Indian designers nowadays are giving the country’s weaves a new avatar, says Payal Khandwala, who is known for her love for handwoven silk, khadi, cotton and linen. She is confident this will go a long way to help the craft in reaching a new audience.

“Indian designers are helping in giving Indian weaves a new context and a new avatar. This goes a long way in changing the perception of Indian textiles. It helps keep them relevant and reaches out to a whole new audience

“This, in turn, will support artisans that survive in dismal living conditions and have very poor wages,” Khandwala told IANS on the sidelines of Lakme Fashion Week (LFW) Winter/Festive 2016 where she showcased her bridal line in association with Lakme Salon.

“Hopefully the demand will create a ripple effect that will better their lives in some small way,” she added.

Khandwala also feels that the government’s initiatives to promote Benarasi weaves will give new hope to artisans.

“I definitely think the government’s initiative to promote Benaras weaves will put the weavers from this particular cluster on the map. This campaign made an impact but I hope that for most designers, this is not just a trend,” she said.

Many say that there’s limited scope of making western designs with Indian textiles What does she think of this’

“I don’t think this is true at all. If you pick the right fabric with the right weight and the right drape, anything is possible in terms of silhouette,” she said.

Khandwala launched her eponymous label in 2012. She is known for orchestrating colour and textures to create layered separates that are dramatic yet minimal, with subtle attention to detail. She designs for intelligent, non-conformist women.

Her background in fine arts and fashion coupled with her cultural influences, growing up in Mumbai, schooling in New York and Barcelona, give her a unique perspective.

For her showcase at LFW, Khandwala used textiles woven meticulously with gold threads.

“Several of our key textiles are in fact, handwoven in Benaras and our designs developed with weavers that are a part of the Make In India initiative. Woven meticulously with gold thread to illuminate a deep palette of our signature jewel colours, these textiles are reminiscent of vintage heirlooms.

“We also continue our association with our weavers in West Bengal for our developments in silk.”

For this season, she also introduced hand embroidery, while ensuring that it remains minimal and lightweight.

“Our silhouettes keep our interpretation of the new emperor relevant. It is not an effort to recreate the past. The idea is to reimagine a language that is new, which can hopefully, be a reference for the future.

“This is why we do away with the dupatta traditionally draped on the head but we retain it for its drape, its versatility, its drama and reinvent it in our pleated textures. The clothes are practical, uncluttered and fuss free.

“The fuller, more feminine shapes are paired with menswear essentials like jackets, cuffs and collars to find that perfect balance and highlight this dichotomy,” Khandwala told IANS.

She Aalso highlighted the idea of the strong yet gentle non-conformist bride with the help of Lakme Salon.

“You saw simple, fuss-free, contemporary hair. There were strong eyes and real gold leaf accents that illuminated the face in a subtle yet dramatic way,” she described.

The designer showcased her collection on the fourth day of the fashion gala and was applauded for her designs and the look that models flaunted.

(The writer is in Mumbai at the invitation of LFW organisers. Nivedita can be contacted at [email protected])

By Nivedita

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