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An Indian craft summer of ’22

New Spring-Summer 2022 collections by Indian designers are steeped in folklore, craft and heritage techniques, setting the stage for a vibrant summer getaway season 

Estella Handwoven Camisole Dress by Moonray

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Internationally, the Loewe Spring-Summer 22 (SS 22) collection was inspired by Renaissance painter Pontormo with a significant homage to the design house's craft heritage — from the draped tops which were presented with hard resin fronts to classic black dresses accented with sculptural metal pieces and trousers that came styled with knee holes.

Back home, designer Karishma Swali of MoonRay in her SS 22 outing experimented with details like hand-crochet tunics made from recycled cotton yarns, micro macrame jewellery and beaded cut-out moon drops on organic cotton dresses. Blanket stitches on blazer pocket edges, hand painted and beaded appliqués on bomber jackets and gradient beading on a macro-moonflower pattern for evening dresses make it a treasure trove for stylistas looking for something technique and detail-oriented.

"The signature hand crochet tops in fine yarn checkered and striped patterns give the wearer a special sense of wearing something made with time and care in this fast-moving world. Fabric strips that are hand crafted with lacing techniques that create a rhombus pattern add playfulness and movement to the collection," says Swali.

In line with the label's core values, the fabrics used are sustainable. "They range from hand-spun and handwoven Kala cottons, organic cottons to forest certified viscose and raw denims. With sustainability, ethical practices, craftsmanship and excellence in the make and design which is at the core of its identity, we hope to make a mindful and positive alteration in the fashion landscape," adds she.

Designer Payal Singhal in her Spring-Summer ’22 collection titled ‘Folklore’ trains her focus on the otomi embroidery from Mexico mingled with kantha of Bengal, kashidakari of Kashmir and phulkari of Punjab, resulting in a poetic cross-medley of ideas and influences. “Our prints are steeped in folk history too — the two key prints include one inspired by Gond art, but with a geometric bent, and another is a unique take on a pictorial depiction of a folktale, set in the jungles of Madhya Pradesh, similar to how stories were embroidered on quilts and fabrics in the past,” says Singhal.

Folklore by Payal Singhal
Folklore by Payal Singhal

Meanwhile, designer Punit Balana wanted to explore a canvas of neutrals, henna and earthy hues. From hand painted bold lotus, birds, enchanted gardens to the Mughal era horses hand block printed on the surface of the garment, the designer also explored and experimented with metallic embroidery on prints and solid tones. “The creative use of antique coins, threads and mirrors that breathes magic into the rich palates of the collection,” he shares.

Think corsets and capes; deep shoulder cut and short crop blouses, printed saris and metallic bralettes and you've conjured a lush summer mood synonymous with beach holidays. Separates like the printed shararas, peplum jackets, sheer slip dresses and back string blouse paired with draped cowl pants in silhouettes, which make these summer months a fun playground for mix and match.

Lakshmi by Punit Balana
Lakshmi by Punit Balana

Saaksha & Kinni too couldn't resist the allure of hand micro pleating which lends itself effortlessly to summer fabrics such as chiffons and cotton silks. “These fabrics are perfect for hot summers and humid temperatures and the age-old technique of micro pleating done by hand, adds depth and movement to these materials - perfect for those summer weddings or beach getaways,” says designer Saaksha Bhat from the label.

Their hand embroidery using mirrors, thread work and stones makes the collection an invitation to play dress up for destination weddings, sundowners in exotic locations and impromptu travel plans.

QUAD by Saaksha & Kinni
QUAD by Saaksha & Kinni

“Rather than opting for plain kaftans, choose a bold print with a touch of embroidery — this way you can keep accessories to a minimum and save yourself overheating in chunky jewellery or statement hair accessories. Throw an embroidered jacket over a lightweight sari dress or one shoulder dress to make a summery statement,” says Bhat.

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