The very idea of handloom in India used to be something frumpy, austere and de-glam. If there's one designer who has singlehandedly changed that perception with her radical approach to reinterpreting and innovating crafts it is Anavila Misra.
Over the last few seasons, she's emerged to be the leading voice of stunningly handcrafted and hand-woven saris, where every weave and thread could tell a story of their own. Reviving ancient crafts and recontextualising them like a pro has come to be her USP.
Should we call it haute handloom or chic craftsmanship? Mixing linen, khadi and silk like a potent cocktail - the designer has carved her niche among style junkies, who are looking beyond the tried and tested sequins and brocades.
Theme: The line was titled, 'Blur'. It was an enlightening fashion blur that educated the audience on the finer aspects of the colour black and how it can be the bright ‘light’ in a woman’s wardrobe.
Ambience: The gravel patterned ramp, dried leaves and mounds of rocks were placed strategically on the ramp, while an arch of foliage on the stage created the mood for the show.
Music: The music was soulful and tranquil transporting one into a zen state of mind while also complementing the thoughts behind each creation.
Whites, greys, pastels have always been the Anavila mainstay, but this season, her idea of femininity was rather formidable. She pictured a noir muse, who is her own individual and is unencumbered by any need to conform to a stereotype. The solid black tones set the all-pervading vibe of strength and mystery. However, she softened it with a hint of romanticism. She married style with comfort by mixing saris with easy breezy separates.
She also toyed with hand block prints and peppered her creations with hand embroidery and batik thus pushing surface texturing to a new level. An intriguing canvas of luscious silk, wool and khadi in tones of black, grey, navy blue and wine was truly a sight to behold. While the colour palette stayed true to the moody monochromes, the designer sprinkled a sliver of deep navy and wine for the much-needed pop. Metallic accents, stripes and two-tones were the recurring motifs of this seminal offering.
Every show of Anavila becomes the talking point thanks to its ingenious styling and this show too, had interestingly draped pallus, saris worn over pants and also layered under trench coats. And the best part was that every styling adventure happened without compromising the soul and purity of the sari.
The highlight of the look created by Lakmé Makeup Expert, Donald Simrock, were the drama-accented eyes with amplified smoked lashes and the use of black and grey on the inner waterline.
The look was sealed with a sheer but soaked- berry colour on the lips. Models sported artfully disheveled and frizzy, big hair adding to the allure of the show.
What we loved
The line offered a holistic closet comprising a diverse array of blouses, trench coats, jackets with bias cuts, frills, pleats and intriguing collars. Pants were often the choice of style with the sari instead of the conventional petticoat.
If a sari isn't your comfort outfit, Anavila’s collection offered an assortment of tunics, gilets, pleated pants, pin tucked dresses, boleros, pant suits, belted coats, sheer midis, a batwing midi and even a jumpsuit to choose from.
Spotted in the front row
Mandira Bedi, Sonali Kulkarni, Dia Mirza, Ira Dubey, Mini Mathur and Mansi Scott.
Anavila has proved that the sari is the purest form of a couture dress and its relevance and utilitarian appeal remains undiluted.