How uncanny for me to touch base with a designer who can’t look beyond lines and dots – an abstract summation of rain in its season!!
Few days ago I met Artisau’s young designer – Simran Chaudhary, who was sporting a short bob speckled with white hair, wearing a muslin white and grey striped shirt teamed with black pants and criss cross sandals, at a cafe. As requested she carried some pcs., in a Khamir – recycled plastic woven bag, skillfully hand stitched and detailed women’s line in Chanderi and handwoven Bengal muslin (using a unique ikat technique).
Without following trends on most occasions, donning her tunics, boho tops, kurtas and pyjama pants in Mary Poppin colours with breezy cuts seemed perfect…… as my hips don’t lie.
Early in life Simran learnt sewing from her grandmother and aunts on a crank handle sewing machine. She began with dresses for her Barbie dolls and during her teens stitched clothes for herself, not without her stripes fixation.
Later, she went onto graduating from NIFT, Gandhinagar, with a fashion design degree. Studying at a premier Design College she thoroughly enjoyed drawing, illustrations, weaving and crafts. It was Bhujodi – a small town near Bhuj, in Gujarat which opened her eyes to contemporizing traditional crafts without the excitement of its kitschiness. Since centuries a certain tribe has been using only natural shades of camel hair like ivory, beige, charcoal and black for their embroidery. This evolution with a restricted colour palette is certainly commendable in terms of its permutations and combinations.
As per the designer, in her Summer15 collection lines and dots lend a certain character which has a universal appeal and can be strikingly feminine, even sans florals. So every season she will like to stick to these elements to create classics, and adhere to the principles of slow fashion.
Admiring her clothing line I noticed the detailing inspired from crafts, and incorporated in a very sterile manner.
As an artist, she too spoke to me about her influences, e.g. an American film director and screenwriter – Wes Anderson‘s film Darjeeling Limited. In it, the Indian colours have beautifully accentuated the trimmings of bygone imperial grandeur to create an exotic India in all its glory. Infact, her winter collection has drawn colour inferences from Anderson’s another hit – The Grand Budapest Hotel.
But it is the fashion and culture of the black and white era which keeps her mesmerized. Those movies, she believes, combated elusiveness with sharp silhouettes and mannerisms without ever looking vulgar or over the top, instead were pieces of art put together in different frames.
And from the design world, Simran connects with the aesthetics of Yohji Yamamoto – the influential Japanese fashion designer, Charles Correa – the Indian architect and Abraham and Thakore – Indian fashion designer duo, who have mentored for 4 ½ yrs.
Now I understand how the process of developing a design gave her a high, and could have attributed hugely to Artisau’s simplicity becoming the ultimate form of sophistication.