An extraordinary amalgamation of Indian heritage and the new age in fashion, art, music, and cuisine was seen at Chivas Alchemy’s ‘Kaleidoscope of Time’. Experts from various fraternities showcased their signature works at this mesmerising symphony, bringing together the past and the present .With new-age experimental power houses and couture houses that redefined the vocabulary of design presenting, it was a moment in the Indian fashion scene. Attendees were treated to canvases reciting stories from the past and the present. The culinary affair brought two worlds together through memory, ingredients, and technique by ingenious F&B brands across the country and internationally acclaimed bartenders and mixologists. Memory evoked nostalgia, while technique showcased gastronomical craft, and ingredients displayed those that have stood tall across generations.
Ashish Soni, the co-curator of Chivas Alchemy, stated, “Alchemy was a magnificent celebration of craftsmanship and substance, and it was inspiring to see 18 alchemists come together to display their unique perspectives that flit everyone back and forth in time. Through a melange of genres, Chivas Alchemy delivered a swirl of nostalgia, and it has been my pleasure to curate an experience that seamlessly blends art, couture, cuisine, and music for those who appreciate the finer nuances of luxury.”
Sunil Sethi,the founder of Sunil Sethi Design Alliance and co-curator, shares “This year, with Chivas Alchemy, we wanted to celebrate the complexity of time in luxury. We created an exquisite convergence of art, design, and luxury, and it was fascinating to see how each of the 18 alchemists brought their splendid style of creativity to the table, making this an unparalleled experience. I am honoured to bring the brand’s vision to life and showcase a curation inspired by heritage and new-age eras of luxury.”
To deep dive in this world of art and glimmer, ELLE sat down with some of the ace designers who show-case their work at this celebration along with the co-curator Ashish Soni.
ELLE: What are the things we should be expecting from this event?
AS: Well, it’s an event packed with a lot of interesting things and a lot of action. To begin with, this year we’ve taken on four different pillars: fashion, art, music, and food. What we are doing around them is celebrating individuals who are excelling in those areas, and the overall theme is the kaleidoscope of time. So there is a very interesting fashion curation that Sunil has done,followed by an amazing art installation that is done by Vibha Galhotra and Viraj Khanna, and then we’ll move into a live performance by random order with Ajay Bijli’s band that he has put together in Covid. We’ve also flown down a DJ Masha for the after party, and I’ve got about three pop-ups from three top restaurants in Bombay, something that has never happened before: to actually have food served from three top restaurants at one place.
ELLE: What is the significance of such events for the people in the creative field and how will it help them?
AS:That’s a very good question because, when we think of doing such an event, the whole idea is to remember that it’s not done by me, Sunil, or anybody else alone. So many different creative people end up getting hired in the process at all different levels—not just the models and their make-up people but so many technicians, graphic designers, and agencies—so in that sense, it’s fantastic for the creative industry to be part of an event that celebrates creativity.
ELLE: Can you elaborate the theme, Kaleidoscope Of Time and how did you come up with it?
AS:Yes, so the theme is specifically around one of the things that we all learned, especially during the pandemic: the importance of time. We all learned that it was something that maybe we didn’t value as much before. So it’s about celebrating different eras of time. For instance, how Indian fashion started and how it’s evolved over time to what it is now. Therefore, the kaleidoscope. Similarly, that’s the same kind of representation we are showing in music and food. There are three concepts in food: memories, techniques, and ingredients. Memories, for instance, can be your grandmother’s food, things you still remember, or techniques that are age-old but have been modernised to be used in the contemporary world today. So everything is a celebration of time. Time moves and eras move, but they never fade away, and that’s what we are celebrating.
JJ Valaya, Founder, JJ Valaya
ELLE: Tell us about your curation for Chivas Alchemy and how did you come up with the themes, cuts and silhouettes?
JJV: We are showing the Valaya Ethos year and the Ethos Era, which are all about timeless luxury. I believe in creating clothes and designs, whether interior or fashion, that will endure and that people will enjoy. The next generation will open the wardrobe and be like, “Where did you get that from? I want that”. So I am talking about crossing generations. That’s the way I work, and the same ethos is what we are presenting here,which is what our skill is, where we work with modern traditionalists. I know that is an oxymoron, but that is how it is. We make clothes that are heavy on style, heavy on craft, and make a statement, and that’s what it is.
