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Runway Report

As we walked into the MSA, The fragrance of mogra was thick in the the air owing to a canopy of flowers and a leaf-wrapped gajra on each seat. Set to D Club live vocals and synchronised clapping and foot stomping to add the beat — with no instrument or taped music throughout — which had every single person in the packed-to-the-rafters auditorium mesmerised before it even began, Sanjay Garg opened Amazon India Fashion Week with contemporary and classic Indian styles weaved with Mashru silk.


There is a revivalist story here. "The weaving of Mashru started during the Ottoman Empire and travelled to India via the Gulf to Gujarat more than a century ago. Post 1940s there was no production of the textile. Our re-interpretation of Mashru brought the skill set to the weaving community in Banaras. The work has involved interventions to make Mashru silk relevant and luxurious" revealed the designer in his collection note. Made in Banaras, the silhouettes were minimalist, using straight and angled cuts, doing away with darts and curves. At first look, it was a deceptively simple collection. On a closer look, I could only admire the sheer depth of talent. I loved the way Garg limited Mashru to sari borders and combined it with cotton so it could be draped with ease. Or the way he relied on the wefts and warps of the textile to give subtle sheen. Or play of proportion with the central motif evocative of gold sovereigns. All of it culminated in the jugalbandi of ancient textile and handloom techniques to craft a beautiful line of rani pink, emerald free and regal purple saris, chogas, kurtas with lehenga skirts and a dupatta embellished with threadwork peacock motifs and long jackets paired with a kurta and pencil pants. The showing wrapped up with bridal lehengas.


My last impression was that the collection of clean, sculptural looks could be styled in myriad combinations. With no theatrical set and music, ornate jewellery, statement make-up or hairdos, the look was simple, subtly luxurious and traditional, with focus firmly on the ensembles. "Braiding and oiling hair are commonplace. There is a certain pride in sporting that look or well tied hair," he explained after the showing. Theres a new, proud wave of showcasing Indian fashion — and its here to stay. (7.10.2015)


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