Designers experiment with Rajasthan’s style

Jaipur, Dec 5 (IANS) Turning camel decorations into striking accessories for women, saris into panelled and layered dresses and leheriya print kota fabric into sexy gowns — designers explored a wide possibility of styles using age-old handlooms, textures, embroidery and crafts from Rajasthan here.

On the second day of the ongoing Rajasthan Heritage Week here on Friday, a mixed line-up of designers and weavers showcased creations which went beyond the traditional.

Ritu Kumar, India’s foremost designers, says retaining the ethos and aesthetics of the local crafts is vital while reinventing the presentation style to appeal to today’s generation.

“It’s a designer’s challenge what to do with the wonderful loom that the weavers produce. If you’re going to try and make a tight little mini dress, it’s an option, but these fabrics (like kota) are for layered fabrics meant for unstitched garments.

“The onus is a lot on designers to keep the traditions going, keep the interaction with the weavers going and mostly, to keep it appealing,” Kumar told IANS here.

The designer worked with Ajrakh prints, mica mirrors, mirror embroidery, bandhej and more to unleash a line replete with flared skirts, kurtas, asymetrical dresses, stoles and saris in a melange of colours ranging from earthy shades to bright ones.

But as Kumar, who even turned camel decorations into accessories, pointed out, “The Ajrakh cannot be fuschia, so one has stay with the aesthetics.”

National Award winner Mohammed Yasin Ansari then showcased few but beautiful kota doria saris; while Ram Kishore Derewala, a National Award winner too, displayed handblock printed saris; and there were Sanganeri print saris from Avdesh Kumar Pandey.

Rajasthan Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje, who sat facing the head ramp, clearly looked pleased with the creative talent.

Up next was Bengaluru-based designer Tara Aslam, who explored traditional banjaran silhouettes to present styles which could appeal globally. The use of khadi was predominant and a mix of dresses, shirts, shorts, jumpers, pants and asymetrical dresses were a highlight.

Then there was Manish Saksena, who impressed with his sheer kota saris for women, colourful kota dhotis for men and use of block printed fabric in his line.

A unique line came from designer Asif Shah, who dug into the woollen fabrics in Rajasthan to create a collection of well cut three-piece suits not just for men, but for women too. From skirts and bandis to block printed Jodhpur pants for men and bow-ties for women — Shah’s line stood out. He also created some sensual beach-perfect gowns out of kota doria with leheriya print.

Well known designer Puja Arya, who comes from Jaipur, offered a quirky collection for which she reinvented hand block printing by combining it with international silhouettes. She used traditional as well as modern hand block prints in bright and natural hues on western wear, which is stylish and wearable at the same time.

The finale designer for day two was Hemant Trivedi, who offered a fusion line made out of khadi and featured extensive use of vegetable-dyed, block printed handloom. Clearly, the line was attractive for its layering and panelling of fabrics into skirts, full-length outfits and stylised dhotis.

Trivedi said he used saris, mixed and matched fabrics to create the line in a month’s time.

The Rajasthan Heritage Week, backed by the government to support the weavers’ community of the state, will conclude on Saturday.

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