Embellished & elegant fusion wear
Hand-painted garments have remained fashion designer Neeta Bhargava's, who is participating in the Lakme India Fashion Week (LIFW) for the third time this year, forte for the last 10 years.
This time for the LIFW, Bhargava, a Fine Arts graduate from Allahabad University for whom designing is an extension of working on the canvas, has concentrated on a western silhouette. "My collection, titled Techno-Poetic, starts with pret, and moves on to diffusion," says Bhargava of her collection, which is a departure from her trademark fusion wear. "The accent is on contemporising traditional techniques and giving them a modern twist," she adds.
The entire collection is inspired by jewellery, so there are ornate neckpieces hand-painted on every garment from skirts to shirts, bustiers and trousers. "It's a labourious process. First the plain fabric is pained, then it is steamed and washed, and later sent for style and cut. Though georgette is the only fabric on which fabric paints work well, this time I've also tried to work on silk in its various avatars — taffeta as well as woven and textured silks. All the fabric paints are imported, as I want to make sure they don't run or fade after the first wash," informs Bhargava.
Her faith in hand painting has been reinforced after a recent visit to New York. "I have seen scarves at Macy's and Lord & Taylor priced as exorbitantly as US $1,000. There they realise the value of hand-made stuff unlike in India as labour here is cheap," says Bhargava.
Bhargava, who finds designing a creative release, is optimistic about the future of the sari despite the onslaught of westernwear. "My show, slated for July 22, will showcase saris made out of a combination of various fabrics. For instance, panels of organza have been sown with georgette to create a new look, with the only embellishment being hand painting, which runs like a common thread through the entire collection," concludes Bhargava.