Wednesday, December 7

First look of MKC Men from the stable of Malika’s Kantha Collection

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Malika Varma believes that the “timing is right”. The timing to take over the Malika’s Kantha Collection baton from veteran kantha revivalist and mother, the inimitable Shamlu Dudeja. “Mum is always there with us. She will be 83 in May. What she has done for kantha, I don’t think anyone else could have done. I had her at home for 11 months (in the lockdown), while I launched my website on her 82nd birthday. And, it was with so much joy that she was handing over (the charge),” Malika tells t2. Both mother and daughter started the brand 35 years ago. While Malika took a break in the middle, she is now back in full swing with “new ideas” and dreams.

Like menswear, which has been on her mind for a while and this Poila Baisakh sees the unveiling of MKC Men. “We have of course dressed men right through. Sanjay Dutt has worn our kantha. All the governors have worn it. I, however, feel we haven’t done justice to men. For me, it was satisfying because these pieces are masterpieces by virtue of them being done in Bengal by the women in the villages,” says Malika. She wants to free kantha from the “traditional box” that the craft has been put into. “We need to change that perspective,” she says.

For this special shoot, the idea was to further just that. Kantha paired with denims and sneakers. What fun!Effortless and oh-so-cool! While Kutubuddin channels the fiery sexy in a white-on-white two-layered kantha shawl and torn denims, Samrat Ganguly sports a laid-back look in a grey-and-white tussore kantha sherwani, which he also later styled with a shawl for a slightly more formal touch (inset). Iqbal in his tussore bundi waistcoat and red glasses, can rock a brunch as well as a #newnormal meet-up. “The white shawl on Kutubuddin is the original style of kantha with guri run. Even beyond the motifs there is white-on-white embroidery. Samrat’s sherwani has geometric designs and is contemporary,” says Malika.Kutubuddin Sheikh in this kantha shawl makes for one stunning frame. “This was the same shawl that I was wearing. That’s the point we are trying to make that kantha is also so gender neutral,” says Malika.Make-up pro Abhijit Chanda is in front of the camera this time and he carries off this three-layered nakshi kantha shawl with grace. “This has guri run. The origin of kantha was two-three layers of it stitched together. They would draw from whatever was around them. Kantha was a quilt. Now kantha has become the stitch. These are the original kantha looks and all of them have the guri run, which is most special for me. It is a colour-on-colour guri run. It takes up to a year to complete a shawl of this kind,” says Malika. Iqbal too sports a nakshi kantha shawl made dramatic with black shirt and black trouser.Malika Varma with Malika’s Kantha Collection matriarch and mother Shamlu Dudeja. What’s Shamlu’s top tip for Malika? “As Malika comes back and takes over the reigns of MKC, my blessings are with her to continue empowering our artisans and taking kantha to greater heights and larger markets. The launch of MKC Men is a fabulous step to achieve this!” she said. Check out MKC Men at 4/1 Alipore Park Road or on www.malikakantha.comAbhijit is poised as a pro in this kantha bundi paired with a plain black dhoti and a black tee.he whole idea was to make it relatable to all age groups. The looks are light and casual, simply because in all reality, no one is doing all those heavy stylised looks any more. We have done some formals and casuals and because the brand is so organic, we have kept the looks also organic. We put Indian ethnic in a box, meant for certain occasions and meant to look a certain way, but I think we need to break away from that. We are Indians and we have this lovely legacy of embroidery and weaves and we should embrace that. Why wouldn’t the youngsters wear that? And most importantly, take pride in our heritage. Or else, we will find it in a museum one day! When we support the handicrafts, they thrive and not just survive — Pinky Kenworthy, our stylist for the daySamrat’s silk kantha sherwani, heavily embroidered, looks classy and modern. “This again takes up to a year to make,” says Malika. The jeans and the boots add spunk.

Source: Telegraph

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