Designer Chaitanya Rao's new line explores the beautiful world of fractals

What happens when designers abandon easy references and turn to something as far-fetched as fractals? A new depth is added to familiar styles, as Chaitanya Rao's latest line proves.

For his Lakme Fashion Week line unveiled in Chennai, the designer draws inspiration from the incredibly beautiful world of fractals (fragmented geometric shapes that can be split into parts, each of which is almost a mini replica of the whole). “A friend introduced me to fractals. I was attracted almost immediately. Fractals have amazing possibilities when it comes to design. The designs are intricate and lend a distinct touch to clothes,” says the designer.

The delicate, swirling fractal patterns complement Chaitanya's signature feminine styles. Short dresses and transparent tops that don't dispute his sense of drama or romance are part of the line created from sheer fabrics.

Another interesting touch is the use of cutwork. “It's haute this season. And I like its fragile, gauzy feel,” says the designer displaying a range of cutwork tops and dresses. Less structured and more textured, laser-cut patterns add a new dimension to this range. “Cowl too is in, and think beyond the neck,” he adds, showing dresses and trousers on which he experiments. A tricky, styling flourish indeed!

As if to declare look-how-far-I've-come, Chaitanya, who celebrates his label's ninth year, tries an interesting combination of slate and powder pink for an easy-going summer vibe. His favourite neutrals and deep purples are also part of the colour story.

Famous for his dalliance with the film world, the designer is currently creating costumes for a couple of projects. “Films eat into retail time. I'm now keen on giving more visibility to the label and taking it to other metros. It's not enough if top-notch fashion glossies feature your clothes. I need to make my retail presence substantial. But, I do continue with my parallel career as stylist for stars and ad commercials. I recently did the styling for Shruti Hasan's photo shoot. It was not easy making the uber chic actor look traditional,” says the designer. “As a stylist, the biggest challenge is to bring out an individual's pluses and camouflage the flaws. Also, as a designer, I must be careful not to let the clothes overwhelm the personality. It helps when the subject is willing to experiment. Actor Vikram, for instance, loves pushing the envelope. He is demanding, in a good way,” he chuckles.

(The Lakme Fashion Week line is available at the designer's studio on Khader Nawaz Khan Road, Nungambakkam.)


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