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The Shawl Project: TATA CLiQ curates 10 leading fashion designers reinterpreting the shawl

Ryan Frantz
18th Jan 2018
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The shawl is without a doubt one of the simplest yet chicest of accessories that is not just versatile, but also geography and gender agnostic. Scores of smart, elegant and stylish women (and men) have worn scarves with a certain aplomb. It’s a special finishing touch across the globe, and makes an effortless and elegant fashion statement - whether draped over a shoulder in New York or New Delhi.

To celebrate the shawl, Tata CLiQ Luxury is proud to present The Shawl Project, an initiative that brings together craftsmanship and couture. Supported by Woolmark, this project showcases the revival of one of our most valued textile traditions, highlighting the shawl not only as a memory of heritage and tradition, but also a signifier of modernity and style.

Ten exceptional Indian designers came together to create ten exceptional shawls – each a statement of individuality, expressing upon a blank canvas the designers’ creative selves and signature aesthetic.

The Shawl Project is the first step towards bringing the finest of Indian luxury to a global audience on Tata CLiQ Luxury’s new Indi Luxe platform. These exclusive, limited-edition shawls (only one shawl of each type will be ever made) have only one thing in common - they are all absolutely exquisite. In every other way, they are as different as the designers themselves, from elegantly minimal to wildly maximal, starkly graphic to shimmeringly vibrant, delicately feminine to boldly androgynous. The curated designers represent the most celebrated, respected, innovative and international names in Indian fashion, and they have created invaluable contemporary heirlooms in these weaves of wool.

1. Abraham & Thakore - Reflections

Deeply beloved in the industry, gentlemen designers David Abraham & Rakesh Thakore helm one of the oldest and most respected fashion houses in the country. They are also the strongest voices of sustainability in Indian fashion, with a design philosophy that celebrates classic, timeless silhouettes.

The inspiration from their shawl came from one of their earlier designs for a kimono. The jacquard weave with sequins and beading on fine, soft wool is a true A&T heirloom. It is an understated monochromatic piece with flourishes of quiet drama.

2. Amit Aggarwal: Naked Armour

With the instincts of an artist and the imagination of a sculptor, Amit Aggarwal is a designer unlike any other. A real risk-taker and true innovator in the industry, Amit is known for designing larger-than-life couture with unusual surface texturing using industrial waste.

Amit Aggarwal wanted to combine the fragility and softness of a shawl with boldness and strength – just like the women who wears it. Inspired by the jaals of Mughal architecture and the biology of the human body, this entirely hand-woven, hand-embellished shawl used recycled polymer strips to craft a stunning metal effect.

3. Aneeth Arora: Memory of Venice

Aneeth Arora has seen the shawl worn everywhere, from rural to royal India, serving as both a necessity and a luxury. It’s a thought that appeals greatly to this unusual designer, who shuns trends and works purely on instinct.

Aneeth was inspired by her travels in Venice – of ladies on the island of Burano sheated in black robes and sewing the most intricate white lace. Instead of weaving, she decided to work with wool yarn, adding delicate black lace to create a strong but ethereally light piece.

4. Manish Arora: The Maximalist

Wild, fantastical, larger-than-life, colour-soaked — Manish Arora’s is the maximalist designer who became India’s first enormously successful fashion export, and remains to this day a name synonymous with Indian fashion on the international scene.

His trademark splash of bold, bright pink plays canvas to an iridescent sprinkling of multi-coloured appliqué tumbling through a most dazzling and entirely fabulous piece.

5. Nachiket Barve: The Little Black Shawl

A celebrity favourite, Nachiket creates beautiful clothes that make women feel wonderful. The designer is known and adored for his flowing silhouettes, playfulness with colour and his innovative and inclusive approach to fashion.

Nachiket decided to reinterpret the shawl in a fresh way with a gentle nod to the past. His Little Black Shawl is inspired by the eternal style of the maharanis of Cooch Behar and Kapurthala as well as the cheeky swish set of the flapper era.

6. Pankaj & Nidhi: Vintage Grace

Pankaj and Nidhi Ahuja have strongly emotive associations with the shawl, as a garment that has travelled through time, immune to the cyclical vagaries of fashion and style.

They decided that the piece they created would be just as precious and timeless. The designers found inspiration in 18th-century handmade lace echoing the phulkari legacy with hand-cut appliqué, delicate hand beading and whimsical scalloped edging.

7. Raghavendra Rathore: Signature Weave

This graceful, sophisticated designer - the prince of the erstwhile royal family of Jodhpur is also one of the most erudite and eloquent designers in India. He is as intellectual as he is indulgent.

His shawl is a quietly elegant piece reflecting his signature subtlety and charm – a black on black weave with a slim, white-patterned border. Traditional yet modern, grownup yet ageless.

8. Rahul Mishra: Metamorphosis

Rahul Mishra is an Indian fashion designer based in Delhi. He won the International Woolmark Prize in 2014 at Milan Fashion Week, becoming the first Indian designer to win the award.

Haunted by a piece of arabesque latticework at the Sidi Saiyyed mosque in Ahmedabad, Rahul Mishra’s shawl is a representation of the extremes of timeless man-made structures and bustling cityscape existing in harmony. The shawl is a beautiful expression of storytelling – from where we began, to where we are today.

9. Rajesh Pratap Singh: Midas Touch

Self-effacing, quietly intelligent and sharply perceptive, Rajesh Pratap Singh is profoundly respected as one of the truly original talents in the industry. He is the father of minimalism in Indian fashion.

As ours is a country of the drape, the shawl as an object spoke to him on a deeper level. He revived the old three-shuttle technique of hand weaving. He crafted a double-sided weave with merino wool and silk: rugged on the outside but like butter on the skin in the inside.

10. Zubair Kirmani: Shalimar Bagh

Born and raised in Kashmir, Zubair Kirmani found The Shawl Project as the perfect opportunity to pay tribute to his homeland, where the shawl is the backbone of its community and the lifeblood of its craftspeople.

Zubair’s deep-rooted all-encompassing love for Kashmir is immortalised in the shawl. Inspired during his walk through Shalimar Bagh, a garden built 400 years ago by Emperor Jahangir for Nur Jehan, he knew that his shawl had to reflect the natural beauty of the place.

Each of these shawls comes with letter of authenticity and exclusivity by designer in a bespoke premium walnut and teak box to give sense of keepsake and heirloom. They will retail exclusively on Tata CLiQ Luxury.

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