Good Earth celebrates 10 years of Sustain, with Sindhu


Good Earth marks 10 years of its label Sustain with Sindhu, a collection highlighting cultures and crafts along the mighty waterway

It began with a black vial labelled Sindhuri. And its lingering woodsy scent of Himalayan deodar, jasmine and smoky vetiver. The mysterious fragrance from Good Earth was an invitation to a journey that spans centuries, cultures and one idea — Sindhu. Revisiting the Indus Valley Civilisation (2500 BCE) and a river that went on to connect Tibet, Ladakh, Kashmir, Sindh and Kutch, it presented an undivided past and identities not governed by borders. As concepts go, it was sound, anchoring the 10th anniversary of the brand’s clothing label, Sustain, and its craft consciousness.

Enter menswear
  • The capsule menswear line, Abeer, includes easy suits, salwars, turbans, shawls and jackets, all wearable. The lighter desi wool jackets with embroidered shoulder patches are a good option when city-hopping. As are the Ajrakh-print jumpsuits. But it is teammate Rajiv Purohit’s mul saris styled as dhotis that take the prize.

At the Indira Gandhi National Centre for the Arts (IGNCA), a caravanserai or travelling inn-style exhibition space sees Delhi’s designers, artists, cultural ambassadors, hoteliers, and visitors from across the country congregate; as one guest puts it, ‘When AL calls, everybody attends!” AL refers to founder and creative director, Anita Lal, to whom Sindhu was a “tribute to the nomadic groups, travellers, traders, innovators… to the Banjaras, Rabaris, Kutchis and gypsy tribes with intermingled stories, that have enriched our culture”. Thus, the central courtyard (in keeping with the caravanserai theme) is covered in a map of ancient India, tracing the route of the Sindhu (or Indus) river. And around us, the past and the present come alive in an exhibition by art historian Kanupriya Bhatter — there are nuggets of information, Sufi poetry, embroidery hoops and clothing samples taking over pillars and walls, framed by flimsy drapes or suspended from poles. On one scroll featuring ancient text, muslin and shot silk are described as sloughs of snakes and unripe plantain’s fruit!

Anita Lal in an Ajrakh sari from Shelly Jyoti, with Deepshikha Khanna, at the Sindhu show

Anita Lal in an Ajrakh sari from Shelly Jyoti, with Deepshikha Khanna, at the Sindhu show  

Starting with Ajrakh

That night, Ajrakh, with its nine to 21 stages of printing and dyeing, takes centre stage. Bhatter’s text indicates that Sindhu is about amalgamations; her story goes back to 10 BC, when Persians and Greeks came to the area. It is about migrant communities and a cross pollination of ideas. “What we do is take the traditional crafts and modernise them so people wear them,” says Deepshikha Khanna, apparel head at Good Earth, during a walk-through the next afternoon.

Show and tell
  • Backed by scenographer Sumant Jayakrishnan, Anita Lal scripted a multi-sensory experience for Sindhu. There was Zia Nath, international teacher of sacred dance, twirling; an audio-visual display on three screens tracked the route of the river Sindhu from Mount Kailash into the green plains of Punjab; and Kutle Khan, the Rajasthani folk musician who, like Sindhu, represents a world of music beyond boundaries, turned in a powerhouse performance. If Anita Lal has her way, Sindhu music might just become a collector’s special. Like the perfume.

Fostat brocade is the leitmotif of the collection. It came about when Asha Madan, head designer at Good Earth, recreated in silk brocade in Benares the fruit and flower-laden vines from fabric fragments found in Fostat in Egypt. Then there is Mingora, another addition to the Ajrakh design vocabulary, where a valley of flowers creates a signature pattern, with Chinese motifs like clouds, lotuses, dots and fish scales. It owes its name to Nobel Laureate Malala Yousafzai’s hometown, a significant trading centre on the ancient silk route.

Good Earth celebrates 10 years of Sustain, with Sindhu

Runway report

At the show, graceful models present 72 wearable ensembles. Sindhu is immensely wearable, but they could have gone easy on the heavy layering. There are salwars, knee-length kurtas, kediyo tops, lehengas and saris with plunging blouses. A contemporary mashru in bright jewel stripes, handwoven in Benares, is stunning as both kimono and jacket. Silk, zardozi and sequins, and Sindhi embroidery motifs in metal sequins on a velvet base make an appearance, as does the rai-dana variety of bandhani from Bhuj. A handwoven zari tissue sari with zardozi embellishments becomes a crowd favourite and I spot Bakda lace, kachhi taal and tilla embroideries elsewhere. Traditional shades of madder, indigo, ochre and emerald fare quite well, especially when paired with Amrapali jewels.

The menswear is retailing at select stores, while Sindhu prêt and custom-made for women will be available soon. 40,000 onwards.

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Printable version | Jan 28, 2020 10:25:12 PM |

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