At the ongoing Amazon India Fashion Week, the couture catwalks are all about going back to nature — floral-smothered puff sleeves and hems at Varun Bahl; wild blooms unfolding beneath wheatsheaf brims
At the ongoing Amazon India Fashion Week, the couture catwalks are all about going back to nature — floral-smothered puff sleeves and hems at Varun Bahl; wild blooms unfolding beneath wheatsheaf brims at Hemant and Nandita; molten Earth at Gaurav Gupta, and garden with trees, leaves and shrubs splaying across at Anita Dongre’s grand runway and feminine contemporary wear. Nature has never looked more beautiful.
“Nature is probably one of the most basic and primal inspiration a designer can have. It’s all around us, and its magnitude is so awe-inspiring that it is tough for any designer to not create a collection themed around nature, at least, once in his/her career. We, as designers, are trying to showcase and highlight the bounty of nature and draw attention towards preserving it,” shares designer Nandita of Hemant and Nandita duo. About what made them choose jungle as their theme this season, she adds, “Both Hemant and I are avid travellers. We love to immerse ourselves in the experience of exploring new destinations and meeting new people. Our last weekend trip to the hills was a catalyst in putting this collection to form! ‘The Dark Enchantress’ was largely inspired by the hills and the woods; the feeling of discovering the mysterious and enchanting locales, the way the foliage hides and also gives a peek into what it’s covering.
She adds, “From the rich colours and the layering, to the motifs and glimpses of gold and even the contracting elements of jacquard and sheer fabrics — all are reflected in this collection.”
Turning to nature to seek inspiration, designer Anita Dongre presented a sustainable collection using organic cotton and hand-woven silk titled ‘Earth Song’. The ramp was recreated with a jungle setting with tree branches hanging from the ceiling and small plant installations around the runway area symbolic of an ode to the nature. The show transported the audience to a world where falling leaves dotted the earth in autumn, and the smell of fresh pine evoked memories of time gone by. Models effortlessly walked against this vivid setting, adorning craft and owning tradition in their unique ways. “My line is inspired by the forest. The whole idea was to make the audience connect with nature while watching the show. Somewhere in the fast moving urban life, we have forgotten to listen to nature. Hence, I wanted to bring it alive on the ramp, and make sure the audiences would listen to the natural noise of leaves falling, bird chirping, etc.” shares Anita.
The line pays its tribute to the myriad crafts of India as well. The designer surrendered to the colours of the earth, as leaves turned to the hues of dusk. A handcrafted conscious range, Anita’s collection masterfully spelt ‘slow fashion’. She says, “The line is very organic and earthy. I like everything handmade and that is my philosophy in life and otherwise. I have used a lot of hand block technique, kantha and brush strokes. The colour story also depicted the same — nature love — with blues, browns, reds, mustards, oranges and leafy greens taking the forefront.”
Another designer who rendered quite a nature-inspired opening to the fashion week with his jungle-themed collection was Varun Bahl. What started out as a nature-based canvas turned the evening into a pleasing sight with various motifs in action. Using patterns such as owls, flowers and everything that can be termed as metaphors of nature, the designer presented his collection titled ‘Nocturne’ on the first day. “I love creating collections inspired by flora and fauna. There is a reason we call the earth, ‘mother’ earth. My collections have always been an ode to her,” said the designer who made sure all the garments were organically handmade and hand-stitched.
Apart from these, the fashion week is also peppered with examples of recycling and repurposing, locally sourced materials and short, transparent supply chains — like Rajesh Pratap Singh’s ‘Gold Rush’ collection and textile and fashion designer Gaurav Jai Gupta of Akaaro’s Mumuksha.