From Sari inspired gowns to embroidered numbers, to a variety of fun monochrome prints and Korean inspired stories depicted in ensembles to commentary on dystopic future, Raffles graduate show came together under the theme of Synergy Read the rest of this entry »
A Graduate show is always an exciting time of the year to see the the upcoming new guns and fresh blood pour into industry. While I always have this debate with myself on the commercial prospects versus creativity and pushing boundaries of both within the garments. The students at Raffles showcased both qualities with some very interesting techniques and some very commercial RTW collections (no it’s not a bad thing, it keeps them in sync with what is going to sell). There were many pieces that caught my eye, ranging from Fierce sassy and edgy ensembles to the demure dauphines and fun seperates, it was indeed an interesting showcase. It was also fun to see experimentation with menswear, especially how it was done. The standouts had to be Tiana Mikelecic, Lenka Klikacova,wilson Nguyen,Rhenny Valleria and Edwin Limanto and a few others.
Images by WENDELL TEODORO
It was a mixed bag of fashion week with many veterans and experienced designer stumbling onto finding a contemporary footing with some traditions that are ingrained within their audience. The final and Day 3 was no different either with designers putting on a show. With Zaheer coming out on trumps with his succinct collection and Nilofer Shahid showcasing her technical finesse, balancing the interpretation and tribute facets within her collection, the concluding day rounded off with an interesting note of sorts; with a lesson for designers for the need to step up their game seriously instead of mediocre offerings.
Hopping onto the technology bandwagon was the newly engaged Masaba for her latest collection ‘Sugar Plum’. Where most designers have been shying away from inviting bloggers and kin to the shows in order to delay the piracy of design, trust Masaba to take the road less travelled. She not only presented a candified collection but updated it live on instagram feed for millions of viewers to watch in the comfort of their own space. The collection harked back to the Masaba’s own colorful roots of her earlier collections with her signature bold prints in mini flared skirts, tiny cropped tops, printed piped shirts all in candy colours. While I wasn’t too sure of the Popsicle print used, the florescent triangle prints were my favorite. Also was the much more cutesy candy clutch carried by the showstopper Nargis. Another favorite was the long white shirt with the pants and a long dress with print and brown solid and a yellow turban (mimicking the sweet print itself). Some fun stuff but Masaba we have seen you do better and you have raised the bar of expectations pretty high which you exceed everytime, but this one. But that’s ok..tomorrow is always another day.
Quirkbox is one of those brands who do tend to sort of keep me on the edge as to what will they come up with next. Everytime they showcase, I go like they have exhausted all options, what next? and they do come up with something. This time around finding inspiration in the city of Delhi, Quirkbox tried to map the spirit of the colorful city onto the clothes within their own aesthetics. Vehicals, buildings and landmark things all made an appearance within the prints that were used within some fun silhouettes ranging from jackets and dresses to jumpsuits and shorts. What I liked about the fact was that the pieces could be taken off from any look and paired with another but essentially give off a similar vibe. The collection was pretty much seamless and each piece (not look) could be taken off and styled to any individualistic tastes. While I wasn’t too sure of the copter prints (they seemed a bit immature compared to rest of the much developed prints) Quirkbox even made it look good by pairing it with the colorful jacket of prints of a building which I absolutely loved.
Good boy gone bad
High on drama, Kunal Rawal’s one of the prominent things was an introduction of a reflective fabric that was used. Starting off as spunky menswear featuring badass prints blending into a much more eastern silhouettes with a dark and edgy look. Tees, Jackets, hoodies, drop crotch pants merged into Kurtas bandhgalas and sherwanis featuring in a multitude of prints, solids and embellished treatements. The geometric print vests were another major highlight of the show. While I was vary of one of the looks of a printed dhoti with a jacket, the designer brought a cool edgy vibe to the desi menswear succeeding to a certain degree. Imagine a desi bad boy who is sophisticated and pays importance to his looks.
For a designer who has probably trend setted beach wear with his goan aesthetics in India, I was rather disappointed with the Wendell Rodrick’s latest offering. The same old color blocks, the bold colors, the beachy silhouettes, the designer could have designed this collection in his sleep. With his similar aesthetics, it was nothing like we have not seen from the designer in the past therefore I probably expected more from him than the usual fare. Anyone familiar with his work could tell it was him without batting an eyelid and not because of the design philosophy. It was more like Rodricks dejavu all over again!!
Strictly come Charming
Sharp tailoring, a bit of HSY moment with the Tee boys and a bit of Nauman Arfeen thrown in with interjection of womenswear within a menswear collection, Raghuvendra Rathode’s collection had its moments and roller coaster variations. While there were suits and sherwanis alike, the color palatte seem to fluctuate from pastels to sharper tones to finally ending a on a sophisticated palette. However one thing that could not be overlooked was the certain charm and the impeccable suave vibe the collection had for the modern man, almost an answer to Sabyasachi’s modern royal woman. While the interjection of womenswear seemed odd (why do designers do that!!) it did not take away from the whole collection, thankfully!! Simple, clean and very fuss free (not drama free), that is what worked in Rathode’s favor playing with different fabrics and exercising control over not going the usual embroidered route.
Ah! the veterans.. Pankaj and Nidhi have this thing about them. Everytime anyone tries to slot them in, they come up with something that is essentially them within aesthetic and design philosophy but removed from their last outing. This time around for spring, while their collection featured signature applique and cutwork, the silhouette seemed much more relaxed than usual. Furthermore was the use of pastels in powder blues and mint greens to poppy tones of corals, limes and neon yellows. What was also interesting was that, as far as I have seen their work, this was the first time the designer duo dabbled in black and white bold graphic prints though it wasn’t far from their aesthetic nature of how to go about it. Presenting an interesting mix of things with graphics, pastels and poppy colors, the collection’s range seemed to have something for everyone. Dresses, seperates, jackets all made an appearance within familiar and interesting silhouettes that were perfect for summers. While it lacked the usual ‘punch’ that is usually associated with them in terms of contrasting elements, I think there was a conscious effort on their part to move away from their usual self.
