Kalon – where art in nature is fashioned through couture.
The study of nature is a study of change and the things that are subject to change. At the heart of this thesis lies grace, charisma and the celebration of acceptance of the inevitable.
It is a journey that explores and embraces the power of nature through a couture collection. My thesis will rethink the experience of owning a couture garment. With every garment unfolds the story of my skin and the areas that have been touched by vitiligo.
(n.) the ideal of physical and moral beauty; beauty that is more than skin deep
Through an exotic bud stemmed the root of identity. Sunlight poured through every gaze, she grew within the thorns and rain. Her fragrance flourished and her soul bloomed, while the blossoming petals told her tale. She flowered through her kalon, in a bed of power she had found her own.
One must take a step back and admire the way in which the force of nature works at its own whims and fancies. The result is
an extraordinary representation of life at various stages in time.
Couture is a stroll through a different time period. The collection is a means for women to experience traditional yet modern couture, with a mindful approach and appreciation of the spirit of nature.The pure essence of this thesis lies within the folds and behind the seams. Each outfit matures with every hand-done process, thus creating a symphony of perfect imperfections.
The world is a place of flowers, a lot of them – over a million species blooming around us. In India alone, around 2 million tons of flowers are discarded everyday.
While the petals may look pretty as
they ripple across the water, organic matter from them results in the growth of algae which can exhaust oxygen levels underwater, causing marine life to die. This guided the first part of my thesis which stemmed from the idea of extending the life cycle of used flowers instead of the ritual of dumping them into water bodies.
The journey began with the collection of flowers at places where they were no longer needed and were segregated by type and color.
Next, these petals were put through various methods of color extraction to dye plant and animal based fabrics. This use of flowers to color textiles aided in the creation of a closed life cycle, one that progresses from soil to soil, as pictured on the right.
The essence of couture lies within the character of the garment which matures with every hand done process. This, was the start of many.
The beauty in this process is that every lot of fabric dyed with these flower petals was painted a different hue as a result of the variance in flower petals. The concept of working with what was available led to a collection of silks that directed my color story.
While couture has been around us for centuries, these are garments that are worn a couple of times and stored away for eternity. The problem with couture in the past has been the increased application of single-use plastic in embroideries. For my collection, the aim was to avoid this path and reinvent haute couture for the present, keeping in mind the current situation of our ecosystem, and being conscious of our contribution to the environment.
The embellishments were created using hand-dyed fabrics with a combination of recycled PET plastic sequins, glass beads and crystals. The fabric flowers were laser cut, the sequins were sourced from The Sustainable Sequins Company, while the rest of the materials were obtained from the Indian market.
The embroideries narrate a story that began with the process of flower dyeing. The designs were inspired by the delicate characteristics and implicit beauty within the various aspects of nature. Fabric petals, glass beads and recycled plastic were stringed together and hand embroidered to mimic the beauty in nature. Each of the swatches embody a beautiful tale as told by my skin – delineated by floral motifs, intricate lines and three dimensional forms
Every pattern employs processes which enunciate the magic created when nature falls into a set of hands. The essence of this embroidery, an art form, lies in the variance that is a result of hand labor: where there is beauty in slight irregularity. The swatches were later modified to be used on the garments.
The garments are rooted in femininity that stands at the very extreme of masculinity; they depict tenderness with power. The silhouettes accentuate the lines of a woman's body and cherish the beauty and elegance that runs through her veins. The value of the clothing can truly be felt once worn. Each piece has been created with attention to detail, following couture sewing methods.
Of the six couture garments, three were made entirely by hand – like days of the past – while the other three were stitched by a combination of machine and hand, as often practiced today. Skilled artisans invested days into the garments at every step of the way. The two sub-collections epitomize the changing times and how traditional couture has made way for its new descent. This represents the ideal of couture with its intrinsic features, against its modern day analogue.
An informed choice of materials and a process of thoughtful methods has led to a collection of conscious couture. This was a step taken to provide luxury clothing for mindful women and women of taste, alike.
The six ensembles delineate the way in which my skin has bloomed over time. My vitiligo has been a constituent source of inspiration throughout the collection. The flowers are a representation of this flourishing aspect of my life, where every blossoming petal is a portrayal of nature and its métier. The notion behind my thesis is the repose that originates with acceptance for nature.
This embrace is evident through the processes applied when creating the Experimenting with meticulous techniques allowed me to venture into craft in its truest form. This journey of hand work in itself highlights the core elements of my thesis abstract.