So the season of high-end Indian fashion and couture has already kick-started in the capital and the next in row is the BMW India Bridal Week, which begins from August 7 and will be on till August 11 at the DLF Emporio mall. Now this edition features an esteemed line-up of Indian designers, but the most-awaited show of this edition (which is also the opening show for this edition) for most of us will be Mumbai-based couturiers Abu Jani and Sandeep Khosla’s ode to “Varanasi.” One of the most reputed couturiers of the country (who will be celebrating the 29th year of their partnership) give Miss Junebug an exclusive interview about how their exquisite journey on the ghats of Varansi that inspired an amazing line of handcrafted ensembles.
We have always worked with textiles from Varanasi, mention the designers, adding, “However our mission now is to deepen our relationship with the city and its astonishing pool of talent, its weavers. Just as we have done so in the past with Chikankari in Lucknow, indigenous embroideries and mirror work from Tharad in Gujarat and Zardozi in Bareilly. This Collection isn’t the culmination of a journey but rather a first step. As designers we are passionate about the traditional and re-imagining it in order to give it new expression through our couture.”
Speaking about the inspiration behind this extravagant show that will feature bustling ghats of the city and the famous aarti in a form of tableau, the duo hints that “Varanasi is the star of this show” and may it surprise everyone. They reveal about how as artists this place was also a part of their personal journey through textiles and crafts. “The ghats of Varanasi are where life and death meet — creation, destruction and the eternal flow or journey of the soul is represented by the Ganga, which is indestructible and all the rest which is temporary. The ghats represent the mind, body and soul. We couldn’t think of any better ‘place’ to set our homage to this eternal city in. This show is a tribute to Varanasi and all that it inspires in us as men and designers,” mentions the duo.
The collection ‘Varansi’ by AJSK has been divided in five sub-collections namely: Vrindavan, The ghats of Varansi, Aisha, Lotus and Pashu\Animal. The beautiful Benarsi silk saris, brocades, georgettes and silver and gold work on the ensembles in a pure Indian colour palette has been reinterpreted by the designers for this range. Speaking about the challenges to reinvent the ancient heritage crafts from the loom the designers mention, “To create something new is part and parcel of any creative process or collection whether it is art or fashion or product design or music and literature. One has certain preferred aesthetics, style sensibilities and design principles, all of which are both innate and constant. The challenge and the inner calling for us were to give it a new life, new forms and new standards. Repetition is deathly for an artist’s soul — and any artist worth their name always avoids sameness and aspires for constant reinvention. It is a challenge but being challenged is what one lives for. We hope each and every range within the collection is interesting to the viewer. If they weren’t to us we wouldn’t have created them.”
(Photo credits: Ram Shergill copyright)