by Almas SadiqueJul 12, 2023
Fashion designer and textile revivalist, Ritu Kumar, collaborated with celebrated architect and interior designer, Ashiesh Shah, for a home and tableware collection. Two years ago, the fashion veteran forayed into the world of home decor with linen and home accessories. The latest collection incarnates from the same ideologies – a modern interpretation of the traditional archetype. Patrons can now bring home exquisite bed linens, wallpapers, tableware, and home décor that are tailored with an Indian vernacular but with a contemporary edge. A vociferous champion of Indian craftsmanship, the collections are a homage to indigenous art forms. “Homes are particularly important as they reflect an inherent culture of India. Indian textiles go beyond making a fashion statement; especially in our country, these convey various aspects of life and its transition,” says Kumar. All religious ceremonies and phases of life are marked with some representation of the rites of passage of life, from birth to death, all are represented with a thread and the warp and weft of life. “Our home collection allows for people to usher the classically Indian design vernacular into their homes in a way that is contemporary and fresh while maintaining its heritage,” shares the veteran designer.
The design narrative transverses across the culturally rich cities of Amer, Kochi and Jaisalmer, capturing the essence of deeply-rooted heritage and paying homage to the primary custodians of craftsmanship. Shah, an award-winning architect and designer, was roped in to scale the architectural diversity and present the collection with a contemporary flair. The result reflects an extension of the in-depth conversations between Ritu Kumar Home and Atelier Ashiesh Shah, adapting to a generation old practice of textile with the Atelier imbuing its flavour and language. “Right from its inception, I took a while to acquaint myself with her archives along with the collections produced thus far. Drawing inspiration from traditional Indian fashion and textiles, the collections represent a fusion, a result of finding nuances in textiles within the Indian ethos and creating a distinct, modern language,” explains Shah, the Principal and Founder of Atelier Ashiesh Shah.
Inspired by travel and the country’s diverse heritage, each element in the new offerings displays a minimal aesthetic with simplistic details and a hint of texture. Shah immaculately captures the architectural themes of Tharavad (Kerala’s ancestral palaces) and the cultural habitat of the region. The ‘Cochin’ collection features the tropical banana leaf motif engraved in tones of green and gold and is reminiscent of the scenic topography of southern India.
The moodboard for the ‘Desert’ collection draws direct inspiration from the unending dunes of the desert landscape of Jaisalmer while celebrating the versatility of the colour palette. Earthy hues of brown, beige and maroon dominate the collection and the designer plays with scale and form to create elemental forms of textiles and dinnerware. For ‘Amer’, Shah adapts to the intricate architecture of the region, embodying the richness and royalty that is synonymous with the historical-cultural heritage of the royals, with a contemporary flair.
The collection creates a timeless ambience with a comforting and rooted sensory impact. Amrish Kumar, Director and Creative Director of Ritu Kumar, credits the brand’s easy adaptation process of the timeless tradition into a contemporary context to its design ethos. “At the core, the collection is an homage to India’s design signature. The idea is to allow classic prints to permeate into homes. We seek inspiration from prints and architecture and interpret those designs onto our homeware to preserve our country’s design legacy in a modern way,” he says.
Putting rest to the claims that luxury brands have a 'respect deficit' with Indian artisans, a conscious effort was made to enforce local resources to promote and celebrate local crafts and cultures and appreciate the vernacular over the course of the campaign. Referencing multiple cultures, the collaborators worked in tandem with a team of people from varied backgrounds, each infusing a distinct character in visualising the campaign. The true essence of the collection is contained in the energy and warmth exuded by the locals. “This collaboration across disciplines was incredibly rewarding. This collection is minimalist and very different from our usual offerings but the crux remains the same — at the heart of the collection lies the artisan and Indian design,” concludes Amrish.