Day 3 began on a high note since I made it on time (and made sure of that) for the High Street Shows. High street shows have pleasantly managed to surprise me, with many retailers presenting decent and good collections. The good part is how, these retail brands will have, what they show on ramp, in stores, something which many designers still have trouble getting the hang of. Generation kicked off things with a collection titled Water on Ajrakh. Now to sound prejudiced, I went into the showing with a notion of the brand as showcasing an ‘aunty collection’ is how I viewed the brand with its share of embroidered tunics and ensembles at stores. However by the end of it I was smiling how I was proven wrong with a showing that was not only wearable and chic but made me eat my words and in turn impressed me.
First susi (MK NATION) and now ajrakh, more than designers it seems like High street brands are doing more for these indigenous textiles than ‘designer’ labels. Giving Ajrakh the much needed makeover, Generation actually made it look chic while apt for summers in a calm and collected manner. What the high street brand also took care was in many pieces it was inspired by the ajrakh and its motifs and thus playing with that, blowing them up and using them as embroidery. These would include square shaped embroidered tunics as well as hexagon motifs embroidered all over. While in other pieces, where they used ajrakh patterns and motifs, they changed up its native colors towards much pastel tones to white, ecru, minty green, cherry blossom pinks, champagne beige, light blues, corals and indigo. What I liked about the whole translation, was the fact that they did not do a literal, in your face translation and making the mistake of using ajrakh as it is. The thought process clearly showcased an intelligent translation of the source material and how it was played with. Mind you, using such a culturally strong and sorta abused starting point for their collection was rather a VERY brave move, since there were many traps they could’ve fallen into but they came through. Taking such textiles and turning it over its head, without ruining it will always get my vote provided done well..and they did. LOVED IT.
Along with colors and motifs, the brand experimented with ajrakh with printing on sheer fabrics such as organza, nets, voiles, mix silks. At many (read almost)occasions, they played with sheer layering with prints/plains underneath and subtle prints on the sheer fabrics layered over them. This added in a subtle yet a certain dimension to the whole collection since the quality of printing, especially on the sheer fabrics, was rather well done. The ensembles were also at many instances had embroidery in form of motifs or overall running pattern, done on many of them complimenting the whole collection. The collection in a variety of silhouettes, majorly straighter but laid back layered tunics in varying lengths, floor length maxi dress and front short back long shirts, was ideal for summers
I was not too keen of the dressier gold pieces that seemed to have gone off on a different tangent. In a collection with a cool calm vibe the two pieces rather stood out, not for the right reasons though. The cutwork piece was a rather a misfit considering it was the only piece to employ that technique along with ombre.. last minute addition maybe…
My picks: indigo blue with racer armhole was just the right amount of fun, light blue maxi/jumpsuit with the cotton net upper and the peek-a-boo play was rather pleasant. Square motif tunic was an embroidered overall sheer tunic with halter inner, the organza print on print with embroidery up on front..the subtle print on organza with printed inners was pretty.
*Images courtesy Faisal Farroqui and his team at Dragonfly