I have seen Babita Malkani growing from strength to strength over the years, as a designer. Her inspirations have ranged from coral reefs to Turkish Whirling Dervishes to Bhutan and even the Baul Singers from Bengal.
This season, the amiable designer chose sculptor Arzan Khambatta as her inspiration and called her collection Metalmorphosis. Arzan is arguably India’s most famous sculptor and Babita even had a few of his metal sculptures placed strategically on her ramp.
Presenting a line of jackets, dresses, saris, tunics and palazzos, Babita embellished them with metal pieces, nuts, bolts, screws and metal sheets to form unconventional designs on the garments. Even her colour palette was dark in keeping with the theme. Starting with wine, burgundy, onion pink, black and charcoal with specially created rust dyeing forms, the designer had drapes (her signature look) with interesting structures. Draped tunics were seen with machined waistcoats, sarong skirts appeared with grey basic tops and pleated wrap dresses were lean and sensuous in form. Maxis were layered, shaded halters were sexy, asymmetric dresses was delicately detailed and the wide black pants with the one shoulder top were followed by a half sari drape over leotards.
Babita then followed this with off-white, beige, peach, nude, black and charcoal using clamping and dyeing techniques for a relaxed line of clothing. The sari gowns in ombré colours, the sheer pants with abstract silhouettes and prints for the tunic, layered dress and the many togas with sari like drapes were striking entries. An interesting touch which featured in most of the ensembles were the extended hemlines that looped up to the waist, neck or the shoulders in the front or back.
Babita’s choice for the show-stopper was the very fragile Bollywood actress Kalki Koechlin, who looked like a modern day warrior princess in a grey crepe gown with embroidered multi straps and bodice. And sitting in the front row to cheer her on was husband Anurag Kashyap and his petite daughter.