Sulakshana Monga’s show on the fourth day of Couture Week created a hypnosis beyond time and space by giving a panoramic view of the city of Banaras. Much like the eternal light of the city. The first step into the creation of the phantasm of Banaras was the assortment of yellow marigolds stretched across the entire length of the ramp in the centre with the distinct incense of flowers.
The collection, a milestone, which marked the debut of Monga in the Couture Week, was a continuous vision of her label which is representative of East meets West. It was a progressive ensemble of Indian and Western, with an unswerving dedication to the use of colours. Dhruv Monga, designer and Sulakshna’s son, said that the inspiration was drawn from Indian culture and the idea was to renovate it. Sulakshana gave a slightly more detailed insight into the designs, “In one segment we used totally Indian designs while the other was very global Varanasi, including in the colours. We have two looks in our collection, one is the warm Indian for weddings, while the other features evening gowns and cocktail dresses.”
At first glance, evening gowns and cocktail dresses seem like a modern reminiscence of The Great Gatsby. The feathers on the shoulders and on the hem of the floor-length gowns looked like they belonged to the closet of a socialite in the 1920s. While the western was taken care of, the Indian twist to the garments came through with the playful use of colours and sequins while the bows delicately held the hair of the models. If Daisy Buchanan was an Indian bride in Banaras, she would definitely fashion the purple lehenga, with feathers on the sleeves of the off-shoulder blouse with ruffles on the hem and an elaborate trail gliding behind.
The other segment was a careful demonstration of the city of Banaras where the lehengas had the sceneries intricately designed on them and thin embroidered chunnis draped over the neck. Some lehengas had geometric prints in yellow, orange, blue, pink, neon green.
The colours used throughout the ensemble had extensive hues of yellow, green, orange, purple, pink and red. The synthesis of sequins and embroidery with the richness of colour and a resonance with the elements of Benaras ensured a festive spirit on the ramp.
Malaika Arora, the showstopper, wore a green lehenga. About its design, Monga said, “Malaika is wearing a lehenga where the skirt has the scene of a sunset at the Varanasi ghats, bells and jharokhas embroidered on it. It also has calligraphy on the skirt. We tried to express Banaras in a very different way.”
Arora was walking for the first time for the designer and when asked about her fashion statement, Monga answered for her, “She can look beautiful in any garment, she can justify any clothing. Her fashion statement is that whatever she carries, she looks beautiful. She knows how to carry colours, how to balance the fashion, how to justify the look whether it is Indian, evening, cocktail, or a short western outfit. In my eyes, she justifies everything.”
Malaika said that there’s a stark difference between couture and fashion we usually see “Couture is couture. It is a different market, a different way of viewing garments and a different collection altogether. I think everybody does a regular collection all year round.”
She also shared that her preferred garment at a function is a sari, “It is undoubtedly the best garment the world over. Lehenga is another one that I would wear whenever I have to go for a function. There is so much you can do with it as it’s a very versatile piece of clothing. It can be really traditional, it can be a bit western or cocktail.” Arora raves about the versatility of Monga’s creation as the designer has a clear and open-minded approach to Indian and Western elements.
Sulakshana believes her collection is timeless, and even after 20 years it would still look fresh. Her assortmented collection could cater to the needs of different brides, or someone simply looking to make a style statement at a function.
Photo: Pankaj Kumar
Writer: Dhruvika Bhanot
Courtesy: The Pioneer