Naayab Exhibition: Contemporary Yet Antique

by December 1, 2018 0 comments

Bringing together the old and young, the Naayab exhibition is all about bringing together the edgy and contemporary too, in their latest edition at The Lodhi.

Well, seems textile engineering is the buzzword for reimagined fashion. Studios like Akaaro, which define themselves as organic chic, have looms and create their textile, which can take months. In one of the pieces, a crop top, the placement of the design was woven as a single piece and there were no repeats in it at all.

There is much that is happening in India towards celebrating the traditional textile craft of the country but like they say the more the merrier. And when there are innovations like merged fabrics, new silhouettes or engineered fabrics, all under one roof, options for the buyer are galore. The diversity in the textile can also be seen from the different regions they come from — Kashmir to Tamil Nadu, West Bengal to Baroda. From Kanjeevarams to Balucharis, the Naayab exhibition curated by Rupa Sood, a former designer, and Sharan Apparao, both members of the Yarn Club, which was facilated by The Lodhi to encourage textile lovers.

At the current exhibition, among the many fabrics stood a lone En Inde that had  stainless steel and jute accessories inspired from tribal designs since the designer spent a large part of her youth in Africa.  Started by Anupama Sukh Lalvani and Sonal Sood, the brand is cutting edge, quite literally since many of the necklaces are inspired from African tools. The sharp edges  of the cold metal surface entwined with jute and horse hair is an amalmagation of the old and the new, the rustic and the industrial.

While brands like Akaaro by Gaurav Jai Gupta and Urvashi Kaur stood apart for being contemporary in their silhouettes, there were fundamental differences  in their colour palette. Gupta’s collections were divided into sections for the winter, festive, engineered textiles and sarees. Straight and A-line cuts ruled the collection mostly but the use of metals was also heavy. The studio has its own loom and a single piece could take up to four months of time to go from start to finish.

Kaur brought her winter and festive collections, but the contemporary winter pieces were what caught our eye for their European colours, subtle and sometimes dark, with minimalism being the overarching tone. She wanted to create pieces that can be worn daily or while travelling since the Indian woman has begun to choose travel as essential to well-being. With multiple jackets and drapes, she believes in layering the A-line or straight silhouette pieces with sarees or dresses. “You can dress them up or dress them down, they are versatile,” Kaur, a Delhi-based designer, said.

Meanwhile, designer Karan Torani, who dressed in a kurta and pashmina and stayed barefeet indoors, was passionate about his creations, which according to him are meant for women of all sizes, shapes, colours and ages.    Heavily inspired by his grandmother, who would call kalamkaari artists to her home in Bhopal to do up her walls, and his mother, who made him realise that fashion has erroneously become focussed on the youth alone. So, he creates oversized Persian influenced jackets for all seasons, which he calls the Choga jacket, which according to him are much like the Kimono but have more definition.

“I love the sarees and I have many in my collection but those in my mother’s generation shouldn’t be restricted to sarees alone. Also, my creations are not for an occasion alone. It’s a lifestyle. If somebody enjoys a Chanderi or Banarasi, they should be able to wear it all through the day,” he said.

The exhibition also has pashmina shawls, ornate and subtle Banarasis and cotton sarees.

Sood and Apparao believe that those working with Indian textile crafts have been chosen for the exhibition but they chose designers young and old, doing conventional and contemporary for it to create diversity in choice.

“India is the only country with such a vast textile heritage. The focus of Naayab is Indian textile quality crafts, people who are working with artisans,” said Apparao.

On being asked what they wore to the occasion, Sood said that since they like to encourage the artists whose works they curate they wore their outfits. She was dressed in an Bodhi outfit while Apparao was in a Perro outfit.

Writer: Asmita Sarkar

Courtesy: The Pioneer

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