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Runway Report

Having been to Varanasi last month, and spent hours in looms, had enlightening conversations with artisans and admired their intricately embellished handloom, I had high expectation from Niteesh Singh Chauhan’s "Ghats of Varanasi" at India Beach Fashion Week. The designer seemed to have harvested deep inspiration from one of the the oldest cities in the nation.


Niteesh had deftly distilled the colours, drama and grandeur of Varanasi. The ideas were endless. He highlighted fabrics with shibori and leheriya dyeing techniques. Within the oeuvre of this traditional regional look, the designer offered a greater degree of wearability than one might at first think. With turbans, corsage and white tikka adding a theatrical touch, he sent out gilded kalidaar kurtas that gently traced the lines of the body to a few inches above the ankle and were worn with churidars, long-sleeve chogas, embroidered waistcoats, brocade pants, achkans and sherwanis with palazzos—layered with shrugs and asymmetric sadries. The sleeveless bundis were worn with kurtas, in contrasting hues of red, yellow or orange in a masculine collection which, when de-geeked for reality will have broader range for male buyers than their runway personas may suggest.


What came through strongest in this collection was the sense of how to elevate regional clothes, which have been missing—and much missed, too—in this past week. All in all, an upbeat uplifting way to transform the look and feel of regional fashion to make it alluring to Gen Now. It’s the kind of collection that will reward an up-close look—dense with detail and hidden meanings, and totally irresistible. do hope to see successive collections from Niteesh Singh Chauhan, each one intensifying in mastery, as he continues to research handcrafted handloom fabrics and motifs.



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