New Delhi-based Sonam Dubal goes on a Pan-Asian design trip to unravel the intricacies of silk weaves and crafts from different countries. Famous for his clean lines and hand-worked nuances, the designer puts together an evocative line “Mapping in Silk”, that will be showcased at Amethyst, from today. Excerpts from an interview:
STORIES IN SILK Design is about progression. This line picks up from my last collection in which I had narrated the stories of merchants along the Silk Route. For “Mapping in Silk”, I draw inspirations from weaves, motifs, colours and silhouettes from across Asia. So it’s a collection that has touches of Indian craft techniques, fragments of Chinese design influences and bits and pieces of aesthetics from Uzbekistan. In totality, it’s an eclectic line that celebrates varied design sensibilities. I would call the line a “Cultural melting pot”.
FINER POINTS Since the collection is about narratives that emerge from silk-centric countries, it has a classy feel to it. The prints and motifs recreate the magic of the Silk Route with their nuanced treatment. The silhouettes are streamlined. The fabrics I’ve used are mostly rich silks, velvet and a little cotton. There is a range of embroidered jackets, nomad-inspired coats, subtle mirror work, patchwork brocade tunics and evening pants.
STYLE AND SPIRITUALISM “Mapping in Silk” traverses many religious terrains — from Hinduism and Buddhism to Islam. But my line is more about spiritualism and beauty. The celebration of beauty comes through in the choice of colours, play of textures and prettiness of the motifs.
EASTERN AESTHETIC, WESTERN CUT I love the colours of the East and use it as a perfect foil in my predominantly black lines. When you use colour as a highlight with black, both stand out in a stunning way. Black is typically Western. So are my cuts — simple and fitted.
EXPERIMENTS WITH CRAFTS As you know all my past lines have covered a cornucopia of crafts. For my next line, I’m working on the theme of a beautiful garden with colourful blooms. My motifs have painterly touches and I will be introducing newer versions of organic fabrics such as organic knit. I’m researching a lot for this line which is again textile and craft driven.
THE NEW STORY It’s not easy for a designer to come up with something new with every line while working within his signature template. But I guess, that’s what pushes us to explore fresh realms of creativity. For me traditional textiles and crafts are like a reservoir from which you can keep on drawing inspiration. Add to that elements of spiritual thoughts and the result is something that’s design-wise interesting.
PONDY HO! The house that I built in Pondy has come out so well. It’s my spiritual and creative space. I feel refreshed when I visit Pondy. When I return to the din of design back in New Delhi, I’m all charged up.
(Sonam Dubal is in Chennai today at Amethyst, Whites Road, Royapettah)