On October 14th at Lakmé Fashion Week, the Fashion Design Council of India held a special display with renowned brand Péro in collaboration with FDCI. The newest collection from Péro was a multi-coloured carnival of imagination and a celebration of outcasts, eccentrics, and the wildly unusual. To lend a touch of unique workmanship to this collection, Péro also worked with international craftsmen, such as women knitters from Himachal Pradesh and Afghani refugee women. In a free-wheeling chat with Aneeth Arora, we had the good fortune of being familarised with her side of the story.
ELLE: Take us through your raw inspiration and the process of translating it sartorially via this collection.
Aneeth Arora (AA): For this season we have looked at the type of prints from the 1930s. It was a coincidence that I saw a book lying on my table and when I looked through it, I found this round floral pattern that was repeated all over the surface. It looked very interesting and fascinating. It was at that moment that I felt that I could do something with it to go ahead for the season. We experimented with these round medallions in different sizes and rendered them with mixed media.
When I was studying and researching about these styles, I realised that men started wearing them in the 1920s and then I started reading about that era. I got to know about a lot of things that people were experimenting with in that era. It was an era called cuckoo where women were dressing like men and there were a lot of experiments, be it in science, fashion or clothing. So, that’s how the season came about. It started with a very small image in a book but then translated into a season called ‘Cuckoo & Co’ which was about going crazy and going out of your comfort zone.
ELLE: We all know that craft constitutes the core of your ethos work-wise. How have you incorporated that this time around?
AA: Every season we work with at least 5-8 different regions in India. This season also we have carried this tradition of working with them. We also add new craftspeople every season. The definition of sustainability for us is working with the same set of people season after season, challenging their skills, and making things with them. So they don’t feel that fashion is short-lived. We’ve worked with the weavers from West Bengal, Madhya Pradesh, and Kullu. And we’ve also done hand-knitted garments.
ELLE: Please shed some light on the silhouette selection and the colour palette selection.
AA: Since the season is called ‘Cuckoo’, it is true to its name. We’ve experimented with a lot of different patterns. There are lots of androgynous silhouettes and also unisex clothing. This is the first time we’ve also showcased menswear.
ELLE: Which yesteryear celebrity would you like to see don one of your new pieces?
AA: I have not given it a thought. We believe in people wearing our clothes in their own way and it’s not about making the celebs wear it and then the people may start following it. People who feel comfortable with the way we make clothes are the ones who style them in the best way.
ELLE: What is your interpretation of Gen Z fashion?
AA: I think Gen Z is not very shy about experimenting. Their way of style and dressing is very different from what I’ve ever seen and that fascinates me a lot.
ELLE: Could you please tell us something about the press kits?
AA: Through our press kits, we always like to make people think they have owned a piece of the show. We have incorporated a tie because I think people have forgotten about ties; they are basically extinct. It was a good way for the tie to make a comeback and the press kit comprises a silk tie in the same prints that we have developed for the season. There was this whole idea of shooting it and doing the show in the form of a mad hatter party and therefore it includes a hat which is a handmade crochet hat.
There is always a signature Pero print that we include in every season for every season. There are socks that we’ve developed in collaboration with a brand in Milan. It’s a part of the press kit too. Through our presentation, we are trying to take people back to their childhood and we are serving a little bit of childhood to them in the hope that they discover the little child in them. So we’ve incorporated some tin toys as collectables.
There is only one brand in India that makes it which is called Tin Toy Treasures. We are always very conscious when we make our press kits that we don’t do anything which will eventually be thrown. So there is nothing made of paper in the press kit, everything is made of Pero fabric. There is a bag that looks like a shirt and doubles up as a little tote. These are the elements in the press kit.