Wood carved into warrior-like armour, dresses crafted out of soya seeds and metal wires bent and moulded into jackets - there was plenty of the weird and wonderful on display at the Wills Lifestyle India Fashion Week this year. Designers, unwilling to compromise on their creativity, decided to show off those much-hyped technical skills.
Soya bean skirts
You’ve probably been advised to eat soya beans for a healthy meal, but Joyjit Talukdar decided to put his money where his mouth is and created garments using the bean for his label Ela. “We extract soya milk from the seeds and mix it with bamboo to create a yarn. The result is a fabric that’s richer and more like silk; yet has the ability to breathe like cotton,” he says. Great for the skin, and for the eco system. And up next, Talukdar is attempting to recreate the same concept with pineapple fibres mixed with silk.
Metal mesh jackets
Petite designer Rimzim Dadu’s idea was to take metal wires and create wearable clothes out of them. “It’s not the usual technique, so you cant go by the traditional rules of stitching and pattern making. I tried weaving some of the wires together, for which we had to create a special apparatus. Many of the garments took over 70 hours to create,” she says. Despite the stiff look of her creations, Dadu insists that the garments can be treated like any other. “They’re soft and malleable and can even be dry-cleaned,” she grins.
Always ready to push the envelope, designers Alpana and Neeraj decided that this time, they wanted to take inspiration from an unlikely source - carpentry. The result - wooden armour on elegant dresses. “We created a fabric on top of which we had this wooden effect. Then we had to heat-mould the strips together to fit the body like a cast,” reveals Alpana. But don’t worry about having to stand still for hours while tailors use irons to mould wood to your body, these also come in ready-to-wear sizes.
Woven on a grid
Pankaj and Nidhi apparently got bored of using the same styles, so they decided to play with fabric tapes instead of sheets of fabric. “But as we worked with them, either the tapes or the fabric would tear, and we realised it wouldn’t work the regular way,” says Pankaj. So instead, they created a grid, handmade out of threads, over which they wove the fabric tapes to create intricate patterns. The time taken from start to finish? 250 hours. “It’s worth it because people look at the garments and they can’t figure out how we’ve managed to do it,” says Pankaj.