Threads and Stitches collection by Rustorange
My love for the scent of handlooms and the childlike exhilaration of visualizing a colour burst of embroidery and needlework on it knows no bound. Of all the handlooms that I have sourced from the nook and corner of the country, for my novice yet expanding capsule wardrobe, a black semi-woollen stole adorned with Kutch embroidery remains the closest to my heart. So let me transport you all to the effervescent world of Kutch!
There are several versions regarding the origin of this craftwork – One such account is that of the ‘mochis’ or shoemakers who learnt the rope of Kutch embroidery 300 years ago by a Muslim rambler and commenced the tradition of this unique ornamentation. Some also believe that the ‘Kathi’ cattle breeders associated with Karna of Mahabharat ushered in this form of needlework along with their settlement in the region. It is also touted to have existed since the 16th and the 17th centuries and was exported by western countries.
Later, various clans adopted the characteristics of this embroidery and tapestry, which led to several schools of this art such as Rabari, Mutava, Garasia Jat, suf, Khareek and Paako. The principle colour palette that is used in this embroidery is black, off-white, yellow, green, ivory, deep red and indigo. Architectural designs and motifs like ‘Heer Bharat’ form the design epistemology of Kutch. The ‘Heer Bharat’ is used as a mirror at the epicentre that accentuates the aesthetic of this unique and vibrant embellishment. The embroidery further seeks its inspiration from a romantic temperament and hence the patterns and elements of human figurines in dancing postures and dancing peacocks are sewn onto the fabric of cotton and silk. Animal motifs found in this embroidery are influenced by Persian and Mughal culture. Apart from the tapestry of vivid embroidery what sets Kutch work apart is the incorporation of delicate beadwork.
Kutch in Fashion Week!
At the Bangalore Fashion Week 2015, Rehane found her calling with the vibrant kutch embroidery and translated her vision through the embellishment of the same on western apparel. The collection featured short dresses, bikini tops and kotis in pop colours adorned with luminous mirror work. Bollywood’s resident fashion diva Sonam Kapoor looked fetching in an Abu and Sandeep ensemble from their ‘Tharad’ collection during one of the promotional events for ‘Prem Ratan Dhan Payo’. She was seen in a silver grey, satin silk ghagra and the skirt was decked up in multicoloured resham and abla embroidery. The blouse of the ghagra was composed of skin colour net blouse replete with mirror, zardozi and sequins.
At the Lakme Fashion Week Winter-Festive 2014, designers were found seeking inspiration from the tribal and bohemian temperament. One Such designer Purvi Doshi zeroed in on Aztec and Kutch mirror work to articulate her design philosophy. Titled “Chhavi” that refers to reflection, the designer merged “aabla” and “chakra” mirror work hand sewn in Aztec-shaped patterns on a dazzling canvas of khadi fabric. Her collection had something for everyone – Flared ghagras with spaghetti tops to short kurtis and tie-and- dye skirts to palazzos with box pleats.
This season roll out your ever-reliable white mid-length dress and add a splash of colour with a tangerine yellow Kutch embroidered waistcoat and flaunt a cherry red pout to paint the town red!
A Kutch skirt will look great with a sleeveless khadi cotton crop top or short kurti. Bring out your inner bohemian with arm bands and henna tattoos to add the icing to the cake!
Next time when there is a nip in the bud, ditch the run-of- the-mill stoles and channel ethnic elegance with a Kutch stole and let your mood sway to the rhythm of its hues and patterns!
So my dear fashion enthusiasts who is game for Kutch this season? Hint: I am I am!
P.S. Maintaining a Kutch work garment can pose a challenge especially because of the rich play of threadwork coupled with the team of mirror and beads.
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