There’s an element of eccentricity that jumps out at you when you look at Kallol Datta’s creations. They’re a manifestation of his own anomalous personality, whether it’s his long hair, the kohl-lined eyes, or the nose ring. The designer’s showing at Lakme Fashion Week Winter/ Festive ’16 last week included a collection stepped in innovation.
Models dressed in monochrome-hued cotton shirts with tie-up sleeves, drawstring skinnies, drop shoulder dresses, tasselled sarees and patialas took to the ramp, embodying the dark mood associated with Datta’s shows.
The Kolkata-based designer, whose label Kallol Datta 1955, has become synonymous with a certain kind of deconstructed, anti-fit style, states that this collection did not veer too far from his sensibilities. And because his creations are popularly perceived as bold and provocative, he adds that they cater to more mature women, who are above a certain age. “I always feel that older women have so much more self-worth. Not just women, but men too. Up to five years back, you would always see me wearing something particular but now as I grow older, I just couldn’t be bothered,” he says. Singer Sona Mohapatra and hairstylist Sapna Bhavnani are frequently seen in his designs.
Datta’s collection, titled 2017 Low Res, featured interesting additions like 3D foil panels and circle sleeves, elements which he says were inspired by what he had been reading about loss of information in the digital age. “We lose so much data and information every day, whether through papers getting eroded or encrypted files getting corrupted. I’m interested in how we redact information, we figure what’s the metadata in what seem like a destroyed piece of document. The way I’ve cut the patterns, there are lots of hidden elements that will be known only to the wearer,” he says.
Growing up in the Middle East influenced his sensibilities, says the NIFT and Central Saint Martins alumnus. “African and Middle Eastern silhouettes, long billowing robes and abayas are prominent in what I do. I wear them myself,” he says. A pleasant surprise in the fabrics was his experimentation with velvet in this collection. “I always look for interesting textures, which people wouldn’t ideally think belong to me, like silk velvet. I had no clue how it would drape and after I cut a pattern, how the velvet would form. It was interesting to work with,” he says, adding that he will never do a velvet choli, lehenga or gown.
For critics who term his designs brooding and dark, Datta says that that’s the only normal he’s known. “Applications change everything. If I was a graphic designer, maybe my designs wouldn’t be considered so morbid.”
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From HT Brunch, September 2, 2016
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