By Payel Majumdar Upreti
It was all ‘fire and ice’ at Samant Chauhan’s opening show themed around glaciers and ice at the Atelier in Lakme Fashion Week 2023. What began as a muted presentation of white soon became a canvas for a presentation of pops of colours as models paraded his latest visions and brought them to life. We were able to spot several naked dresses, various silhouettes brought upon with the power of drapes, and plenty power shoulders and shackets over silk dresses and tulle trains. LuxeBook caught up with the designer behind the scenes to get a hint of how the atelier is evolving this time around. Excerpts:
Tell us about your collection ‘Ice Watch’
Photo : Perfect Shadows / FDCI x Lakme Fashion Week / RISE Worldwide
‘Ice Watch’ is a splendid collection, aptly christened to draw viewers into its otherworldly enchantment and convey a poignant message that aligns with the vulnerability of glaciers. Within this collection, you’ll discover a testament to our profound fascination with the pristine beauty and delicacy of ice, a theme deeply ingrained in my artistic spirit. Over the years, I found myself irresistibly attracted to the immaculate beauty and captivating charm of snow and ice. The way they glisten and transform the world around them has become an indelible part of my artistic essence. It’s as though these frozen landscapes harbor secrets and narratives yearning to be shared.
The collection represents the tangible culmination of this lifelong obsession. In this collection, I’ve channeled my passion and reverence for ice and glaciers into each piece, imbuing them with the very essence of these awe-inspiring elements. My aspiration is that, when the audience encounters ‘Ice Watch’, they won’t simply witness a fashion collection but will also partake in the entrancing fascination that has driven me throughout my life. It serves as an invitation to explore the exquisite beauty and fragility of the natural world through the prism of fashion.
How far has sustainable practices disrupted the fashion industry?
Sustainable practices have significantly disrupted the fashion industry. We’ve witnessed a growing shift towards eco-friendly materials, ethical production processes, and responsible consumption. This transformation reflects a more conscientious approach to fashion, addressing environmental and social concerns, and it’s reshaping the industry’s future.
How do you incorporate it in your work?
I incorporate sustainable practices into my work by immersing myself in the rich tapestry of Indian crafts and the communities that preserve them. It starts with a deep understanding of the history, techniques, and cultural importance of these crafts. I actively seek out and support artisans and craftspeople, forging collaborations with brands and designers who prioritize fair wages and sustainable methods. My mindset has shifted from the pace of fast fashion to a focus on quality and longevity. I invest in pieces that are expertly crafted and possess a timeless quality. Handcrafted items often carry a unique narrative and the potential to endure for generations.
What homegrown crafts have been highlighted in this collection?
Hailing from Bhagalpur, a city celebrated for its rich silk-weaving heritage, my designs pay homage to the profound influence of my roots on my perspective as a designer. In this collection, I’ve adorned my creations with a range of silk varieties, including Organza Silk, Cotton Silk, and the renowned Bhagalpuri Silk. The incorporation of Bhagalpuri Silk goes beyond being a mere design choice; it serves as a tribute to the time-honored craftsmanship of my hometown. Each piece featuring Bhagalpuri Silk carries the legacy of this artistry, with its distinct textures and subtle luster.
Furthermore, Bhagalpuri Silk lends an air of grace and refinement to the collection, harmonizing with the enchanting theme of ice and snow. It represents a seamless fusion of tradition and contemporary design, where the past and present meld to create a timeless fashion experience. Bhagalpur silk not only informs my design perspective but also imparts ‘Ice Watch’ with a profound sense of heritage and artistry that holds great personal significance to me.
How have you worked with different silhouettes in this collection?
I’ve made every effort to seamlessly blend the timeless elegance of Bhagalpur silk with contemporary fashion aesthetics. The showcased silhouettes encompass a wide range, from avant-garde gowns to jacket dresses, featuring a diverse array of necklines, including sweethearts, off-shoulders, halter necks, and V-necks. The sleeve options are equally diverse, ranging from sleeveless to puffer sleeves, Victorian sleeves, capes, and artistic styles.
What distinguishes these garments are the exquisite key embroideries, which encompass beadwork, sequins, pintucks, quiltings, ribbon work, and hand-thread embroideries. Swirling lines, abstract shapes, and geometric patterns gracefully embellish the fabric, imparting each piece with a touch of artistic brilliance. Within this collection, the inspiration drawn from glaciers is ingeniously translated into a plethora of variations, resulting in categories such as long gowns, short gowns, bridal trousseau, jacket dresses, bodycon dresses, and more, each bearing the unmistakable stamp of craftsmanship and creative ingenuity.
Tell us about Jim Sarbh being a part of the showcase, and how he fits your vision.
Jim Sarbh’s presence in the showcase was truly special. As an integral part of Samant Chauhan’s “Ice Watch” collection, he truly embodied the essence of the collection and aligned perfectly with the vision. Jim beautifully encapsulated the essence of the collection. His words about the connection with nature’s elegance and the importance of cherishing and protecting the delicate beauty of glaciers resonated with the message we aimed to convey.
The collection offered a range of options, from long gowns to short formal wear, jacket dresses, bodycon silhouettes, and bridal trousseaux, catering to various fashionable preferences. His participation added an extra layer of significance to the showcase, and I am thrilled with the success of this season at Lakmé Fashion Week in partnership with FDCI. The collection is a manifestation of my lifelong fascination with snow and my hope that the audience connected with the message it aimed to convey.
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