Sulakshana Monga’s latest collection — the one she showcased at FDCI India Couture Week 2019, aptly titled The Cultural Cascade: Varanasi, brought out Indian heritage and culture in its true colours. Eccentric and opulent, each piece is handcrafted to bring out a fresh perspective on Indian aesthetics.
The collection was vastly influenced by Varanasi. Actually, the designer had gone to the city to source and innovate some fabrics like organza in brocade when she got sucked into the city’s spiritually. “The atmosphere there has a vibe so special that it makes you feel rooted to India. People there use lots of colour in their attires. Colours which don’t even gel with each other look so beautiful when worn by them,” says Monga.
“I was impressed by the variety of colours in temples and in the city’s flora and fauna as also its architecture. That’s why I decided to use all these features in my new collection. We have tried to showcase the ghats of Varanasi, the bells and the jharokhas in this collection,” she adds.
The designer used seven colours —red, fuchsia, baby pink, lavender, yellow orange and green — in the collection, giving a lot of power and individualism to each piece.
Apart from bridal lehengas, which is her forte, the collection comprises gowns, pants and skirts for bridesmaids. “The gowns are scientifically made so that there is enough bounce but no heaviness,” she says.
While there is a liberal use of nakshi, dabka, sequins, Swarovski, ghungroos, tapes, feathers, raffia and laces in the bridal lehengas to give them an extravagant look, Western gowns too have not been left untouched by the embroidery, nakshi and dabka. “We have used 3D flowers in organza on gowns for giving a rich look,” she adds.
Each piece in collection is different yet connected to the others in some mystical way, be it an ethnic Indian lehenga or its more Western counterpart gown. As she says, “These pieces are rooted in tradition and yet modern, all different from each other yet connected together.”
Designing clothes has been a passion for this designer, who has been in the profession for nearly three decades. Ask her what has changed in these years and she is quick to reply, “Nothing when it comes to a woman’s desire to look good. But yes, fashion has become more professional, global and technical then it was back then. Earlier, Indian designers churned out only traditional Indian clothes while now they bring out clothes for global women.”
And this is what Monga has tried to present in her new collection — ancient Indian culture in contemporary style in a way that has global appeal.