The second fashion week of the season, The fashion week from Lahore had quite a few interesting collection that did explore the fun and business sides of fashion. The collections both by debutantes and established designers definitely had people sit up and take notice how pret is evolving within fashion. While there were a few that stuck to the formulaic commercialism, others did dare to venture out, pushing the envelope and making a damn point.
While I do have a certain affinity towards an organic and deconstructed sensibility, seeing it over and over and over again so much so that it dilutes the whole charm of it, is rather a turn off. While some of them did go the usual route, some definitely stood out.
Vaishali done better
A big part of me had a deja vu of sorts seeing this collection, possibly because of the use of organic fabrics that was very similar in language compared to Vaishali S. However Ujjawal in his possible debut outing, did a much better capsule that showed restraint and control with a distinct voice that is going to be interesting to see how it evolves. Like most debuts who go for this sort of fabric, Ujjawal too opted for a blue and grey palatte, nothing surprising, but what he did with them was rather commendable. The loose silhouette espescially some interesting menswear, especially the slouched suits and some crossover womenswear options it is his silhouette that oscillates between masculinity and femininity that is worth the interest. A couple of bit oversized pieces did seem odd amongst a much more relaxed but controlled outing but it is to be seen how he comes back with a full fledged and his second collection.
So Not the Drama
Ikai’s designer Ragini Ahuja has her distinctions clear. Marching to her own tune and with her quite the interestingly part unisex, part modern power women collection last time, this one was a much more feminine outing. Gathering inspiration from Japanese culture, Ragini’s latest outing steered clear from all the cliches and stereotypes that are associated with Japanese interpretations within fashion shows. No geisha references, no buns not even kimonos, no literal interpretations. Polka dots woven in and mixed and matched with prints was inspired by local women’s knack of mixing prints. Playing with textures, appliqued flowers and frayed hems made an appearance in the collection. With motifs like paper cranes, rising sun and hand fans were done in Japanese Shashiko stitching. Going the non literal way, Ragini’s colections exuded a certain oriental charm that wasn’t overdone fusing perfectly within the easy separates that she presented.
Ah! The expectations I had from ILK after their last outing of hand holding men prints!! Shattered.. As brilliant as the last collection was, this one was as much confused palette of different sensibilities. The collection was a mish mash of 3 different things that did not sort of come together… the sketchy floral print, the 3d embroidery and the text print. While some of them worked as complete but individual pieces, my favorites being the black and white sari and the peachy text printed ensemble, the whole presentation lacked a certain cohesiveness in terms of prints. The collection did have some fun use of sheer and the textured 3d embroidery was impressive but it lacked the charm that impressed us with their debut outing
Blue is the Warmest Color
[Ka].[Sha] debut outing, like Ujjawal consisted of elements that this ‘organic group’ has sort of a signature developed within. The anti fit silhouette, use of hand woven/ handwoven looking fabric and cottons, blue, woven elements has become synonymous with this sort of outing, still waiting to see how far this anti fit deconstruction can be taken further by Indian designers without going too much into a Miyake territory. The collection by [Ka].[Sha] checked all the points and the common threads that run through the organics but she interjected the collection with accents of reddish orange and pale mustards. What I liked about the collection was the overlap of prints within a certain anti fit silhouettes and how she smartly played up the accents within the whole look. A balance within always catches attention. While I felt the spaced out print was rather a bit kids nightwear, the rest of the prints and fabric techniques could have been explored much more. The blue suit, the big tie and dye ensemble with orange scarves, now those were two fab statement pieces that stood out in this collection. Brownie points for fun footwear.
The Love Hate Relationship
Sailex is one of those brands that has a distinct voice, one that is very necessary, but one that personally doesn’t sit or rather sort of challenges my sense of aesthetics as a designer. And that is a good thing. You don’t have to please everyone, but rather have a distinct voice, that will find an audience of its own. I may not like it but the thing is, it is not bad. The part laid back, part beachy and part nightwear vibe of the collection had me on the fence if I like it or not. I like the few menswear pieces, the printed pants, the cherry blossom jackets and all. The dresses, the swimwear, the layering over those silk swimwear, have seen the brand do it so many times it can probably do that in sleep. The dresses while they lack a certain ‘innovative-ness’ they had the retail and cohesive to the collection card working for them. So it is a pretty much the love hate relationship that I have with Sailex that causes me to try to look things from a different angle.
Same Same but Different
Vaishali S while goes for her usual comfort zone of using organic and handwoven cottons and fabrics with an aesthetic to match, it is to her credit that she tries to experiment within what she has as her signature. While she is known to go overboard with her ensembles dousing them with layers and layers of fabrics, I was pleasantly surprised to see a certain minimalism at play within dresses, jackets, tops and separates. While the saris seemed all the same, the contemporary take of shift and easy dresses was rather commendable. While her drapery did make its appearance, it was though in small doses rather than going the whole 9 yards (pun totally intended). Oscillating her palette around greys, blues, whites and madder – albiet a very organic one, I was surprised to see magenta thrown infor a good measure in a few pieces… interesting choice. Layering, another feature that comes to her, was also evident within the ensembles playing with the textures and visuals of solids and sheer.
* Images by Sagar Ahuja