Take Shubhra Chaudhary, for instance. In the mad rush of the just-concluded Wills Lifestyle India Fashion Week, this designer from Muzaffarpur, Bihar, stood out—no make-up, deglamorised attire. So did her creations. The sequins-crystal regime was dumped; instead she used hand stitches on clothes and hand-printed some others. Some of the surface treatments were derived from time spent with her grandparents in villages in Bihar. There were the obvious connections too. “When I go to Dilli Haat, I see people going gaga over simple Madhubani paintings. Back home that’s so commonplace,” she laughs, adding: “I want to bring Madhubani painting into mainstream fashion.”
Samant Chauhan has made a similar crossover. Chauhan’s father worked in the eastern railway services as a cleaner and expected his son to move on to bigger things once his high school education was over. Instead, the shy 26-year-old from Bhagalpur wanted to get into fashion designing. Today, he stands vindicated.
His collection Kamasutra, showcased at WIFW, was one of the best seen on the runway at this year’s event. Chauhan worked with Bhagalpuri raw silk to create Western streetwear. “When growing up, I’d only find people using the material for home furnishing. I thought it would be interesting to do it on clothes,” he says. Lots of texturing, interlacing and knits produced a layered look on a palette that was mostly pastel. Images from Vatsayayan’s classic and Khajuraho were printed on the clothes. “He is going to be another (Rajesh) Pratap, See how he uses Bhagalpuri silk with digital prints. That’s quite ingenious,” noted buyer Sunil Sethi.