#LFW2017: Sustainable Menswear Led The Sartorial Way On Day 2
Day 2 brought an intrepid bunch of Kutch artisans like Somaiya Kala Vidya, Chaman Siju, Sufiyan with Madame Hall and Sujan to remind us why we love fashion, wear fashion and, most importantly, work in fashion. The unabashed, unconditional vigour of traditional Kutch crafts like ajrakh block printing and tedious hand-stitching kept pace with the urgency of today, interpreted in upbeat bomber jackets, and some cool summer staples like shorts, skirts, jumpsuits, and maxi dresses. The juxtaposition of the old and the new was interesting. For example, Chaman Siju used embroidery hoops (tambour frames) as surface embellishments over beguilingly draped blouses and dresses.
A menswear presentation, ‘Sustainable Man’, took the story forward, with seasoned designers Rajesh Pratap Singh, David Abraham & Rakesh Thakore, and Aneeth Arora showcasing their versions of it. The attempt was to underline the theme and establish a mood of intimacy with the audience. They packed the pitch-dark show area with wooden blocks, leaving just enough room for models (read real, everyday awkward men) to meander through the zigzag runway format.
Rajesh Pratap Singh infused the banal (khadi and reused denim) with a peculiar new insight (fibres and yarns created from recycled plastic bottles and salvaged garments). His job was not over yet. He preserved the sanctity of upcycling-recycling by turning unsold, rejected merchandise from past collections into alluring new designs like wide boxy jackets, cropped jackets, double lapel coats with hoodies, and cropped pants.
The shoes, always a Rajesh Pratap Singh fundamental, joined the movement, were specially designed from leftover indigo t-shirts and khadi fabrics.
Respecting handlooms and working with its perks is second skin to David Abraham & Rakesh Thakore. Their ‘Dandy March’ parade re-employed discarded bits and bobs of bedsheets, cushion covers, and off-cuts from kabaddi markets in Delhi, and courier parcel scraps. Hand and machine-manufactured kantha (patchwork), boro (Japanese term for tattered rags), and pojagi (Korean wrapping cloth) feasted upon saturated masculine shades of ecru, ivory, and indigo. The result: military-style kurtas with patch pockets and epaulettes, updated versions of sherwanis with a hint of the shirt collar, sporty sleeveless two-tone Nehru jackets, and pleated patched denim trousers.
The addition of pocket-square, cravats, topis and juttis (reworked as desi brogues) polished off the neo-desi statement.
Péro’s brand of anti-fit chic turned its gaze to menswear. Inspired by painter and botanist Pierre Joseph Redoute, the Southern Netherland artist’s floral water-colours fuelled Aneeth Arora’s design instincts. A disciplined riot of textiles — chanderi, jamdani, and mashru — came together to dress men in check coats worn with shorts, hooded ponchos, railroad striped shirts, and coats sprinkled with floral buttas. Detailing, per usual, was the driver, with tassels, scarves and Péro’s signature buttons adding a little summer sprinkle.
A sustainable fashion and textiles day would have been incomplete without contemplation on what’s-next-for-saree-in-2017. And so, 3 leading saree lobbyists — Anavila Misra, Sanjay Garg, and Hemang Agarwal shared their thoughts on the drape with a little help from muses Priyanka Bose, Konkona Sen Sharma, and Monica Dogra, respectively. “There is a need to look at the saree just as other separates in our wardrobe, rather than a complete ensemble by itself. Like we would mix and match other garments, the saree pairs well with different pieces and can be worn for any occasion,” said Anavila. She dressed Priyanka in a leaf green linen saree with net underlay, teamed with a white shirt blouse, a polka-dotted petticoat, and fabric shoes.
The ever-defiant Sanjay expressed his angst with, “I’m not a fan of talking about saree as a statement. Why can’t it be part of normal, everyday attire like this pair of trousers and shirt I am wearing right now?” He was referring to the sensual ease that drapes afford the wearer, in this case, Konkona, who wore ankle-skirting saree with an armhole for a pallu. The look was tied together by a belted, three-forth sleeve blouse that tackled the stress of sizing issues.
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