Sama Ali presents Kotwara

Designed by daughter Sama Ali with Meera and Muzaffar Ali the ‘Kotwara’ presentation was an ethereal experience that captivated the audience at the Lakmé Fashion Week, Summer/Resort 2017.

The splendid “Romance of Kotwara” collection took the audience on a fabulous journey of craft and design. The Kotwara label has for the last two decades reinvented the beauty of the Chikankari craft and brought in various silhouettes and added zardosi to the embroidery. Crafting beautiful stories through intricate embroidery, the label created magic on the runway.

The Kotwara classics by Sama Ali interpreted the techniques of chikan, zardosi and Kamdani on fine brocade weaves and dreamy summer voiles in a truly artistic manner.

The couture label ‘House of Kotwara’ was the brainchild of two creative minds. Filmmaker and painter, Muzaffar Ali – the Raja of Kotwara – and his architect wife, Meera Ali who conceptualized the brand to revive the traditional craft of Awadh (Uttar Pradesh, India) In 1990. It worked towards understanding the aesthetics and reimagining the craft with designs of the modern world. This integration of old-style beauty with modern design sensibility, gave the collection its essence.

The Kotwara collection designed by Sama Ali who joined the brand in 2014, is a graduate of London College of Fashion and now heads the design team. Inspired by Muzaffar Ali’s paintings there was an interpretation from prints to a great mélange of motifs, which moved seamlessly from chikankari to zardosi and Kamdani embroidery.

To set the mood of the collection the very graceful Shivani Varma danced elegantly on the ramp. Opening the show with the white section of chikan work of a very high order, there were kurtas, shararas, anarkalis, angarkhas, and dupattas that were at times turned into capes with ruffles, some stylish palazzos and stunning lehengas. Bustiers appeared with ornate lehengas; while the saris with gold, tonal or silver embroidery would be ideal for haute couture events.

Starting the show on a pastel shade card of white, pale blue, pink, peach, and green, the colours then moved to stronger hues like fuchsia and black, all encrusted with beautiful embellishments in sensational designs. Occasionally, a white sari was teamed with a fuchsia choli or a lehenga in the same colour was worn with an asymmetric angarkha. There was a hint of contemporary styling with a corset and lehengas or a bustier with long slim unattached sleeves.

The elegance of handcrafting, which has faded ever since the machine age took over, was once again revived and brought to the forefront by the Kotwara label.

Designer Sama Ali with Meera and Muzaffar Ali paid homage to the age-old craftsmanship and showcased the elegance of handcrafting with their serene ‘Romance of Kotwara’ collection.

The fabulous jewellery that accompanied the gorgeous collection was by Sunita Shekhawat who believed in hand craftsmanship and skill of artisans.

The show stopper was the very lovely, Bollywood star, Aditi Rao Hydari who floated down the runway in a glittering, black, encrusted lehenga, dazzling choli and embellished tulle dupatta.

When it comes to preserving and valuing the beauty of India’s fading craft, fashion followers will adore the creations of ‘Kotwara’ designed by Sama Ali with Meera and Muzaffar Ali for their intricate aesthetics.