Made for INDIA
ANUJ KUMAR speaks to designer Hemant Sagar creating waves with his work and words.
Photo: R.V. Moorthy.
Designer Hemant Sagar with model Monikonkana Dutta in New Delhi.
SPEAK TO designer Hemant Sagar and you find that all is not lost in the dark, pretentious tunnel that leads to Indian fashion. The couturier, who made a name for himself in Paris with fellow designer Didier Lecoanet is now making a foray into Indian territory with a collection that is largely prêt and more importantly, "made in India and made for India," as Sagar puts it.
Sounds strange when every designer worth his salt is trumpeting the need for global designs. "You just can't do that. After all fashion caters to the bodies. The physique of Indian women is different. Here you can't have a skirt with flounce from the waist because here waist is already a problem area. The sari can hide your shape but the modern outfits can't. Again, in terms of silhouettes, you can't sell a transparent blouse to an Indian woman, in the same way as you can't ask a French woman to wear a navel revealing dress. No doubt, some of the dresses in the collection have a global appeal, plus or minus the length of the hemline but an Indian identity is a must. We have been designing for West Asian market. This helped meunderstand the physique of Indian women," saysHemant, whose collection is on show at Carma, Mehrauli-Gurgaon Road.
Hemant feels he is being a little more colour daring this time. Explaining the dress that Monikonkona showcased, he says, "The attempt is to give a muddy water kind of look. The leaf motif is in gold but we have also made a print and an embossed version of it, which are obviously cheaper. Ideal for a cocktail party, we have made a longer version of it as well."
He has worked on the ever-popular white poplin blouse. He has used pieces of leather as attachments around the neck giving a look of frills. "Also, we have given collars to these blouses using ribs like the one used in jackets." Skirts also find a place. Here the novelty is in the hemline, which is "gathered like mushrooms" apart from the usual flounce and cascading effect.
Demand of fusion
Confusion among consumers, Hemant says, has led to the demand for fusion in the market. "I have seen a lady wearing salwar-suit and carrying a Louis Vuitton bag. Now it may be ridiculous for many, but this is the Indian reality for the present, and I don't find it absurd," opines Hemant. According to him, India is a growing market with increasing disposable incomes, but people don't really know how to spend it. "What may be a problem for you might not be a problem for me. Somebody might have a problem with the colour of check when most are yearning to see one. Fashion is not about following the tradition but finding new solutions from the tradition."
Hemant maintains that because of sheer numbers, the West can no longer dictate fashion to us. We follow the West more out of habit than need. "China and Japan have experienced this and now it's India."
Well, a connecting voice in the world of separates.
Send this article to Friends by