fashion Deepika Govind gives a new spin to traditional South Indian checks

Imagine the good-old checks from Chettinad and Kanchi cottons on an off-shoulder dress or wrap-jackets. City-based designer Deepika Govind's line of prêt wear, showcased at Lakme Fashion Week (LFW), Mumbai, tried to revive South Indian checks in a new format.

The collection, “The Woman in Blue Checks: Cauvery's Tale”, marked Deepika's return to fashion week after nine years. “In the last nine years, I was busy building my brand and catering to my clientele through my stores. Participating in a fashion week calls for a lot of work. My children were young and I wasn't able to devote that kind of time. However, I utilised my spare time to do a lot of R&D,” says Deepika. Her forte lies in working with weavers to develop new fabrics.

She is proud to have showcased her line as a part of The Indian Textiles Day at LFW and says, “I don't have to explain myself to anyone anymore for using only Indian, hand-woven textiles,” she says.

The outfits, as she explains, have eastern crafting and western construction. “The silhouettes are organic. I went with the flow of the fabrics,” she says.

On the ramp were saris, tunics and drape dresses with asymmetric hemlines characterised by the use of stripes and checks from Chettinad, Narayanpet, Venkatagiri and Kanchi. But the prime focus was on the weaves from Ilkal, a small town 80 km away from Hampi, in Karnataka. “The weavers from Ilkal are highly skilled. Not many know that indigo dye was found here around the same time it was discovered in Champaner. The traditional checks from Ilkal are a result of 1400-year-old craft. These checks, like ikats from Patola, Orissa and Pochampalli, have geometric precision,” says Deepika.

Her previous collections have made use of geometric ikats from Orissa and Pochampalli and Deepika equates the process of weaving geometric patterns, both ikats and checks, to meditation. “To me, checks and stripes represent a simple way of living,” she sums up.

SANGEETHA DEVI DUNDOO

I don't have to explain myself to anyone anymore for using only Indian, hand-woven textiles.

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