The process of seeing becomes consuming when what is in front of you becomes food for thought. It not only satiates your hunger to learn more but it also builds your appetite to unlearn some of what you’ve been conditioned to accept. Art is one such figment of a whimsical reality that designer duo Pankaj and Nidhi Ahuja transcribe every day as animate visual conversations. Through these they find value in what they create, be it garments, or a life that constitutes merit worth boasting. At the threshold of launching their Autumn-Winter 2019 collection at the Lotus Makeup India Fashion Week on March 15, they write a new chapter in this love affair with art.
While walking the corridors of the vast Rijksmuseum museum in Amsterdam, that has gained position the world over for showcasing works such as Rembrandt’s painting The Night Watch, The Threatened Swan by Jan Asselijn, The Milkmaid by Johannes Vermeer, among others, what made the designer’s stop and stare was Dutch artist Jan Davidz de Heem’s Still Life with Flowers in a Glass Vase.
This painting that portrayed a cluster of flowers celebrates the effervescence beauty of flora in its simplistic yet glorious form. “The detail and realism in this rather small painting is breath-taking. It made its way recently into our home on a magnified customised wallpaper and it’s the first thing we look at every morning with our first cup of coffee, our best part of the day,” says Pankaj.
It immediately became a source of inspiration for their upcoming collection that has now reached the famous runway. Both designers have worked their graphic sensibilities to make a collection cascading from florals to origami-like geometric patterns on rich taffeta, silk velvets and organza, they say. “At the heart of every collection lies the texturisation we like to give our textiles. We revived our trapunto quilting and an army of scissor-wielding hands have cut petals and discs, squares and trellises in fabric and metallic faux leather to create the surfaces that embellish the pieces,” he says.
Allowing themselves to move freely from one form to the other structure, Pankaj and Nidhi have tried to remain free from the shackling constraints often entrusted upon artistic freedom by arbitrary censorship. Living by their purpose, both of them tread the thin line between creativity and saleability, making clothes that will not just be worn but valued for their social expression in a widely discerning society.