Meet the next big things on the Indian fashion landscape, ELLE-approved
If you like Anthropologie, you'll love Rara Avis
“My obsession with the ‘wunderkammer’ inspired me to create,” explains founder Sonal Verma. Whether you’re hunting for offbeat jewellery, easy cotton dresses or bags, RARA AVIS is a good bet. For summer, she’s kept it minimal with washed linen dresses, leather fringe necklaces and woven messenger bags. We’re hankering after the ikat series.
Available at Collage, Chennai and perniaspopupshop.com
Mixed bag: 1701
The connection between film and fashion is hardly new, but it’s been a blockbuster for Karishma Jhalani of 1701. After having studied film and directing lots of shorts, Jhalani (along with Ashwin Jain) started the brand as another way to express herself creatively. She counts film pioneers Wes Anderson, Jean-Luc Godard and Stanley Kubrick as inspiration. “I like the idea of telling stories through my pieces. It’s about marrying the visual with the tactile and finding that balance to make the pieces tick,” she says. Continuing the freestyle design process, 1701 doesn’t follow seasons, but rather, a mood. The latest collection is inspired by a love for travel, an old-world, opulent approach for the 21st-century jet-setter – vintage camera bags, lace-trimmed jewellery boxes and hard-case suitcases. The exploration of design will continue at the label, according to Jhalani. “This could be in accessories, or in other areas (I love chairs, for example!). I never want to rest on past successes and face creative boredom, so we’ll continue to try and redefine what 1701 means.”
ELLE LOVES: The multi-tasking appeal of a 1701 product: a vintage-style camera case that can turn into a day bag.
Available at Second Floor Studio, New Delhi; Bombay Electric, Mumbai; Quintessential, Singapore; and SOTO, Berlin
Lycra swimsuit, Shivan & Narresh. Leather and canvas bags; all 1701. Metal jewellery, watch; all stylist’s own
Modern Philosophy: DRVV by Dhruv Kapur
Despite his lack of formal fashion training (he graduated from the London School of Economics in 2009), Dhruv Kapur manages to use the finer nuances of design in his creations – luxe textures, complex cuts and quality fabrics. The label strongly reflects Kapur’s personal beliefs, based on postmodern thinking. “Dictated by philosophical convictions on individualistic behaviour, the DRVV aesthetic incorporates minimalism, functionality, deconstruction and reconstruction,” he explains. The F/W 14-15 collection, ‘The Wolf Within’, captures the animalistic side of human nature with surfaces like quilted silk and fringed silk that look like fur. There is also an unexpected focus on the sari drape, a nod to alternative traditional garb. A smart move, considering Kapur’s expansion plans. “I want to be the go-to brand in India for people who wear designer clothes every day – at home, to the office, gym, mall, club, on vacation or at a formal event.”
ELLE LOVES: DRVV’s way of surprising us with edgy and asymmetric versions of classics like the tailored blazer and formal pants.
Available at Atosa, Mumbai; Perniaspopupshop.com; Mythology, Singapore; and Harvey Nichols, Riyadh
Wool asymmetrical blazer, wool pants with drape; both DRVV by Dhruv Kapur. Leather booties, Christian Louboutin
Photographs: Raj Shetye; Styling: Arushi Parakh; Creative Director and Digital Realisation: Prashish More; Make-up and Hair: Namrata Soni; Production: Parul Menezes; Models: Smita Lasrado, Eugenya/Inega Models; Assisted by: Arti Nayar (make-up and hair)
Hands-on edge: Ilk by Shikha & Vinita
Shikha Grover and Vinita Adhikari started Ilk in 2011 to create a sense of communal feeling through their clothes. Brought together by their collective vision of design rooted in culture and tradition, the pair ensure they add a ‘handmade’ touch to everything they do. As it turns out, hands are the running theme in their F/W 14-15 collection. “A simple action like holding hands can free the spirit and cement relationships. Surface textures are the epitome of Ilk’s being,” says the duo about their motifs – little stick figures on boxy chambray and denim. Working towards a more composite brand, which could go on to include Indian wear or even product design, the girls are clear on what sets them apart – a detailed aesthetic packaged in a grungy, youthful way, and accessible to everyone.
ELLE LOVES: Ilk’s way of turning cutesy motifs into intelligent patterns
Available at Fuel, Mumbai; Ogaan, New Delhi; Collage, Bengaluru; and Perniaspopupshop.com
Embellished chambray denim shirt, Ilk by Shikha & Vinita
Simple function: Lovebirds
Wearable everyday solutions are clearly what Amrita Khanna and Gursi Singh, designers of Lovebirds, are aiming for. What started as a well-curated vintage store in 2010 has now turned into a wholesome lifestyle design concept. “Our inspiration is not limited to just fashion; it ranges from raw foods to Nordic furniture,” says the duo. Untouched by unnecessary frippery, their designs boast effortless silhouettes, clean lines and balanced minimalism. Boxy garments in laser-cut satin, neoprene, cotton and sporty mesh, say the designers, are “a graphic representation of solutions to the delicate urban issues of beauty and appearances.” With Khanna’s fashion expertise and Singh’s graphic designing background, Lovebirds is a constantly evolving experiment of style and art.
ELLE LOVES: Their multidimensional design sense and the easy effortlessness of their products – from the oversized classic white shirt to the sharkskin kaftan-like LBD.
Available at Lovebirds, New Delhi and Bungalow 8, Mumbai
Cotton shirt dress, Lovebirds. Embellished net mask, Amit Aggarwal
Practical luxury: Ikai by Ragini Ahuja
Ever since she started out in 2012, Ragini Ahuja’s focus has been to bring irreverence and modernity to traditional textiles. Her designs come in boxy silhouettes with edgy illustrations and 3D details. “It’s incredibly practical clothing with relaxed fits and natural fabrics that exude luxury with no pretense,” she says. Her F/W 14-15 collection, ‘Metal’ pushed the envelope by attempting sporty staples like the bomber jacket, a muscle-tank dress and crop tops in marbled Chanderi and cotton, further accented by leather appliqué and brass strips. So unique and rare, that Ahuja believes “no two pieces will be 100 per cent the same”.
ELLE LOVES: Ikai’s ability to make tradition relevant and fun: strips of leather form bold words across sharply-tailored indigenous fabric.
Available at Ensemble, Mumbai; Aza, Mumbai; Atosa, Mumbai; and Ogaan, New Delhi
Cotton jacket with leather and metal panels, cotton skirt; both Ikai by Ragini Ahuja. Patent leather boots, Stuart Weitzman. Plastic sunglasses, Blur. Satin gloves with metal embellishment, stylist’s own