The recently concluded Lakmé Fashion Week brought the best designers in the country together. Aisha Rao presented her new collection Trencadís. Known for her bold graphic prints, appliqué technique and maximalist aesthetics, Hyderabad-based designer Aisha Rao’s collection is a line-up of striking, chromatically-inspired ensembles that capture the essence of Barcelona’s sculptural and architectural masterpieces. The showcase featured Rao’s signature appliqué lehengas characterised by freedom of form, voluptuous colour and texture, and organic unity. Closing the show for the designer was showstopper Tara Sutaria in the brand’s signature appliqué lehenga adorned by motifs.
Luxebook had a candid chat with Aisha Rao to know more about her collection.
Bold graphic prints have always been a mainstay in every Aisha Rao collection; what can we expect in the new collection?
With Trencadís, I bring architecture, art and literature from the Catalan culture with exuberant prints for the contemporary global mood of the generation. The city of Barcelona inspired me to design this collection. While designing this collection, I looked at the works of some of the greatest exponents of Catalan Modernism — Antoni Gaudí and Josep Maria Jujol.
Their work exhibited brilliant use of colour and intricately executed mosaics — much like what we do at Aisha Rao. While researching, the colour connection between Spain and India became more pronounced and this fusion became the foundation of the line-up this year.
I translated this inspiration into design metaphors of sorts. So it’s not just the use of art deco motifs or the colour — the prints go beyond the traditional stained-glass mosaics while letting the geometry and abstraction shine through. The Art Deco, Art Nouveau, and East-inspired motifs come together like a Venn diagram reflecting a cross-disciplinary synthesis.
Describe the bride of today, and how has her style evolved over the years?
The new-age bride is looking to be comfortable yet confident and powerful, and style an outfit to make it her own. Today’s confident and powerful brides no longer want just any traditional lehenga. They want something that truly reflects who they are. It could be classic or edgy, muted or colourful but it has to resonate with who she is.
Tell us a little about the new techniques, silhouettes and colours we can expect to find in the new Aisha Rao collection.
The collection features our signature appliqué lehengas with voluptuous colours and textures. There are also sarees and dresses in our prints inspired by complex geometries and the expressionist vision of the panoramas in Spain. The showcase also brings a good dose of sparkle to the forefront. We’ve done a lot of pantsuits, power suits, and functional separates and many outfits are encrusted in sequins making them perfect for day-to-night dressing.
What are your signature styles we can expect to find?
Our signature styles feature prints and patterns with time-tested embroidery techniques like aari work, luminous zardozi, and pitta work while using fabrics like tissue, organza, and exuberant raw silks, along with lightweight and wearable georgette. We’ve introduced a new kind of pre-draped sarees now to the collection. They look like a 6-yard saree draped conventionally but are pre-stitched. As mentioned, power suits and pant suits for women and whimsy printed shirts for men.
Does sustainable find a place in your new collection? If yes, how?
We are trying to propagate the idea that beautiful design can stem from waste. They’re not mutually exclusive.
Our appliqué lehengas stemmed from that principle of minimizing waste. To use up all our lining waste into embellishing our lehengas.
In the past, we’ve used Tesla as an example. Making your product aspirational to a buyer because of its design and aura and not only because it’s sustainable or the right thing to do forms the core of our brand ideology.
Sustainability in all areas of one’s life is an absolute necessity and no longer a choice. Why not embrace it even on the most special days of your life as well?
Less is more for many in today’s world; do you agree?
For me, less is definitely more in terms of quantities now. I’ve started actively consuming less in terms of the number of things I buy. The clutter now bothers me. I just don’t want to own too much owing to my eco-anxiety with respect to climate change.
Post-pandemic weddings are finally back, what does the wedding season look like for you? How have the bride and groom’s choices changed?
People post-pandemic are more open to different things. They’ve gone easy on the norms. I have seen brides opt for sleeveless cholis for their weddings which wasn’t the case earlier at least in my experience.
If you were to style a bride for her wedding festivities, what would you pick?
If I were to style a bride for her wedding festivities I would do a rust orange or fiery red look for the wedding, a playful edgy lehenga with pockets for the sangeet/mehndi and an ethereal look in tulle for the cocktails/reception.