. But we pay them accordingly. Some of our sarees even cost more than our selling price. But we do it because it needs to be done. That's how we think, that's where we are positioning ourselves," asserts Kannan, who made it into the Guinness Book of Records and Limca Book of Records in 2007 for making the longest-ever silk saree.
Unlike Seematti, which is a 120-year-old retail brand, every bit of the outfits in the new label is are custom-made, she clarifies.
Label Beena Kannan will see garments made with various silk weaving techniques and technologies in India which will be inspired by her travel across the globe.
She says: "The entire silk industry was revolving around modular designs, say X+Y+Z or Y+X+Z. But we are reinventing the procedure of the weaving. Today, customers need light outfits, a particular zari etc. So we do a lot of experiments. I have done weaving in organza, linen and raw silk to make sarees. I have combined weaving in silk, printing in silk and embroidery in silk for occasion wear and accessories also."
Kannan, will launch the brand with a 17,500 sqft store in Kerala, and plans to expand it across the world in the next three years. This year, they plan to open five stores in Delhi, Mumbai, Hyderabad, Bengaluru, Chennai, plus two flagships stores. There are plans to hold trunk shows across cities, with curated designs that suit the taste of each place.
Edited from an IANS report.