Sabyasachi's age of innocence
Sabyasachi's work resounds with a sense of utter freshness and intelligence. For a relative newcomer he shows an astounding maturity. He will be a major national and international design force.
In his short career he has built a considerable reputation for amongst other things his powerful colour sensibility, but in his refusal to be stereotyped he maintained a total absence of colour throughout this new collection. All interest came from contrasting textures and intriguing silhouettes.
The collection was inspired, in part, by the streets of Victorian London and Calcutta, defined by Sabyasachi's ethos of cross cultural fashion and his desire to portray a sense of innocence and naiveté both as an anti-war protest and as a reaction against the hard edged punk/combat themes currently so prevalent in western fashion.
The silhouettes were varied and multi-faceted. Often layered or oversized. Off the shoulder cotton knits over more skimpy body hugging knits; long knit cardigans over tiered skirts; ruched and smocked detached sleeves worn with sleeveless vests or camisoles. Dhoti-like pants caught at the ankle with buckled straps on the guys, or under short, tailored western jackets by the girls; saris were so stylized that they were barely recognizable. Guys wore long kurtas over pajama pants cropped to the lower calf. Otherwise mens' trousers were straight, wide and ankle length. Skirts flowed long, often paneled. The collection was accessorized with boxing gloves, oversized swagbags, crocheted shoulder bags, tiffin carriers gold plimsoles, extra long scarves.
It's a cool life for Priyadarshini Rao
Rao's design was guided by her inner impulses, heavily inspired by her favourite music. Her models walked to Janis Joplin, Led Zepplin and Portishead. But there was nothing heavy, aggressive or depressive about this collection. She described the feel as 'street grunge' but the women's collection had lost none of Rao's signature femininity and freshness. The men's wear was classic, relaxed cool. Easy wear.
The palette was soft muted pastels: lilac, mint, blue, pink. The lines were clean and soft: an Indo-west mix of component parts that gave a balanced whole.
A striking point of interest was the clever inset of contrasting fabric either as bias cut panels inset into long flowing skirts or into structured pleats. Skillful and effective, this was a refreshing change from the layered look favoured by many designers this season.
All her fabrics are comfortable naturals. She made great use of ramie mixed with silk to give a cool translucency. Whilst taffeta was 'grunged up', Rao says she wants her clothes to represent a lifestyle, to give people 'a sense of themselves'.
A fine collection from one of our brightest young talents!