There is just something stunning about Indian attire. Right from its ostentatious fabrics to ornate embellishments, one will find character in the outfits. Even when it comes to Indian wear labels, we at WODROB always look out for those whose collections depict a story. And that’s exactly why Rimple and Harpreet Narula’s Spring Summer ’17 collection, Qafila appealed to us.
Striking a balance between Indian craftsmanship and contemporary design, Rimple and Harpreet not only have an extensive repertoire in design but have successfully forayed into the world of textile as well. The aesthetic of this duo reflects their passion for India’s rich and varied culture. If you notice, a recurring inspiration for their collection is the wilful wanderer. That remains a constant even with this collection (Qafila is an Urdu word that translates as a bunch of travellers). Inspired by the Bohemian wanderer, Qafila is created using surface ornamentation techniques like Warq ka kaam, block printing and gota embroidery on handloom Chanderi silks and cotton. Starting out with a mild colour palette of ivories, golds and beiges the line later meanders into grandiose hues such as deep purples and inky blues. Think flamboyant and arty motifs like French Paisley, Arabesque cartouches and flowering trellises, the Palampore Tree of Life, Mughal artworks, towering minarets to fantastical birds and beast; this collection has a little of it all. What a beautiful blend of the extravagant and boho, right? Which is why we decided to speak to the designers and give you a peek into Qafila.
WM: Your collections have a recurring theme of travel and transcendence… be it Hiraeth or even Qafila. What’s this obsession with ‘Wanderlust’ and ‘Travellers’ when creating a line?
Rimple: I feel that the world is very mysterious. In fact, travel helps you discover and reach out to people from different cultures. On a whole, it’s like an amalgamation of versatile cultures. Be it the clothes they wear or a reflection of what it used to be. As designers, there is a constant need to be digging through history and finding out different crafts that exist. It’s a quest we are constantly on.
WM: This Spring/Summer collection has a fine balance between timelessness in silhouette and modernity in hues. How difficult is it to maintain the same?
Rimple: Speaking of today’s world where things are so fast and where one needs to strike a balance between being a working woman and a woman who enjoys dressing up traditionally, I think it is important to create practical clothing. We like to keep the traditional essence in it yet keep the silhouettes very practical so that a woman of today can wear it comfortably. The functionality of the garment has to be kept in mind.
WM: Since you work as a duo, what are the creative challenges you face?
Rimple: Yes, all the time. Luckily in so many years, we have come to a point where we understand each other. Harpreet is usually working in the factory and behind the scenes and I bridge the gap between what the clients need and what needs to be communicated to him. There are challenges we face and arguments we have, but all is in good humour. Because ultimately, the final result is always for the best.
WM: Indian couture is a huge industry in itself. Given you are couturiers, tell us about how the business has been evolving in the domain.
Rimple: We are not new to the fact that all foreign design companies have been sourcing their embroidery and other work from India for a very long time. They eye India especially when it comes to beautiful hand-embroidery techniques. As a label, our forte is hand embroidery that is intricate, elaborate and time-consuming. The beautiful result we yield after putting in several hours to create a garment is what we cherish. It’s also what makes our garments timeless. This is why our garments are heirlooms in couture. I always tell my clients that you aren’t only buying an outfit but also making an investment, as it can be passed on to the next generation. As designers, we are very intuitive in our thinking and in creating a collection. We don’t blindly follow any trends. There are restrictions to silhouettes because of what an Indian bride wears. While we are modern couturiers, we don’t want to deviate much from the past, which is why we try keeping the silhouette absolutely traditional. We’re true to our aesthetics and that makes our garments a classic.