Mirror work is a traditional technique that is native to Gujarat in India. This technique has been extensively used for clothes and home accessories for many years. Indian designers have recently been using more of this technique for their runway and ready to wear collections. This technique has got a contemporary makeover by the Indian designers.
Some of the more recent examples of designers using this technique on the ramp include Abraham & Thakore and Payal Singhal. Both these contemporary designers have drawn inspiration from mirror work and used it in their collections.
Kaanch or Sisha embroidery is known as mirror-work or abla embroidery. Initially pieces of stones like mica were used rather than the mirrors but over time, small round mirrors or thin blown-glass pieces were broken and used.
Indian Designers and Abla Embroidery
Indian designers have made use of abla embroidery in various parts of their collections. The use has mainly been restricted to traditional garments and mainly for finishing touches. The use of extensive mirror work in collections of Designers from India is a rather new phenomenon.
Abraham & Thakore
The Indian designer duo of Abraham & Thakore used a combination of mirror work and subtle embroidery detailing. These designers are renowned for their contemporary interpretation of traditional Indian styles. The take in mirror work was no exception – these Indian designers use big mirrors on salwar kameez suits and on sarees.
While the choice of garments was exceptional, the execution of the vision was even more stylish. These designers showed (as they usually do) that it is possible to be modern and chic, and at the same time be inspired by Indian traditions
Payal Singhal’s latest collection showcased at the Lakme fashion week included a lot of pieces that featured mirror work
This designer created sarees, salwar kameez suits and lehengas (lenghas) – all featuring mirror detailing. The combination of mirror detailing on tops in peach and pink colours created a very unique look. The use of abla on lehengas has been traditional, but the colour combination and the general styling by Payal Singal made the pieces quite unique.
Mirror detailing has not been traditionally considered fashionable or chic. Each of the above mentioned Indian designers (Payal Singal and Abraham & Thakore) have used the technique in contemporary and fashionable manner. The promotion of this traditional technique by designers is certainly one in the right direction for traditional Indian crafts.