Pitti Uomo this year had a section dedicated specifically to african designers titled AFRICAN CONSTELLATION. Now being a trade show, showing at Pitti Uomo as a brand is a great exposure and that is where I discovered this gem of a brand surprised at myself how this genius of a label was hidden for so long. What many designers are pretty much cautious to venture into, is the very essence of this brand’s core foundation; prints for menswear.
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