This is the third season that the India-based Inter-National Institute of Fashion Design (INIFD) in association with The London School of Trends (LST) has joined forces under the mentorship of Creative Director, Joseph Anthony Toronka. This SS|18 “The New Rashtra” with Rashtra meaning Nation, is a showcase of traditional Indian craft techniques reworked with tech fabrics and transmuted into louched and relaxed silhouettes.
12 designers took to the catwalk and whilst they all married modern, covetable pieces with the fusion of traditional Indian heritage techniques, there were definitely two standout collections.
First off, Isha Jain’s inspiration was Gayatri Deyi, a prominent politician who was also known for her classic beauty. Jain captured this with her use of soft pastels and regal, decorative fabrics from local Indian fabrics. Her millennial pink pastel full- length dress captured the aesthetic of Deyi perfectly with an elegant sweeping silhouette with sassy thigh-high splits. Her modern interpretation of a salwar kameez (the traditional loose pleated trouser and tunic suit typical to the Indian subcontinent) was re-imagined into a mint green colour pop of matching draped bandage styled over the knee shorts with sleeveless off the shoulder tunic, reworking this iconic, traditional Indian garment into an entirely new silhouette.
The second standout designer was Pooja Goyal, who cited Rhythm and the River Ganga (the purest river in India) as the core definer of her collection. This dreamy collection of eveningwear utilised a maximalist amount of 3D embroidery techniques for the lashings of threads of tassels that gave the collection a striking waterfall effect. In motion these tiered and weighted garments gave them their own life, like the river itself. Favourite pieces included the grey off the shoulder maxi-tiered dress with metallic embroidered beads and the black full sparkle tasselled trousers with leg splits juxtaposed with a sheer nude shirt balloon sleeves and peep-hole back referencing nude as neutrality and black as safety in the Indian language.
Overall, within all of the collections, there was a richness and depth from all the designers, with esoteric allusions that sparked much thought and deliberation. The Buddha draped modern robes felt as if made for modern mystics by Bhavita Kundnani and Praniti Agrawal’s brilliant quirky hand-prints from classical dance were very covetable. They definitely all succeeded in marrying the modernism of covetable collections with traditional craftsmanship and we’re already looking forward to next season.