THAT it took 875 man hours is just one of the many reasons why Nachiket Barve’s jewelled monokini dress is a work of art. The Mumbai designer is making a habit of creating museum-worthy fashion — his Ginkgo fossil skirts and boxy coat from spring continue to get repeat orders. Backed by a strong story, an eye for colour and nature’s glory, the man understands wearable luxury. He believes in being “timely and timeless, and offering something special, that is not available in the high street market.” Better yet, he gets the symbiosis between fashion and film, and is uniquely interpreted by both young and old Bollywood. Be it the Bachchans (family friends of his father, an eminent doctor) or young trend-setters like Sonam Kapoor, Shraddha Kapoor and Alia Bhatt, Barve’s divine blouses, mini capelets (a must buy this season), dresses and coats are open to experimentation. “It is fascinating when a 22-year-old wears something from her mother’s wardrobe differently,” says Barve, who has drawn inspiration from Maori costumes, motifs and tattoos for Maia, the autumn winter line he is bringing to Chennai next week.
The designer, also a wildlife photographer, reimagines the Kirituhi tattoos, glowworm caves and another popular motif in New Zealand, the silver fern. Having lived by himself in New Zealand in his late teens, he says he grew up on National Geographic and Reader’s Digest, and these influences have taken shape over time to become Maia. Barve’s fierce warrior woman rocks tops, oversized shirts, dresses and blouses in velvet, silk, chiffon, crepe, georgette, organza and even faux leather. You’ll find intricate beadwork, 3-D threadwork, laser cutting, and details like sleeve inserts or tie-dye fringes that make the wearer “feel like a goddess.” The pragmatic designer, who gives preference to ‘sane’ over ‘safe’ when it comes to fashion, has a fresher take on silhouettes this time around. You’ll find an industrial element in something an simple as the zipper. And the clothes are specifically for night or day. “It is a warrior woman line,” he admits, adding, “You can’t be Princess Xena, but you still have to be ‘with it’.”
The designer will be at Evoluzione on August 13. Pricing from `5,000 to `50,000. Details: 28333627
— Rosella Stephen