We were treated to some real statement shoulders and then some during Kaushik Valendra’s debut AW20 collection, showcasing almost armoured Athena vibes for contemporary menswear. The removable shoulder moulds are designed to accentuate the human form but without ever compromising fluidity of movement. This was a lovely balance between something traditionally masculine with softness of feminine movement.
The presentation mixed the traditional with the cutting edge, even inverting the traditional runway show with working members of the atelier – not least the designer himself – displaying their artisanal skills for all to see. This was such a magical moment and really brought to the forefront the level of commitment and creativity that goes on behind the scenes.
Key to the collection is the juxtaposition of traditional Indian embroidery techniques in collaboration with the lauded atelier of Vastrakala, founded by Jean-François Lesage, with the incorporation of space-age fabrications, such as magnetic zips and a heat-reactive felt that naturally moulds over the contours of the shoulders, eliminating the need for traditional padding. Most striking are Valendra’s seamless hybridisation of sportswear and tailoring, charting new territory on the map of glamorous contemporary menswear.
Photos // Kaushik Valendra
Words // Christobelle Batchelor – Fashion Director