Dhaka’s collection, which gave a modern twist to the gota patti work of Rajasthan and Uttar Pradesh, was combined with other extensive embroidery elements as well. “Indian history has so many techniques and methods that one can spend a whole lifetime imbibing them in clothes,” said Dhaka. “We’ve done gota in the past but I wanted to do a light, not bulky version this time. So we created our own using thin doris that were hemmed on surfaces like tinsel sheers and lace-like fabric, keeping the garments light and easy,” she said.
Elements of zardozi, kamdani, ari, lace and metallic gota patti were set against a lace-like background, contrasted by Mughal animal paintings depicted on fur-lined velvet capes. The collection also focussed on the use of a whole ensemble as separates.
“Separates in Indian wear have a long way to go, therefore, we have used a lot of such pieces in this collection that can be mixed and matched with other garments,” Dhaka explained.
Silhouettes such as skirt saris, shararas, lehngas teamed with embroidered kurtis/cholis/capes supported the designer’s argument. Mustard, pink, deep red and dull gold dominated the colour palate. Bollywood actresses Malaika Arora Khan walked the ramp in a nude-hued sari with prominent patti motif, while another actress, Nimrat Kaur, shone in a silver and red lehenga.
Meanwhile, Modi used embroideries inspired from art and architecture such as that of the paintings of the Ajanta-Ellora caves. And Manikarnika, she said, was a woman of the past, reborn in the present, bringing back the regal era. Accordingly, various traditional Indian silhouettes came with a twist, such as the dhoti teamed with long/short/assymetrical jackets and kurtas, or saris that were worn as dhotis.
Gold patina borders, gold dust borders and zardozi that exude luxury and are reminiscent of robes worn by the royalty of yore, were the main materials used. These were combined with earthy, sepia tones like sand, old rose and rich jewel tones of burgundy, ruby and emerald, all harking back to the past. Ethnic gold jewellery such as neckpieces, chokers, kadas and mathapattis along with embroidered velvet juties completed the opulent look.
The showstopper for Modi’s collection, actress Kangana Ranaut, actually took everyone’s breath away in a heavily embroidered black skirt teamed with a full sleeved embroidered choli.