All eyes on the fashion runway

Jul 20, 2012, 10:23 IST | Ruchika Kher

As Anita Dongre and Archana Kochhar ready to present their collections for the upcoming Mumbai Fashion Week, Ruchika Kher gets exclusive backroom access to their designs

 Anita Dongre: Soaked in Indian tradition

Tell us a bit about the collection?
This Fall/Winter collection will have a blend of traditional Indian textiles styled in a contemporary way, for the urban, well-travelled and sophisticated Indian woman. The materials used range from hand woven textiles from Benares, Ikkat from Andhra Pradesh, vegetable block prints from Bhuj on Mashru silk and raw silk combined with silhouettes including cigarette pants, jackets, dresses and blouses. This collection focuses on the global woman with an Indian heart. Emphasis is given to fashion, wear-ability and the use of Indian traditional fabrics.

What was your inspiration for this collection?
The inspiration for this collection is the idea of a modern-day princess. The collection has a royal look, which gives it the ideal blend of sophistication and tradition. Yet, the contemporary silhouettes give it a modern twist thus, fit for a modern Indian princess.

Anita Dongre’s Lakme Fashion Week collection 

Your final show will be on the Indian Weaves Day at Fashion Week. Will your collection be inspired by Indian weaves and crafts? In this age, how relevant is it to encourage Indian designs?
Yes. Although my designs are a fusion of contemporary and traditional wears, the focus of my collection is the use of the complex Indian fabrics. This is because I am passionate about Indian craftsmanship as not only are we preserving a historical Indian art form but also, the amount of skill and creativity involved is astounding. In today’s age of rapid industrialisation, it is becoming extremely important for Indian designers to encourage handcrafting techniques to keep them alive and this is only possible if we are able to sustain them by ensuring they are a part of our lifestyle.

Although the shift is towards Westernisation, will a collection with Indian-ness appeal to audiences?
All of us are a part of a global fashion fraternity. This fraternity appreciates and understands Indian traditional craftsmanship, and understands the skill and labour, which goes into it. So I believe that this collection will appeal to Indians and other fashion conscious people across the globe.

Archana Kochhar: Digital Invasion
What was your inspiration for this collection?

Geometric dimensions surround us in our daily lifestyle in every possible way. These geometric patterns — be it circles, squares, rectangles, triangles etc have been the inspiration for this digitally printed collection. This retro inspired print has brought back the 1970’s and 80’s into this season’s trend and into the forefront of fashion. Geometric prints cleverly camouflage the shape of every body type and compliment it with the division of blocks and all the geometric patterns in it.

Archana Kochhar’s Lakme Fashion Week collection titled Retro-Metric

Could you elaborate on the cuts, silhouettes, fabric and other aspects to this collection?
My Winter/Festive 2012 collection is on the lines of Indian contemporary silhouettes ranging from bold geometric printed cocktail saris which exude the essence of retro sensation, bright short tunics which are playful and skillfully crafted, dresses which sway delightfully and gowns with fluid drapes. This collection plays with geometric shapes and colour blocking of bright colours of electric blue, bright yellow and shades of green offset against the hues of black, white and grey. Texturing of different methods is used to highlight each ensemble to bring out the exquisiteness in them. Embellishments in the form of Indian alphabets are used to highlight the garments. The whole idea is to popularise the essence of the Indian alphabet globally, which is a unique signature statement.

Why do you think it will appeal to people? Wearability factor?
Normally, it is perceived that ramp wear cannot be actually worn in real life. Through this collection, I hope to break that barrier and actually create a line that infuses modernity, wear-ability and practicality. The collection is very wearable and it will have a mass appeal because sarees, tunics and dresses are not only wearable but also largely preferred by Indian audiences.

What do you concentrate on while creating a collection?
I have always kept in mind the look, drape and flow. The idea to is combine pragmatism and uniqueness hence interesting silhouettes, fabrics and colours is what we have played around with.

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