Satyajit Ray reimagined as raiment: Designer Agnik Ghosh creates 'wearable art' inspired by legendary filmmaker's works
The silhouettes have been achieved through ruching, pleating, smocking as well as puff sleeves, bishop sleeves, long glass sleeves and bagalbandi coats, with highlights of symmetry and asymmetry.
Satyajit Ray, whose films and fables have entertained a discerning audience the world over, would have turned 100 this year. While the intelligentsia shares interesting anecdotes, observations and essays on the Academy Award winner’s contribution to literature and cinema, his influence seems to have transcended to the sartorial space as well. For, in a one-of-a-kind tribute through demi-couture, Kolkata-based fashion designer Agnik Ghosh has amalgamated elements from Ray’s films Devi and Apur Sansar, and incorporated them in a new capsule collection which includes garments for both men and women for his label, Agnik Kolkata.
The silhouettes, inspired by 17th Century colonial clothing, have been achieved through ruching, pleating, smocking as well as puff sleeves, bishop sleeves, long glass sleeves and bagalbandi coats, with highlights of symmetry and asymmetry in the blouses, saris, kurtas and jackets. Textural experimentation involved the patchwork technique using both cotton and art silk. While the main surface ornamentation is attained through intricate kantha embroidery from West Bengal, the designer has also hand-painted and embellished the garments with beadwork and ari embroidery.
The young NIFT graduate, whose aim is to integrate fine arts into a wearable format, depicts the dichotomy showcased in Ray’s Devi—a celluloid take on Prabhat Kumar Mukhopadhyay’s fable—by playing with duality in colours, silhouettes and textures for the collection titled, Dawndo. “The film talked about religious superstition and dogmatism, where a woman, burdened by her father-in-law’s beliefs, constantly questions whether she is just a woman or a goddess. This capsule focuses on this dichotomy through juxtapositions,” explains Ghosh, adding, “We’ve used hues opposite in tonal quality (black, red and maroon pitted against beige and sandalwood) to signify rage, suffering, bondage, pain as well as peace, serenity, and freedom.”
Here special mention must be made of his personal interpretations, which include the Rakta Lekha blouse, a conservative bishop style piece with a cutout at the back with Devi embroidered on the sheer fabric to depict both blood and flesh. The challenge, says Ghosh, was to replicate images from the film into 2D embroidery to enliven Doyamoyee’s face or Kalikinkar’s dream of his daughter-in-law transitioning into a goddess. But the designer has managed that with great aplomb.
In the other range called Mayar Baadhon, Ghosh has painted scenes and montages from the film Apur Sansar on saris and blouses to depict the emotions rendered on screen. It tries to capture the essence of the film through intricate detailing, using monochromes. Dialogues, letters and monologues drawn out from the movie became part of the entire ensemble. For instance, letters that Apu’s wife wrote to him, references to his smoking, a close-up of the couple and the memorable last scene have been poetically translated on the garments through his handpainted designs. All in all, a beautiful celebration of Ray and Bengal that ought to find place in every cinema lover’s closet.