Under the sea influence

As temperatures rise, marine motifs and cool cuts are emerging in designer collections
Last Updated 13 May 2023, 03:24 IST
Designer duo Neel and Kanika’s fashion label, Jajaabor, has explored sea-inspired ensembles in shades of aqua.
Designer duo Neel and Kanika’s fashion label, Jajaabor, has explored sea-inspired ensembles in shades of aqua.
Shades of blue, green and white dominate Kaveri Lalchand’s latest collection, Mermaid and Marina.
Shades of blue, green and white dominate Kaveri Lalchand’s latest collection, Mermaid and Marina.

As temperatures rise, marine motifs and cool cuts are emerging in designer collections. These ensembles come with scallop details, sequins, and gauzy silhouettes.

Cool calypso

The easiest way to get a sea-inspired look is to focus on the colours. Fashion designer Shahin Mannan says, “Use colours like blue, green, and white, with a pop of coral for a playful touch. Maxi dresses, loose tops and wide-leg pants are great silhouettes for now.” Prints or embellishments like seahorses and corals, accessories like straw hats and chappals with hints of pearls also help to achieve such a look, she adds.

Designer duo Neel and Kanika of fashion label, Jajaabor, have also explored the theme in their latest collection, Archipelago. Designed in shades of blue, it is inspired by their extensive travels to Indonesia. “We visited the Komodo Islands, and each island was diverse. From turquoise blue waters to pink, white, and black beaches, to the lush green forests and mountains, the islands had everything,” Kanika explains. “When you look at the islands from Phinisi boats, you get to see how colours blend in gradation. We wanted to portray
this in our silhouettes using textures and elements of Indonesian iconography,” she says.

A reflection of the sea can be seen in linen in Chennai-based Kaveri Lalchand’s latest Mermaid and Marina
collection from her label Kaveri. “Sunday visits to the beach allowed me to soak in the majestic views of the ocean and ponder the mysteries that lay in its depths. This inspired me to create pieces in fine linen that embodied the beauty of the sea with hues that oscillate from white to blue and everything in between; finished with hemlines that are reflective of the rippling effect of waters in the sea that flow with undulating grace,” she says.

Elements of the sea

Mermaid silhouettes work beautifully to represent elements of the sea. Shivani Awasty celebrates the sea goddess through the ‘Wave gown’ and ‘Jade Aphrodite gown’ in her latest collection. “The inspiration stems from the ebb and flow of a wave and the silhouette brings in the fluidity of water. The hue and fabric are influenced by the depths of the sea, with deeper tones and darker colours. The embellishments include sandy grains and a pebble-like look. All the embroidery layouts in the collection are also based on corals,” she shares. “The best way to bring elements of the sea into your appearance would be by using tones of blue, green, a washed-down grey, and sharper jewel hues within these. Good alternatives would be oysters and pearls, as well as a lighter grey tone that would work on sequins as water has a sparkle,” she adds.

Kaveri has traced sheaves of waving seaweed, and used ocean blue hand prints, with hints of silver — a homage to living in the sunshine, swimming in the sea, and drinking in the wild air. “In our Mermaid Mercury dress, the hues are dip-dyed and shaded like the colours of the sea, reflective of colours that gleam in the sun. Emblazoned in between are hand-drawn and hand-screen printed lines that represent rippling waves. Appliqued in the middle are hand-screen printed leaves that are reminiscent of seaweed. Edged in organza, the hemlines are inspired by the rippling waves that touch the shore,” explains Kaveri.

Archipelago celebrates the untouched marine biosphere of East Nusa Tenggara. “Like the Chinese and Japanese, the people here even have a distinct style of art that defines clouds or waves. We picked the distinct styles and mixed them with a more contemporary graphic representation of how the colours of the landscapes blended and complemented each other,” adds Neel. “Also, looking for ‘Nemo’ or the clown fish, was one of our primary agendas while snorkelling and diving. Nemo plays a big role in our collection.” Neel and Kanika have used natural fabrics, playing with staples like silk Chanderi, silk organza, silk velvet, and slub cotton.

The challenge was to use soft, delicate fabrics to create structured silhouettes like jackets and corsets. “We have used layers of fabrics and put them together, applying the concept of kintsugi using battered dabka to create a fabric that has more body and could be used for structured silhouettes without using fusing. At the same time, we wanted to keep it light. We have added a bit of playfulness by using net,” explains Kanika.

There are some designers who have created ensembles which exude the feel of the sea, like designer Anousshka Sadarangani, founder of Anousshka, who has launched a new collection, AnuSara. “We have created saris in fabrics celebrating plant-based cellulose, and rich mashru silk extracted from Bamberg cellulose. These have rippling textures and are in colours like moss green, blue mist, and grey white, which are reminiscent of the sea,” she says.

For sea-inspired looks

*Accessorise using pearls, and seashells

*Use headbands, espadrilles, scarves, and bags with marine motifs

*Play with stripes and fedoras

*Wear sea-inspired nail art

*Scallops and scaly sequins look feminine and edgy

*Add one sea-inspired piece to your outfit, and keep the rest of the look neutral

(Published 12 May 2023, 19:30 IST)

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