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DESIGN DIARY BY VIVEK KARUNAKARAN

JASMEEN DUGAL  (click here to know more about this blogger)

Chennai-based Vivek Karunakaran needs no introduction. He entered the Fashion fraternity with a bang, literally — the NIFT Chennai alumnus graduated in Fashion Design with Best Constructed Design Award at the graduating show. The roots of his inspiration is simple — adapting, without losing one's roots. Mesmerised by his sports-inflected menswear at India Luxury Style Week, where each look was wearable art, I could not help marvelling at the ease with which he had injected a contemporary, experimental design aesthetic into traditional textiles and silhouettes. In conversation with Vivek Karunakaran.

 

Does de​signing allows you to reflect something personal?

 

Absolutely! The challenge of constantly creating something new keeps me going whether its art, fashion, architecture, graphics. Designing perhaps is a great medium to express one's creative aesthetic and reflect on a sensibility that is close to your heart. And considering fashion is what i do, it's a fabulous medium to express my personal style statement.

 

As a designer do you ever struggle between creativity and wearability when designing for the catwalk?

 

This was a question I always used to ask myself in the first few years when I started off. The first few collections at the Fashion Weeks were all completely wearable and commercial lines. With time, I began to notice that this was not enough to get the interest of the fashionistas, the fashion media and the newsmakers. I was literally torn between creating an identity for the brand by perhaps enhanced styling or gimmicks and believing in the simplicity and detailing of the clothes making the point. My learning was that "I had to ADAPT without losing my roots and what I believed in". Today, I feel I have somewhere been able to find a balance. 

 

What's the mood of your menswear collection at India Luxury Style Week?

 

My line-up this season features menswear in a sophisticated yet edgy sensibility — styled sporty chic. It is a perfect amalgamation of two extremely diverse thoughts — the cleans lines and color block details which has been my all time favorite take on menswear, juxtaposed with the beauty of tulips and flowers, one from an enchanted garden. The collection portrays sublime workmanship in the form of layering, structuring, surface texturing with printing and appliqués on an assortment of sporty silhouettes for the modern man. Interestingly, asymmetric hem knitted kurtas are layered over floral printed bomber jackets! Asymmetric bandis layered over long shirts with jersey sleeves. Printed poplin shirts are combined with contrast jersey sleeves. Pin-tucked and color-blocked fitted shirts are styled with joggers and sling bags. Printed long jersey shirts layered under a tuxedo worn with jersey fitted cigarette pants. And my most favourite and fabulous look is my palazzos for men, that look equally stunning with a pin-tucked wing collar shirt and suspenders as much as with a short fitted printed shirt buttoned up at the neck!!

 

What's one thing you'd want everyone to know about ​you​ the designer and ​you​ the person?

 

Well, that is a very tricky question. But I would love for everyone to know me for my work. From day one, I have never compromised on quality come whatever may. The downside of this is that our growth has been slow but it has been consistent and we love the goodwill that we have been able to create over the years. We have been able to create fabulous fits with a lot of emphasis on detailing. I can very humbly admit that our finishing is top notch [one that we constantly struggle to achieve] and has gifted me more salt and pepper hair that many my age. LOL! I have been quite fortunate to be named one among the BEST 50 Dressed Men in the Country by GQ. so there is some cheer to my personal style statement making an impression. Proud to put Chennai on the fashion map!!

 

Tell me about the man you envision wearing your design.

 

Interestingly it caters to two extremes… any one who loves to and dares to be a tad different and daring [one who celebrates STYLE] and the other who is classic with emphasis on fit, quality of material and respect for detailing [one who celebrates CLASS].

 

What were your expectations from ILSW — and of course Bengaluru?

 

For starters... wanted my show to start on time..which it did not. Had a lot of other ideas to execute — to add some oomph to the show — but sadly rain played super spoilsport that evening :-(

 

Lastly​ how do you keep yourself calm and peaceful during the few days that dictate the season's business — aside from pre-show jitters?

 

I'm never calm nor peaceful... I'm constantly thinking, on how anything we have done or created, can be made even better!! I’m mostly never satisfied and have a particular fondness of making mine and everyone else's life more miserable when it comes to doing something right and the manner in which it needs to be done. How can a perfectionist ever be happy? Completely out of question!! :-))
 

Vivek Karunakaran at India Luxury Style Week
 
Vivek Karunakaran at India Luxury Style Week
 
Vivek Karunakaran at India Luxury Style Week
 
04-JUNE-2017
 
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