*Images by Sagar Ahuja and House of Masaba
Making her debut in the high street section, Rodaba Omer followed up after generation with a collection ironically titled Tehzib. Islamic motifs, patterns…*yawn* … her collection in most parts failed to impress particulary because we have seen such better versions of similar theme done rather well in the past(Sania Maskatiya anyone!!!)
Basing her collection in chiffons and silks, the lady in question relied heavily on digital prints of Islamic motifs, arches and patterns. However I just failed to understand some of the placements of these prints. Arches on a dress converging right down to a door which ends up being right at the crotch of the model, slits happening high up till the crotch point… I mean all had me baffled as to where is Tehzib?? Sexual innuendos or not… it very much so elicited some hilarious responses on my Instagram. I failed to understand if the designer stepped back and give a good look to what she was doing and assessing what is happening…and being a debut, such things should be taken care of more so. To make matters worse these two dresses made an appearance on regular people the very next day *HORRRORS*, The designer offered nothing new in terms of print and many of the images even I could identify I had used during my university days, using the same theme to DESIGN prints.
The silhouettes ranged from skirts, tops, pants and dresses. The pants in that GOD-awful lilac color and material were such a bad fit and exposed all the stitching problems along the seams in an instant. The crotch points running off in all directions.. I thing major re-evaluation needed to be done. Odd blocks of printed and cutwork in patterns were totally off the mark be it in pants, side of skirt of front of the top. The screaming orange with that gold against blues, did not work at all and the strap for one of the dresses just kept falling off… FITTINGS people…fittings. She did try to play with sheer fabric and layer some of the tops and garments, but they were nothing home to talk about.
While I already discussed the printed dilemmas of the collection, one of the looks with printed top, fitted mini skirt and lace patterned stockings made the poor model look like hooker on the prowl…Tehzib REALLY!!! and the yellow skirt with that top :O where do I begin, the frumpy top with that gathered skirt did not cut a pretty picture on the ramp. Even the finale dress was a weird concussion with that gold and orange patch reminiscing of the 90s hindi films, paired with that hair and dip dye was one mess that wasn’t even hot.
The only respite and some potential I found was in the long gown with digital print.. barring the bright spot (what is with this lady and converging patterns), the ensemble had quite a bit of potential.
*Images courtesy Faisal Farooqui and his team at Dragonfly
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
Elan by Khadija Shah closed Day two with a striking collection titled ART STRUCK ELAN. Taking inspiration from the illustrator Rene Gruau’s work, Elan’s collection drew major applause from the crowd. This woman knows how to balance the line between sophisticated and fun with panache and she does it rather well.
Heavy inclined towards prints, obviously, the collection referenced a variety of work of the artist. I looked up the artist and could see many of his works translated into clothes. Be it the opening red piece with doves, the black splatter dress, the ruffle ball woman on a short tunic…all in one way or the other referenced the artist. The silhouettes started with streamlined jumpsuit, quirky seperates, structured jackets and column gowns and moved on towards Dior-esque shapes with cinched waists and voluminous skirts in layered organza adding in a certain dimension to the prints that were printed on to them. While in some cases the layering added volume, in others the printed layers were used as an effect to overlap and superimpose each other so as to create interesting effects. It was in many cases almost as good as Dior, if not better.
The prints, which heavily made use of the artist’s style and imagery ranged from text, to fun pop art references, to mural like illustrations that were used heavily on hems of the skirts, tunics and jackets. Combining luxury prêt to pop art, in many cases, Miss Shah translated the painting itself in clothes using the whole outfit as the canvas. These prints, were then enhanced at occasions by the use of beadwork so as to bring out certain details and shapes that she needed to be highlighted but in small doses never overpowering the print (in voluminous skirts). However in some the whole print was embellished like one of the ducky prints was all over worked upon meticulously with sequins and beads. Loved Loved loved all the prints.
And just when you thought it was such a good collection and this time around she actually used the artwork and mentioned it too, since she has been in the crossfire for those very reasons, one of the cat print jacket that was quite the favourite walked down the runway and was used over in pants too was NOT by the Italian illustrator, rather the pattern was by a Swedish textile designer Victor Lindstrand, made in 1930s… *sigh*…again… credits people.. credits.
The asymmetrical shapeless gown could have been so much better in terms of fit and length (or was it the big print that expanded the model’s frame from usual), considering it had such a fun dramatic back. The major extra ruffled dress aka nomi ansari déjà vu from FPW2014 (here), was a confused piece and did not seemed to have reached just there *does a hand gesture*and seemed stuck in the middle, the jacket piece was kooky to say the least. In a collection with a feminine vibe, this was stood out like a sore thumb with its masculine lines. While I loved the bang bang clutch, I wasn’t too sure about the ELAN clutch especially in that orange.
All aside, there were quite a few things to love …The freaking collection in its later stages made me sit up getting excited for the next piece that was to come down the runway and drew major applause from me. One of the major things that despite being the finale for the day, she kept the presentation simple, single filed. The upfront ruffle doll on the short tunic was an instant favorite, the splash print on the jacket was fun, the zoomed in text shift dress would definitely find its takers, Most of the floor length organza layered skirts footprint, the text skirt, finale piece. Also from the accessories loved the bang bang and text clutch.
*Images courtesy Faisal Farooqui and his team at Dragonfly…and me