“Contemporary yet bold, steeped in tradition yet liberal. It’s an artist’s fantasy come true!” avers celebrated fashion designer Punit Balana rather elatedly, on being quizzed about the vibe of his latest collection titled Lakshmi.
“Lakshmi is a canvas painted with bold lotus, birds, enchanted gardens. We’ve largely experimented with explorative layered metallic embroidery on prints and solid tones, while the creative use of antique coins, threads and mirrors breathe magic into the rich palates of neutrals, tones of henna and earthy hues,” he further enthuses.
The collection is replete with Balana’s signature skirts with pockets, well-fitted corsets and capes; deep shoulder cut and short crop blouses paired, printed saris, metallic bralettes, printed shararas and peplum jackets, and sheer slip dresses.
Balana’s innate passion for Jaipur’s artisanal crafts, goes back a long way, and his label mirrors just that. “I am inspired by the rich legacy of artisanal crafts of Rajasthan, where I grew up. I’m also inspired by the colours of nature and all things natural and at the same time the love of our customers keeps me motivated to keep creating, to keep thinking of what next!” Akin to his brand philosophy, every piece from the house is a by-product of decisions that are conscious, ethical and rooted in tradition. Combining modernism, minimalism and aestheticism, Punit Balana brings to you the rootedness of Indian culture. Inspiration for the brand comes from the local arts of Jaipur and Rajasthan as a whole, whether it’s block printing, Rabari, Zardozi. “The choices we make as a brand always align with our beliefs, and whatever techniques we use, in terms of dyeing, printing and more are conscious and natural techniques.”
As someone who has always coloured outside the lines, the past couple of years have been trying, with concerns exacerbated by the COVID-19 outbreak. Speaking of which he says, “The pandemic impacted a lot of homegrown businesses and we would be lying if I said it did not affect us. But it also gave us a lot of time to go back to the drawing board and brainstorm. We researched and studied the consumers and what they love about our brand and I would proudly say the pandemic was when we launched our Balana Men and since then there has been no looking back.”
While this year marks his 8th outing with Lakmé Fashion Week, Balana is quick to assert how 2022 will be a different year for his designs on the runway. “This is the first time we are working with bold motifs in natural vegetable dyes with Kalamkari and Ajrak on luscious Chanderi silks rendering a vision that brings to life Rajasthani heritage like never seen before! Each ensemble has a signature Punit Balana element yet a complete new structure and style. This will also be the first time we will show our menswear line on the runway. We launched Balana Men back in 2020 but this would be our first showcase on the ramp.”
On the upside, with things having begun to settle, Balana is certain that this year will bring good tidings to the fashion space. “Well, there’s a lot happening actually. We are working on multiple projects in Delhi and Jaipur and will announce soon,” he signs off.