The 11th edition of India Couture Week 2018 (ICW), described as the country’s most extravagant showcase of opulence and crafts witnessed Amit Aggarwal’s debut this season. Amit Aggarwal who has long pioneered in engineering modern and innovative couture showcased his ‘Crystalis’ collection which is inspired by two wondrous natural phenomena, the formation of crystals at a molecular level and the enveloping of the metallic chrysalis around a butterfly cocoon.
The collection showcase saw experimental textiles created using modern industrial materials applied through traditional Zardozi and Ari hand techniques. A range of hand crafted three-dimensional embroideries in various crystalline and bio mimicked forms and motifs which gave fabrics a unique visual and tactile quality were also on display. The color palette for Crystalis consisted of metallic shades of rose gold, silver, pewter and light gold along with jewel tones of rose quartz, silver onyx, emerald, amethyst, topaz and sapphire bringing the designs to life gracefully.
One of the most compelling visuals in the presentation were the extensive silhouettes morphing different aspects of traditional Indian and western couture shapes with each other and infusing them with structure and form. This aspect was showcased using a range of sophisticated cording, plisse and topstitched fabrications, laboriously designed and crafted in-house. Sharply cut innovative patterns, that accentuate and enhance the female form, were combined with incredibly sculptural yet agile fabrications that dramatically drape around the body, creating a new and inimitable couture language.
In keeping with the concept of the collection, hair & makeup was a result of the idea of an angular form of a crystal and the curvilinear form of a cocoon called chrysalis. As a blend, it was a flat and chic swirl on one side and angular on the other.
For footwear, the collaboration with Nidhi Bhandari worked supremely well when a range of the Amit Aggarwal textile techniques, were employed to craft the shoes, composing each couture look to the final detail. To complete the look, Indieye glasses worked brilliantly because of their angular and architectural shape.
As part of his Couture 2018 presentation, Amit Aggarwal brought to life a series of collaborations for jewellery, footwear and textiles with some of the leading designers and artists from across the country. Together with Tanira Sethi he created one-of-a kind, engineered and embellished cashmere draped pieces. The fabrics were meticulously woven in France using specialized machinery and subsequently embroidered and sculpted at the Amit Aggarwal studio to create innovatively draped couture designs. “As a textile designer, exploring pattern making and garment construction with Amit has been a riveting experience. His architectural inspired masterpieces with my cashmere lace textiles with geometric forms are flowy and drape beautifully”, says Tanira Sethi.
Stunning Outhouse jewellery was crafted by founders and jewellery designers Kaabia Grewal and Sasha Grewal, “It was an exciting showcase for us at India Couture Week 2018. All our pieces were inspired by various complex crystalline structures and intricate organic forms such as that of the metallic chrysalis cocoon. The glossy, metallic colours of the collection captured all the viewers’ eye. All our statements were designed to strike a perfect balance with Amit’s creative designs, that created a perfect fusion of sophistication and glamour.”
The showstopper, Shilpa Shetty Kundra stunned the showcase with a culmination of the collection in every way. She wore something that had all the elements from the collection right from colour, silhouette, structure and detail. The outfit was a very radiant plum which was holographic in its approach so as to catch the colours of the entire collection. Shilpa carried the modern and eclectic piece which was a drape with a feeling of a flared lehenga, completely contemporary for a new age bride.
The 3D-based set, designed by Abhhay Narkar and Aparna Nambiar was inspired by the core concept from the heart of the collection; the formation of crystals and chrysalis around the butterfly cocoon. “I wanted the set to resonate with the collection that we have created and the opulence and grandeur that is presented with it”, says designer, Amit Aggarwal.
The runway was designed in congruence with the concept and angular structures were enveloped with metallic yarns and recycled polymer sheet merging their identities. The sharp edges were softened with the organic characteristics of the yarns and each of these spaces contained multiple tensile yarn pyramids stacked together, forming a crystal-like installation. A special effect was the play with light: as the light passed through the pyramid structures, multiple linear shadows were formed as a visual delight. The colour palette consisted metallic shades of pewter and silver in the signature polymer details and metallic yarns, which was in harmony with the collection.
The set combined with a composition of beautiful ambience sounds composed with live recording of tabla, ghungroo and mridank blended in seamlessly with the collection presentation.
What are these crystals:
When molecules come together to form a highly ordered microscopic pattern, which then repeats itself infinitely, a crystal is formed. This phenomenon greatly resonates with the Amit Aggarwal design process, one that’s centered on forging unique materials together to create singular design units and then repeating them to create complex patterns, textiles and embroideries.
The form and texture of the design elements too have been specifically designed to be sharp, angular and crystalline in appearance to reflect this core inspiration.
The metallic encasing that forms around the cocoon of a butterfly, the chrysalis, has been a formative aesthetic influence in this collection in equal measure. The metallic and crystalline textiles sculpt, drape and travel in much the same way, eventually unravelling to reveal the elegant form of the female body.
Both concepts are bound at their very core by the idea of units, sometimes geometric and sometimes organic, coalescing together to form complex structural formations in the physical world.
Amit Aggarwal Couture 2018 collection ‘Crystalis’ will subsequently be available at the Amit Aggarwal Flagship store at The Kila Seven Style Mile, Mehrauli, New Delhi and other high-end retail stores nationwide.