ELLE: How did the collaboration with Chivas Alchemy come into the play?
JJV:Well, I suppose great brands like Chivas have sort of heralded this whole movement of creating these beautiful promenades where they identify individuals who resonate with the same values, and the alchemist here, for example, is that each one here has their own story, but all of them would probably resonate with the same values as something as timeless as Chivas. So here we are. This is where we are showing how, like fine whisky or fine wine, we’ve all aged over the years, and therefore the kaleidoscope as to what happened in all these years that have gone by, but also looking at the kaleidoscope for the future as to what’s going to happen in the future. The world is changing as we know it, and it is associations like this that bring us together and give us the power to present something that can be shared as a cohesive statement.
ELLE: If you had to describe Kaleidoscope Of Time in terms of a fashion statement, how would you describe it?
JJV: I am not a very literal guy. For example, I do a lot of research for my collection, but I am not a historian. I will create great design because something in the past triggered it, but I will not get into the history like this happened in this year and so and so. My language is visual. Therefore, I will create things of beauty, and to me, this evening is all about that. It’s about beauty, style, and elegance. The fact that such a diverse, kaleidoscopic group of people have come together to create something so magnificent, I suppose, sums all that up.
Pranav Misra Founder, HUEMN
ELLE: Tell us about your curation for the Chivas Alchemy and how did you co-operated the theme in your cuts and silhouettes?
Pranav Misra: The mood that the event is curated around, which is the Kaleidoscope of Time, blends really well with HUEMN because the brand literally and spiritually means ‘centred around people’. People evolve and are transported through time, and our collections have also done that. You might find a marriage of all the schools of thought that we’ve delved into over time in the collection.
ELLE: How did the collaboration with Chivas Alchemy come into the play?
PM: It is a very organic one. Chivas Alchemy very unique, especially with the mood and theme around which this event is curated and the selection of the designers and artists on board. If I am not mistaken, This is the fourth edition of that club, and I am very excited and happy to be a part of it.
ELLE: What’s your take on the current sustainability quotient in the industry and where does Huemn stand in that?
PM: I have thought about this subject quite a lot because this particular word seems to be floating around a lot, and rightly so, but I still feel as an industry we are still scratching the surface when it comes to sustainability as a subject. Where I stand is that I strongly feel that, whether in fashion, art, or any other industry or even life in itself, anything that is authentic is the only thing that can be sustainable. You can’t have a universal meaning for it. As long as you have a solid purpose behind what you are doing, the why will be answered because you have a very set goal and the idea behind what you are diving into. The time quotient also depends on the amount of value that you add to your environment and surroundings. So, it’s an evolving process. We are still at a very nascent stage of this conversation. I feel that the more years we give this, the more it’s going to evolve into something more solid and impactful.
Akshat Bansal, Founder, Bloni Atelier
ELLE: Tell us about your curation for Chivas Alchemy, the design ideation and more.
Akshat Bansal: The collection is called Preamble. It comes from my 2023 collection, which was talking about emotions of the future, where we are feeling advanced in emotion as we are going towards AI. Towards the idea of digital, where we headed in terms of what we feel today—not just anger, but anger with something. The collection showcases the beginning of new emotions and bending the gender norm through its silhouettes. The design element features rubber, leather mesh, recycled handwoven denim, embroidered amethyst, and more gemstones. We also add the sustainability notion to our production while using marine waste materials.
ELLE: How did this collaboration with Chivas Alchemy come into play?
AB: The designers’ show I fought to see while growing up has carved a path for us. The whole idea of the event was to show how the past and future are brought together, talking about where we began and where we are now. We believe Chivas must have seen how far Bloni has come in terms of inculcating the futuristic element while also keeping it relevant to the present. We, as a brand, don’t want to feel redundant, so we have fabrics that are heat-sensitive. In a world of filters, we wanted to create clothing without any filters by using materials that change colour or reflect into a different one.