Payal Pratap’s S/S 2014 collection requires little explanation as the images and details speak for themselves. It was a show that all on Day#3 of WLIFW were eagerly awaiting, as over the past few seasons she has successfully built a strong following for the way she combines Indian textiles, colors, prints and embellishments. Her designs borrow from familiar Indian silhouettes, garments and styles of layering, and she understands well India’s love of mix and match as well as the need for modesty and morality in dress.

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In this collection in particular the play on primary colors (red, blue and a various versions of yellow) was fun to see and also admirable as it is not always easy to execute in a sophisticated manner. The garments were simple, and the designer’s input lay in the way they had been combined (styled, mixed and matched), the fabric choices and the details.

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While it was categorized as Spring Summer, it was perhaps more suited to spring evenings or an air-conditioned summer – if worn in the way they appeared on ramp. Taken apart, however, it is easy to see how one could dress certain items up or down, to create multiple as well as more casual looks – and indeed wear them all year round. To affirm this observation, Vogue India’s review of Payal Pratap’s S/S 2014 collection not only congratulates her on designing for the working [modern Indian] woman but also for catering to another long established Indian expectation of – paisa vasool (getting one’s money worth, bang for your buck).

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See the gallery below for more images of the collection.

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(All images are taken by me.)

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Finding ways of minimizing fashion’s waste is a growing concern for some within the fashion fraternity. Solutions range from reducing waste at the design and production stage (see Zero Waste patternmaking by Holly McQuillan and Timo Rissanen), through developing simpler and smarter packaging, promotion and retail strategies, and finally dealing with post-consumer waste – i.e. the clothes we no longer need or want as a result of fashion’s never ending cycle and mechanisms of planned obsolesence.

Aneeth Arora’s designs for her label Péro (which I will highlight in a forthcoming post on her S/S 2014 line) already have the hallmarks of “sustainable design” – her garments transcend short term fashion fads thus remaining classics in one’s wardrobe, the “love” that goes into each piece means that its possible to become emotionally attached to them, and the fabrics and crafts are ethically sourced and used. In addition, she has also come up with a simple and cute way of dealing with day-to-day fabric waste from her collections. Each doll pictured here (from her stall at this October’s Wills Lifestyle India Fashion Week, WLIFW), represents one of her past collections – the leftover scraps of which make up their tiny garments. Aneeth initially used them for an installation alongside her chota (small) Péro line for kids. The dolls are labelled with the season and year that the fabrics relate to – thus making them desirable collectors items for any avid Péro follower.

 

Dev R Nil’s S/S 2014 collection showcase at Wills Lifestyle India Fashion Week this October was refreshing – not only for the simpler cuts that this design duo from Kolkata had to offer but also due to the way they complimented their aesthetic and general sense of minimalism by opting for a straight forward catwalk format (where models did not stop and pose, but walked on and off). This was a cause of some stress in the media photo pit as photographers and bloggers grumbled audibly about missing crucial photo opportunities. Not being a professional photographer myself + sitting at the corner end of the catwalk –  I mostly caught models as they turned away from me. While not all Dev R Nil’s Spring Summer proportions were to my liking, they had some great print-on-print combinations, Art Deco inspired tile and frame prints (see the pink print outfit for men), doily lace, circular floral motif prints and Ari work, and the most beautiful handloom silk Ikat stripe. Many items in the collection looked comfortable and easy to relate to – a plus point that has earned them positive reviews.

Here is a selection of some of the side views of Dev R Nil’s S/S 2014 collection:

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Sadly, not all my photographs were side views…

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(All images are by me)


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Not having seen a Pankaj & Nidhi collection on the ramp before I was eagerly looking forward to seeing their new S/S 2014 line at WLIFW (10th October 2013). Together this design duo is part of the new wave of Indian designers who have in the past five+ years really changed the face of Indian fashion once again – bringing new ideas, styles and silhouettes, new techniques for applying centuries of tradition and handcraft and contributing towards bringing Indian design to a more global platform. The collection titled “Grammar of Ornament” was in keeping with their signature style – which includes a high level of craftsmanship, close attention to detail, bold use of color and pattern and strong silhouettes. The collection combined a sporty look (a common trend across a number of other collections) with some incredibly detailed handwork – that demanded closer attention – as on the catwalk I was not fully able to gauge what treatments and techniques they had used.

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What appeared to be laser cut work or print from a distance – on closer inspection was actually delicately hand cut and perfectly hand embroidered pieces that in my opinion show the incredible limits to which Indian craftsmanship (with the injection of contemporary design) can be stretched.

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The colors ranged from crisp whites and creams to primrose yellows and navy with hot coral. In comparison to some other collections on show Pankaj and Nidhi’s silhouettes were more globally oriented. And while they do design Indian styled garments, overall this collection did not appear to be culturally or aesthetically rooted [read limited] to one particular place (i.e. not recognizably Indian). This I know is important to them – as they aspire towards greater global recognition for themselves and Indian design – which their accomplishments over the past year+ clearly show.

Here is a selection of images from the ramp, as well as some others that I was able to take in their stall at WLIFW. See more in the gallery at the end of the page. From a design perspective I liked the cohesiveness of the collection, something I stress upon in my own studio classes. But within the cohesion there was a lot of variety to choose from. My personal favorites are the images of the pieces up-close, especially those of the tiny fabric squares that have been cut and sewn on like sequins, and the jacket where they combine Ari work with (hand) cutwork and appliqué. (Thank you Pankaj and Nidhi for allowing me to snoop around your collection!).

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While speaking to Nidhi about these obviously time intensive and meticulous garments I asked her to consider sharing images or videos of the pieces in process – so that it is possible to better understand the kinds of techniques they have developed for their designs, as well as learn the stories behind each piece. I was glad to see that they have since uploaded some images on their facebook page sharing the same! Way to go!

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Images by myself (Arti Sandhu)

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I was fortunate to be able to attend three days of WLIFW S/S 2014 (Wills Lifestyle India Fashion Week) in Delhi this October (10th – 12th) – and even luckier to be able to photograph some of the collections from the media photography section (aka photographers’ pit) at the end of the catwalk. WOW! This was a once in a lifetime experience which a whole lot of fun and a great learning experience as well.

A big “thank you” to FDCI for this great opportunity!

Before heading off to the big smoke – to attend WLIFW (Wills Lifestyle India Fashion Week, SS 2014), in New Delhi – I got a taste of some of the fashions favored in a town named Solan in Himachal Pradesh.

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Solan has always been abuzz with suit (salwar kameez) sellers and tailors as salwar kameez is the preferred garment worn by most women here. Alongside this, there is a thriving market for woolen garments and tailored suits. More recently, due to the 5:30pm shut down of the main town center to all motorized traffic that allows for pedestrians to enjoy the evening hours shopping and walking freely without the hassle of cars and buses, the display of street style has intensified – especially amongst young college going men and women (of which there are many, as there are so many colleges in the area). I will post more from that later. Here are some snapshots before I get to Delhi…

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Writing about Couture in India made me think about these photographs I took at Delhi Couture Fashion Week, at JJ Valaya’s show (July 2010).

His pieces twinkled past me and my camera. The next month I was fortunate enough to meet with the designer himself, at his soon to open store outside of Delhi. We talked about the relationship between luxury and couture in India, his experiences as a couturier and his attempt to copyright his traditional motifs and patterns… the details of which I highlight in my book’s chapter on Indian Design.

My love for museum storage and shoes comes together in this pic

 

Jeans and pants await their alteration at a street side tailoring stall in South Delhi. (Summer 2010)