Bollywood’s new designer

Bollywood’s new designer

Aditya Khandelwl’s new collection showcases his fashion sensibility, style and glamour, says Upasana Singh

For me, my collection is an ornament”, said Aditya Khandelwl. Casual kaftan tunics, layered dhoti pants, fusion statement jackets, crop-top with skirt lehengas, dramatic trouser-draped sari, and statement wedding pieces are part of his Spring-Summer collection.

Hailing from Bilaspur, a small town in Chhattisgarh, Khandelwl’s life made a 360 degree turn when he shifted gears from studies to fashion designing. Assisted by the ace designer Manav Gangwani, a surprising turn of events took him to Milan for higher studies in fashion and textile designing. “I was inspired by my mother’s Indian embroidered suits. I can safely say that my love for textile emerged from observing her wardrobe. Although I have been working with fabrics for nine years but initially it was not in the sphere of fashion but then eventually I decided to pursue studies in this sphere.”

He has been working hard on his label ADI, which Khandelwl aspires to see in every big store of India and abroad. The designer, whose label has been worn by the likes of Gauhar Khan, VJ Andy, Gurmeet and Debina and Mugdha Godse, has taken baby steps in the industry by opening his store.

With India as the hub of the fashion market, Khandelwl unveiled his wedding collection for the year. “As far as Indian Wedding market is concerned, we are majorly focussing on tunics and drapes. Coming up with some of the new concepts, trouser sari which is more of a cocktail piece. Then there are lehengas and gowns and drape-cut saris, drape blouses — all of which are a part of the collection this season,” said Khandelwl  and went on to add, “When a woman gets married, it’s not just the wedding outfit that has to be stunning but also her trousseau. Our 70 per cent target is trousseau as well as clothes for guests who are attending the wedding keeping in mind the taste and specification of the bride and groom.”

The designer shared that he likes to experiment with three basic elements —  drapes, colour and pattern. “Since I love playing around with drapes. We have embroidered tunics which are draped with Anarkalis. I have also mixed contrasting colours like mehendi green with gold which has peacock embroidery, mustard dhoti pants paired with traces of green. And the antique embroidery added elegance to it. I have also worked a lot with aqua shades so there are corals, greens and pinks. While choosing the contrasts, we made sure that these were not too blingy but ethereal and sophisticated.”

Such innovative mix of colours along with embellishments made the collection contemporary yet traditional. Khandelwl elaborated on what keeps both traditional and urban chic alive in his imagination. “My Indian wear is always contemporary in style. The colours are English while the embroidery is traditional which gives it a very Indian yet stylish look.” However amidst the many impressive patterns, what caught my attention was a floral print that was imprinted on almost every statement pieces of the designer. When asked if the designer loves flowers, or if it was used to give an expression to his creativity, he amusingly shared, “Yes, I have an immense love for flowers. It’s not just the collection but even if one visits my studio or home, you will find a lot of floral motifs all over the place. I have a close connect with floral motifs. Also, I challenge my creativity by using different floral motifs in every new collection. But it can also be traced to a lot of gardening which I did during my childhood and that helped me develop this unconditional love for florals.”

But florals did not just surface as prints, there were 3D motifs on a statement gown as well which highlighted his fashion sensibility. The peach gown with tonal embroidery had net detailing around the neck and was embellished with handmade small 3D floral attachments. Layered with fluffy cancan under-skirt, the tunic had french knots, shimmery sequin work and cutdana work which was entirely hand embroidered. The back was glamorously deep-cut in comparison to the front. “I don’t work a lot with big stones, heavy 3D works, over-blingy crystals and attention-focussed shimmer elements. I prefer giving each and every piece adequate elegance and sophistication”, said Khandelwl.

In an era where making a name in the fashion world is difficult, Khandelwl made a splash at the Amazon Fashion Week 2018. Talking about the theme and concept of his collection, he asserted, “During AIFF 2018, we worked on the idea of not keeping the collection season-specific but to be noticed in the market throughout the year. Anything that comes on the ramp, gets copied quickly and is all over the market for a month — only to be replaced by new trends. So we tried keeping the collection functional for any occasion or season.”

And accordingly, his collection had a lot of organza jackets paired with drape tunics. The Aladdin trouser was teamed up with a blouse while the top had a statement jacket to add a hint of glamour to it. “The layering on the pants is minimalistic so that the visibility of the cuts peep out. Also floral and thread work on the jackets create a style statement making it possible to be used as a separate piece when paired with other outfits.” 

The trouser-style sari was another one on the list. Not quite a traditional sari or a complete gown, the attire was contemporary in its own way. The drape pants are in georgette with marble prints, silk embroidery, cutdana work combined with sequins and motifs. “It looks lush without being typically exaggerated bling with the translucent net neckline.” 

The collection had intricate work where every piece had a touch of glamour to it. We asked the designer, what glamour means to him. He revealed, “Glamour for me is not just confined to showing off  the body but something that adds to one’s personality. Even walking the red carpet in a jeans and basic T-shirt can be a glamorous choice if the person carries it with grace.” Khandelwl believes that the sari is the perfect ageless attire that one can possess in their wardrobe. “This is the only thing that doesn’t require a perfect figure or age. To me, it’s a luxury that one can wear at any point in their life whether one is lean or chubby. Just a minimal accessorisation can up the style quotient.”

Commencing his journey to Delhi with just Rs 25,000 in his pocket, the designer’s collection now retails from Rs 18,000 to a couple of lakhs. “I know that India in itself is an entire market and I do not want to keep it confined to a certain class of people but rather reach out to even the middle class. That’s the reason my collection range begins from a nominal amount which can be bought by all.”

Talking about this year’s trends, the designer stated, “It will be focussed on classy silhouettes. The emphasis will be on drapes rather than embroidery.”

Being inspired by the contemporary styles of designer Sabyasachi Mukherji and Manish Malhotra, most of his collection with its intricate work was at par with the top line designers. The statement lehenga was completely embellished with sequin and thread work. With a broad 12 inch raw silk border embellished with shimmer sequin and thread embroidery, the lehenga had Kathak mudras as motifs. “Since the lehenga is heavy, we kept the net dupatta sober at borders and had scattered booties. It was paired with quilted blouse to achieve a structured look.”

The statement mauve gown was flared out where the skirt had feathers at the bottom while the rest had 3D embroidery. “The net embroidery and feather work added a dream-like quality to the dress.”

However, on the parting note, we asked what inspired the designer to keep his innovations and creativity alive, Khandelwl instantly replied, “Praise! Praise for my work. Praise of customers drive me to think different and bigger with every new collection.”



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