An ode to the legendary Chausat Yogini Temple (64 tantric female deities) of Odisha
Mumbai, 23rd August 2018: Actor Rasika Dugal walked the ramp for Gunjan Jain as showstopper for the collection Yogini, inspired by the legendary 64 Yogini Temple in Odisha. The Collection is by studio Vriksh by Gunjan Jain, crowned Designer of the Year by the Vogue Fashion Fund. The Collection’s major textile innovation is of blending exquisite ikat and jala weaves on khadi tussar silk sarees for the first time ever. The Collection was unveiled on Day 2–Sustainable Fashion Day at Lakme Fashion Week Winter/Festive 2018 on 23rd August 2018.
Yogini is a fierce, highly feminine collection; a canvas depicting different feminine concepts of the Yogini cult – magic, fertility, nature, disease and death – all epitomizing Shakti. It draws power and beauty from the elements as well as from their inner self, almost like a fascinating sorceress. Yogini is Gunjan’s expression of the power of the inner Goddess in all of us. The art that finds expression through luxurious handwoven saris styled in experimental sari drapes teamed with workwear blouses. All kinds of prominent women wear Vriksh saris – from actors like Kirron Kher to Nandita Das to Jaya Bachchan, politicians like Sonia Gandhi, Sheila Dixit and Renuka Chowdhury, singer Shubha Mudgal, curator Ina Puri, dancers like Sonal Mansingh, Shallu Jindal, Madhavi Mudgal, Alarmel Valli and Leela Samson, and most flattering of all fashion designers like Ritu Kumar and Neeru Kumar love Gunjan’s work. The ‘Yogini’ collection celebrates the power of all those women spinners and weavers.
Vriksh weavers have also been honored with the Shanta Prasad Award for Excellence by the Crafts Council of India and the Sutrakar Samman by the Delhi Crafts Council.
A major textile innovation – blending Ikat and Jala weaves together on khadi tussar silk saris. Gunjan says, “Generally fine ikats are woven on steady and uniformly tight spun yarns such as cotton and mulberry silks. Khadi tussar silk is a difficult yarn since it is unevenly and loosely spun and also tends to shrink and expand with moisture. But, such challenges inspire me. With constant research and experiments with our team of weavers, Vriksh has achieved beautiful soft tussar Ikat saris blended with Jala weaves in myriad colours. These saris are luxurious yet easy to drape. It’s perfect for the woman who likes both beauty and a full schedule. It follows our belief that you can be what you want to be in a Vriksh sari.”
Showstopper Rasika Dugal says: “I am honoured to be a part of Vriksh’s debut show at Lakme Fashion Week. I’m always moved by the precision and the craftsmanship (or should I say, craftswomanship) involved in the art of weaving. Especially with weaving techniques like ikat and jaala on Khadi tussar silk. It is a level of skill that I can only marvel at. I’m grateful for this opportunity to celebrate that skill and to celebrate the Sari in Gunjan’s exquisite designs and drapes, which are a harmonious blend of the Traditional and the Individual. Which speak of the fierce as well as the feminine – that strength and vulnerability are both beautiful and can coexist. That choice can be to rebel or to conform. That is the true Shakti as I understand it.”
About Gunjan Jain
Gunjan Jain grew up in Delhi and is a proud alumnus of Pearl Academy of Fashion. After graduating, she began working in the apparel export industry Delhi and Bangalore. But soon she was disillusioned with the industrial, assembly line way of thinking about clothes. “In 2007, I packed my bags moved to Odisha and dived head first into the world of the handmade and gradually set up my design studio Vriksh. Those early years in Odisha with one of the world’s oldest and greatest traditions of ikat and Jala weaving changed my life.”
Gunjan Jain is considered India’s leading young textile and fashion designer making waves wherever she goes. She is debuting this year at Lakme Fashion Week Winter/Festive 2018. She has taken India’s classic textiles, from ikats to handwoven tussars, around the world—from the US to Indonesia to every major city in India.
Vriksh is an alternate design studio in Odisha founded and headed by Gunjan Jain and it works solely with handloom weavers and natural materials exploring the rich textile tradition of Odisha. Along with mastering the finest khadi tussar silks in Ikat and Jala weave, Vriksh also offers experimental silk ikats, natural dyed weaves and rare revivals like Bomkai and Dhalapathar saris. Among the different weaving techniques and fabrics Jain and her team of weavers’ work with, Vriksh has grown significantly in the famed tussar Jala work and the intricate ikat weaves displaying calligraphic ikats and other delicate patterns. Vriksh has been doing extensive research and developing new weave constructions to make softer hand spun handwoven khadi tussar sarees and stoles combining it with different natural yarns.