Weaves that transcend borders
A funny thing happened a few days ago as I chatted with Darshan Dhupia at her pretty little studio,
When the ladies exited, enlightened and visibly happy with their purchase, Darshan turned and sighed, “See, most of them aren’t even aware about traditional weaves. But it’s okay. Those who appreciate the art, love us."
Darshan’s strength lies in translating age-old weave traditions into a modern design language. By reviving the dying motifs of Banaras, her label is crafting silhouettes that eschews the baggage of overt ethnicity most young fashionistas might not relate to. The core idea is to style these exquisite fabrics to match the modish mindset. Bright colours play with sombre monochromes as rich Banarasi brocades, jamdanis and Chanderis form exquisite wedding and festive wear. The craft is old but the execution is new, peppy and effective.
|Darshan Dhupia at her store|
Her love for handwoven textiles was imbued during teenage years when Darshan witnessed her mother and aunts dressing up in rich silks, jamdanis and brocades. “I don’t remember wearing anything that wasn’t made out of natural fabrics. But while our ancestors were mostly in saris, when I launched The Silk Tree I realised that the youth needs to be shown how versatile these textiles can get. That they can transcend borders. This is where our journey commenced,” she says.
The label crafts draped dresses, jackets, lehnga skirts, crop tops and beautiful dupattas out of woven fabrics that showcases the best of the weaves of Banaras. She has also created edgy capes and jackets out of the Uzbeki ikat atdlas textile that showcases the complex dyeing weave technique from Central Asia. These jackets and capes can be paired with monochromatic dresses as well as saris.
“It’s all about clever styling so that the ethnic weaves move above a traditional platform to attain a more modern vocabulary. Every piece here is treated as a separate as they can be mixed and matched with anything. We give the freedom to the fashionista as they immaculately marry handwoven textiles and contemporary silhouettes,” explains Darshan.
Shahpur Jat is a heady maze. But if you do love textile-driven fashion, The Silk Tree would be hard to miss in those serpentine lanes…