Summer lookbook


Easy breezy clothing with the message of girl power... that’s Ishana Rai Sethia’s summer lookbook

‘I don’t go by the rulebook… I lead from the heart, not the head’ — Princess Diana
‘Sometimes you just have to throw on a crown and remind them who they’re dealing with’ — Marilyn Monroe
‘It’s amazing what you can get if you quietly, clearly and authoritatively demand it’ — Meryl Streep 

You would find these and more such spirited quotes of some iconic women on the labels of Ishana Rai Sethia’s spring-summer collection pieces. Called Bewitched, the collection has each garment named after one of these celebrated ladies — The Marilyn, The Meryl, The Diana, The Grace Kelly, The Sarah, The Audrey, The Katherine, The Sofia, The Elizabeth…. 

“The idea behind the collection was ‘girl power’ and I wanted to put a message out there with the clothing, because I wanted it to be clothes for all occasions, for all women… so I named every outfit, every style after one iconic woman, a woman who’s got a strong opinion…. All of these are women I have grown up watching and following. These are messages for everyday girls…,” says the young designer. 
That she puts a lot of thought into naming her clothes was evident even in her first collection, where she had named each garment after places that have inspired her during her travels. 

Ishana, who had successfully debuted her label at The India Story last year, has since made strong headway into the fashion fraternity, with her collections being picked up by some of the most premium fashion stores in the country. In Calcutta, she stocks at Living Free and has just launched her collection in 85 Lansdowne, where you’ll find her spring-summer 2017 line Bewitched on the racks.
While she had got noticed for her anti-fit styles in her first collection, here too the anti-fits rule, but the silhouettes are toned down. Lots of separates and versatile pieces make up the line, like kaftans, short dresses, uppers that can be worn as just dresses or paired with pants, and more. The fabrics are totally organic — khadi, dotar silk and wasted silk, a silk made with the threads that go waste after making dotar silk, “to get maximum mileage out of the process”. 

“We had a lot of fun with this collection. We work with a weaver family in Phulia, when the first prototypes of the garments came we made them try out the clothes… and it was so much fun… that way they also feel more invested in the process,” smiles Ishana. 
Watch out for her website — “The website will not only be my e-commerce platform but also tell the story of the brand, the story of the weavers, and eventually blogs about the sustainable fashion industry and strong women,” she says.

Model Karuna Ezara Parikh is one of the women Ishana identifies her kind of clothes with. And the admiration is mutual. “With Ishana’s first collection we shot a mini campaign and we called it Girl on the Go and that embodies the spirit of her clothing… that it is for the everyday goddess, the woman who is on the go but still wants to look special and feel special. For me the vibe is of a staycation… where you don’t want to be in your jeans or track pants, you want to be your everyday goddess. Her clothes I would throw on and be comfortable and they are clothes that don’t hinder you, they enhance you,” is what Karuna had to say about Ishana’s designs. And the thought behind The Sarah dress Karuna is seen sporting here? “Sarah Jessica Parker has sort of broken every norm in fashion and she’s done it in a very classy manner, so that’s the idea...,” says Ishana. The label on the dress quotes Sarah: “I like my money right where I can see it... hanging in my closet.”

Model-turned-actress Sauraseni has two releases lined up back-to-back — her Bengali debut, Anik Datta’s Meghnadbodh Rohoshyo, and Pratim D. Gupta’s Maacher Jhol. An admirer of Ishana’s designs, she got into three looks from the summer line — a short kaftan dress, a floral long jacket over a short dress, and an anti-fit dress with a touch of embroidery, all jazzed up with handmade cloth neckpieces, at 85 Lansdowne, where Ishana’s label has been launched recently. Post-shoot, Sauraseni sat down for a quick style chat with t2. 

Your style:  Very much like the clothes that Ishana makes, that’s why I can relate to her brand so much. To me comfort is the preference and as much as I can keep it subtle. Less is more.
Your summer style:  As comfortable as you can keep it, with anything in cotton or linen. 
Designers you like wearing:  Ishana makes fabulous clothes, then there is this new girl called Shreya Samanta who is doing really nice clothes, I have done one campaign with her. What I like is their clothes don’t make you look fat, with any sort of body type you can wear these and be comfortable.

You love: Shoes… any kind, from sneakers to stilettos, from pumps to platforms, I love all kinds of shoes.
Your go-to party look: I feel very comfortable in shorts, so maybe shorts, or a dress or jumpsuit. I try not to wear heels if I am going to be dancing, so sneakers. My hair tied up in a top-knot and make-up is as less as possible, probably a bright lipstick.
Now that you are getting into films, what changes are you making in your wardrobe?
That hasn’t changed my wardrobe in any way, because to me whatever I feel comfortable in I wear. But now that I am making appearances I have to keep in mind that people will be looking at me, they will talk about what I am wearing, what I am doing with my make-up. So for that I am seeking professional help, who are also my friends and so they know what I can pull off, what I can carry.