Thursday, December 23, 2010

Desi Weaves With Modern Sensibilities

December 24, 2010 10:15:34 AM

Be it Benarasi silk on Assamese silhouettes or traditional ghagra-choli from Rajasthan, the designer fraternity whetted its skills and presented a beautiful blend of Indian and contemporary designs in a fashion show as part of the Handloom Week 2010 presently going on at Dilli Haat. An initiative by the Ministry of Textiles and the office of Development Commissioner Handlooms, the show was supported by the Fashion Design Council of India (FDCI) and depicted Indian culture, crafts and handloom that constitute the bedrock of India’s heritage.

To be in-sync with traditional textiles and present them in a manner that makes even the most choosy fashionistas sing praises, Guwahati-based designer Meghna Rai Medhi came up with an interesting combination of two different cultures. The entire collection had Benarasi and Assamese sensibilities. Coming from a place where “every woman weaves”, Medhi said, helped her create the designs. “I used Benarasi raw silk and brocade pattis and borders that we weave in the Northeast and created contemporary designs. The fabric was kept as traditional as possible. Although the patterns too were traditional, they were only modernized into chic outfits,” she said.

Designer Anju Modi too reflected the ancient traditions of Indian craftsmanship through rich heritage of Rajasthan. From Mughal angarkhas with draped pants and saris to long flowing jackets that were teamed up with lehengas, Modi used handloom weaves, mainly handloom cotton, silk and Jamdani fabric to the fullest. “I researched for months to go along with this collection and have tried to exemplify the beauty, style, art, craft, music and richness of Rajasthan on the ramp,” said Modi.

From a dash of indigo blue to white with a touch of gold, her garments had the rich feel of the royal city. “I think I’m married to handloom. Even when I started my career, I spent days with traditional artisans, living with them and learning their skills. I’ve been working with these artisans to revitalize the legacy of the handloom sector across the country,” she added.

Payal Jain, who has maintained a balance of traditional techniques and chic designs in almost all her collections, this time presented a flash of white on the ramp with formal skirts and coats to short dresses and traditional suits. With intricate hand embroidery all over, Jain’s collection spoke for itself. “I’ve always used Indian textiles in my clothes, so much so, that I’ve now developed my own textiles,” said Jain.

This initiative, said Dayanidhi Maran, Union Minister of Textiles, was just one in the series of shows that have been planned. “We want the world to know that traditional Indian crafts can be presented in a contemporary way also. I am hopeful that this show will attract the attention of designers, retailers and wholesalers who are looking to source the handloom products for the high-end market,” he said.