Ashish hosted an Indian wedding at Brewer Street Carpark for his SS17 show.
Stepping into the BFC show space at Brewer Street Carpark, which had transformed into the prettiest of spaces thanks to the colourful fairy lights hanging off the ceiling in their thousands, it was clear that the show about to commence was going to be a spectacular one. But we sure did not expect to be so stunned by the collection, or the performance, Ashish has created for SS17. As the show goers quieted down, a blind musician was escorted on the catwalk, and the most beautiful, otherworldly sounds started coming out of his sitar. Emotions ran high. Then Neelam Gill walked out, barefoot, ankle bracelets jingling, an incredible, jewel-encrusted Indian crown on her head with a deep blue, crystal-scattered veil floating behind her, a vision in her red embroidered full skirt and sequin t-shirt proclaiming ‘Love & Devotion.’ The theme was set. Ashish was to pay homage to his Indian roots, showcase the beauty found in the culture of his mysterious motherland and stress how enriching multiculturalism is in today’s world. We could not be more gripped.
An Indian wedding was the vibe, a celebration, an extravaganza of colour, happiness and, how else, a lot of glitter. Traditional Indian garments, like the sari and sherwani, the male long-like jacket and trousers came in whites, pastel pinks, yellows, reds and dark blues, embroidered in incredibly delicate floral patterns. The same style was adapted for a denim jacket and jeans combo, worn by a Krishna, unbelievably painted by the genius that is Isamaya Ffrench (Shiva and Ganesha also made an appearance with their female counterparts), there were shorts, slip dresses, jumpers and wide leg trousers, skirts to die for, two uber-sexy cut out jumpsuits, floor-sweeping coats and unbelievable shirts. Everything was obviously elevated to Ashish level with the endless sequin fabric that only he can make so desirable. Hair came down below the waist in the thickest of plaits with more jewellery weaved in, nose rings attached to earrings swung down the models’ faces, bangles were piled up high, crowns climbed even higher, toes and fingers were painted red with Alta, a traditional dye which adorns feet at weddings and religious festivals, one model dressed in a sheer white shirt and sequinned jeans embellished with roses handed out the same flowers to the front row, and another brave model walked out with a huge snake resting on his shoulders.
As the man of the hour walked out to take his bow to the loudest cheers of LFW, the message of his show became even more poignant. Wearing a jumper with ‘Immigrant’ emblazoned across his chest, he suddenly became even more of a legend among the fashion crowd. His marriage theme was not only a literal one, between a man and a woman, but one between cultures, between India and Great Britain. Not a relationship of the past, of the empire, but one on an equal level. He has expressed, loud and clear, the benefits of embracing different cultures, the beauty of coming together. The show has left us with profound feelings of peace and respect, apart from the obvious awe for the collection. In Indian mythology, man and woman are equal, one in need of the other to create the perfect whole, the active part, and the spiritual, meditative side. It is time for Britain, and the world, to embrace this ideology and come together in a perfect and peaceful union.