His previous collection, at last year’s finale of the city’s fashion week, had Kareena Kapoor walking down the ramp in a mating snails-printed outfit. These days, the kohl-eyed, longhaired 29-year-old designer, is doing things differently.
He showcased his collection in the city through an exhibition at Project 88 gallery. Unlike international fashion weeks that utilise different venues in a city, Mumbai still sticks to its tabular one-venue-format. Hence, Datta’s detour was a refreshing take. Interestingly, an indigo kaftan from Senegal that belonged to his grandfather inspired the silhouettes of his collection.
“I tried this before in Delhi in 2011 and Kolkata in 2012, and it was well-received. So, I decided to exhibit in Mumbai too, especially as a social commentary on the goings-on in the fashion industry at the moment,” says Datta.
What Datta is referring to is the fixation with quirky prints. Though he popularised it, since his first collection he feels that the idea has become saturated now. “Young designers feel that a quirky print is necessary to grab eyeballs. But that’s not how this works.
The print has to be a composite of a bigger theme and not the whole deal. You can’t print a daaru ka bottle on a dress and call it fashion,” he laments. And to hammer his point, Datta has his outfits with ‘Quirky Print’ written over them, “It’s the shortest manifesto,” he asserts. The exhibition also saw a framed print with ‘Quirky Print!’ written on it, garlanded with black flowers.
Datta continued his subtle satire through images exhibited at the exhibition, which had his comments and doodles scribbled on them. Also, one section had images badly mounted and lit (on purpose) to further his point of bad implementation of a theme.
Is this an end to his runway appearances we ask, “You can’t beat the thrill of models on the ramp, the exposure, the music. I would want to showcase at fashion weeks too. But not regularly,” he signs off.