We always look forward to the gorgeous fabrics and artistry of Lakmé Fashion Week’s “India Handlooms & Textiles Day”, which showcases designers turning to regional artists for their collections.

 

India Handlooms & Textiles is always my favourite section of Lakmé Fashion Week, since it allows designers to showcase their versatility in working with handloom artists and weavers. Designers like Anita Dongre and Gaurang created gorgeous summery pieces that revived older art forms with a contemporary touch, perfect for the summer wedding season and more.

 

N & S Gaia by Siddharth Sinha

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This dreamy collection looked to Northeast India for inspiration with the stunning ensembles that featured mainly ecru, beige, olive green, and cream colours. Sinha utilized dakwanda cotton from Meghalaya hand-weaving artists to create lovely floral prints on each outfit. There were ornamental and delicate silhouettes on display with gorgeous draping in the capes and jackets.
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It was an elegant collection that showcased design of a more traditional Northeast India, with pieces that were wearable and a marvel to behold. The straw hats were a nice addition to the outfits, and the silver eye-shadow created a bright impact. Sinha gave the audience a glimpse into the artistry of often unsung hand-woven artists with this lovely collection.

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Chandbali by Gaurang

Once again, you can always count on designer Gaurang Shah to bring pomp and bursts of colour to the runway, and Chandbali stayed true to his traditional aesthetic. Shah revived the jamdani weaving technique that uses the finest muslin, along with using odna patterns on khadi, which gave the collection an old-world feel.

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Shah used traditional motifs which were minimal enough not to overpower the marvelous fabrics on display. The collection included floor-length kalidaars, stunning lehengas, ancient jamas, and heavy saris. Gaurang transformed the mundane patterns we’ve seen before on auntyjis during wedding season, into a sterling display of handlooms and revived techniques to create such vibrant silhouettes for anyone to wear.

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As always, Shah brought out his muse Kirron Kher for the showstopper: a hot pink brocade sari with gorgeous blue jewelry that capped off another fantastic collection.

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Le Pondi by Shruti Sancheti

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Sancheti’s collection was inspired by the beauty of Pondicherry, and featured a stunning array of Indian and Western ensembles that were marked by their temple-weaves and floral style. There were romantic silhouettes with flowing dresses and gorgeous apron-style smocks with floral underlay detailing.

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It was a strikingly minimalist and modern collection that used mixed French and Tamil influences for its maxi dresses, midis, bolero jackets, and billowy and lace saris. Sancheti looked to Tamil weavers to create temple-threads that were used in the heavy borders in each outfit.

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Varanasi Weaves by Anita Dongre

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Dongre closed the Handlooms and Textiles Day with a sterling collection that featured a key trend from Lakme Fashion Week for Summer 2014: dreamy pastels. Dongre sought out Varanasi weavers and craft artisans for her breezy dresses and pencil skirts. The colours ranged from eggshell blue, rose, and buttercup yellow for actress Dia Mirza’s ensemble, which offset the shimmery and minimalist beadwork.

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Dongre experimented with a different region and utilized the Varanasi weaves to create volume in these summer gowns. I absolutely loved her use of geometrics, zig-zag patterns, triangular shapes, and lace detailing that made you marvel over the simplicity and beauty of it all. Transparent layers and lace used natural cotton, silk, and chiffon to add to the romantic and flowing silhouettes. It was a perfect collection to end the Handlooms & Textiles Day on a strong note.

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This day showcased a greater responsibility for fashion to respect and revive the handloom industries by going back to use older and traditional methods and giving it that modern twist.