Kalamkari turns chic
Kalamkari comes with certain stereotypical images. Perhaps as a sari or dupatta. Or maybe as a salwar-kurta set or the intrepid have made blouses out of them. It is a fabric that has met with little innovation and the stereotypes haven't helped. Vivek Karunakaran, however, with his latest collection, ‘Tres Chic', hopes to set things moving for Kalamkari in the right direction. He hopes to be a catalyst of change for a fabric “that hasn't seen much innovation in the last 100 years”.
He showcased the collection as part of the final show at the Kochi International Fashion Week turned stereotypes on their heads. Kalamakari wed grunge, and what a wedding that was! It is an avatar hitherto unexpected of Kalamkari. For instance there is the classic little grunge dress. The kalamakari part of the garment gives it a neat twist and taking it, as Vivek says, to the realm of haute. Vivek has given a high fashion spin to the fabric. “We have attempted to give the fabric an international never before done look,” says Vivek. Tunics must be the closest the fabric has come to looking different, he adds.
Layered silhouettes in dark/deep colours bear the stamp of grunge (inspired by the grunge musicians). Although grunge spells a look carelessly put together, Vivek in this collection adds chic. Besides layered silhouettes, “I have used techniques such as pleating, gathers and ombrey dyeing (shaded). I have styled and fashioned the fabric in such a way that it is high fashion.” Not content with these he has treated the fabric differently by adding varied trimmings such as metallic zippers and sequins.
With this collection Vivek moves away, drastically, from the look of his Resort Wear line. The Resort wear line was light and breezy in cool summery colours. The grunge colours, generally, are shades of grey, maroon, forest green, indigo, brown, white and black. These also happen to be the colours of Kalamakari too. The look is darker and more solid than the last collection. Grunge brings to mind images of carelessly put together ensembles. It has inspired but does not dictate. His collection is chic.
Vivek says that they worked with craftsmen in Srikalahasti (the home of Kalamkari) on the design of the textile as well. “The designs are an amalgamation of the New Age graphics and traditional motifs,” he says. He has used the motifs stylistically as design elements.
What kind of woman is this collection designed for? “The New Age woman who is bold, unapologetic (of her choices) and ready to experiment. Who fearlessly puts together different things in her ensemble.”