Gaurang Shah, who presented his collection inspired by frescos of the Ajanta Caves at Lakme Fashion Week Winter/Festive 2017 on Friday, talks about using natural dyes to create hand painted kalamkari.
Before the week-long fashion event kicked off, Gaurang Shah revealed a peek into his collection through a video on Facebook. The video depicted the intricacy involved in creating his collection titled Chitravali inspired by the Ajanta Caves frescos. “We wanted to detail and showcase every aspect of the creation step-by-step for people to know the grandeur of the art and what goes into creating such pieces of hand-woven fashion.
It is a culmination of months of arduous work by artists and weavers. Our collection Chitravali brings the grandiose ancient Indian art alive on textiles using hand-painted kalamkari and gives it an enthralling festive gaze. It also introduces to the fashion world a range of unseen textile innovation. Every aspect of this collection will carry a strong and diverse colour personality,” says Shah.
The characters are bold and multi-coloured but are never repeated. He shares that the Kalamkari paintings were created using natural dyes and involved 17 tedious steps to process, while a lone master painter replicated the frescos of the caves. “Every single piece is hand painted by a master painter. The only painter who had the ability to replicate the ancient art we see in the Ajanta caves,” says Shah.
Only natural dyes have been used by the designer. “The splash of colour in the collection is predominated by natural dyes extracted from the bark, flower and root of plants. While the kasaya red is derived from madder and pomegranate seeds, earthen yellow is from haldi, black was achieved by mixing iron and jaggery, moss green by mixing indigo and myrobalan,” he explains. All these colours were blended to produce innumerable shades in kalamkari and in Kanjeevaram.
The collection includes 40 varied designs in Chitravali. “We have created a beautiful jugalbandi of textiles — kalamkari and Kanjeevaram accentuated with chikankari on tussar and mukaish embroidery from Uttar Pradesh giving it a scintillating effect,” describes Shah.
One of the highlights of his inspiration is a unique collection of Kanjeevaram silk that is synonymous with celebratory wear, where bright colours are subdued in the natural dyes, and yet it maintains the richness with archaic temple tales using the korvai weaving technique.