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Embroidered tales

Published : Oct 7, 2016, 10:09 pm IST
Updated : Oct 7, 2016, 10:09 pm IST

Beautiful and tactile hand-embroidery is having quite the moment on the runways

Creations from Alexander Mcqueen and Rahul Mishra
 Creations from Alexander Mcqueen and Rahul Mishra

Beautiful and tactile hand-embroidery is having quite the moment on the runways

These days, pieces of fine craftsmanship are engulfing artistic imaginations in the world of fashion. With hand-woven garments setting the tone for the upcoming haute climate, embroidery is having quite a moment and increasingly getting featured in national and international runways.

“Hand embroidery, like one’s handwriting, has a freedom and personality to it that is lost with the machine. It’s almost like comparing your handwriting to the typed word,” says designer Priyanka Modi of AM:PM, adding, “After several collections marking goth, outwear as innerwear, sports luxe, flora, fauna and abstract motifs rendered in a rainbow of thread, it’s fair that design giants are cornering the market with embroidery, which is well-qualified to provide fresh, unique and luxe looks to any silhouette.”

Talking about the genesis, designer Shasha Gaba reveals, “The origins of embroidery can be traced back to our country as well as ancient China, where people would take to various hand sewing techniques to patch, mend or decorate their clothing. Soon, somehow it even became a way to distinguish between the royalty (and the common) when luxurious tapestry came into existence. As the practice began to spread throughout the world, each culture had embroidery patterns that were unique to them. The process of creating these pieces by hand remained unchanged until the Industrial Revolution, which brought a remarkable change to human history with a shift towards using machinery as the main means of production rather than traditional handwork.”

Today, there is resurgence in embroidery within the fashion world with high-end designers Gucci, Alexander Mcqueen, Dolce and Gabbana, Gucci, Rohit Bal and Rahul Mishra to name a few putting together patches on their most recent offerings. Labels are persistent in their use of embroidery and the leaders of the pack in embroidery’s resurgence are making an impressive attempt. Shasha adds, “This direction that the fashion world is taking right now feels right. After seasons of normcore and minimalism, such beautiful and tactile clothing resonates.”

One can take a relatively traditional approach with embroidery or approach it more subversively. “A black leather motorcycle jacket festooned with sweet pink flowers and curling green stems shouts modernity while a nude tulle dress embroidered with flowers in chunky cotton-blend yarn instead of slender silk offers a more traditional approach. Challenge your perceptions, mix the femininity of embroidery with unexpected pairings. Be experimental,” suggests designer Nidhika Shekhar.

Designers Armaan Randhawa and Manish Gupta add that another way to give embroidery new life is to work old-world motifs on streamlined pieces. “Denims offer a link between yesterday and today. You can go also for traditional chain-stitch embroideries on unfussy, wearable dresses, skirts and tops for more options,” they lastly share.