Rise of the son

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By Amalin Datta launches his debut line for women. A t2 first look SMITA ROY CHOWDHURY
  • Published 23.03.14

The mother is a stalwart in the world of men’s fashion. The son is all set to take his first steps in the world of women’s fashion. Menswear designer Sharbari Datta’s son, Amalin, is ready with his debut line for women — a collection of high-end pret garments — that will be launched at The Park’s Aqua on March 28. t2 takes a sneak peek into the collection while talking to Amalin about his creative lineage, his inspirations and aspirations.

Why the decision to plunge into womenswear?

I have been into other forms of creation and there was a natural urge to diversify. As a man, I think it is a natural urge to bring out the beauty of the feminine form. Hence womenswear. But it is a huge challenge as well. The womenswear industry is so competitive… there is so much creation going on all around.

Tell us about your work…

I am starting with a very small collection… there are dresses, skirts and jackets. It is very high-end pret right now, though going forward I’ll be doing lighter pieces as well. The look of this collection is very textured… I have put in a lot of effort to create the textures and they are completely original. The base fabric is silk — Chinese silk, Bengal silk, south silk and Bhagalpuri silk. With that as the base, I have created different kinds of textures with the use of acid colours, metal dust, lacquering, natural dyes and other techniques. Then there is surface ornamentation with threadwork and zari.

How long did it take to put together the collection?

I didn’t get much time to work on this collection. My wife, Kanaklata, who is my main support in this, gave me a very strict deadline for the launch. So I did it entirely in about two months.

As we see the collection, we find unmistakable influences of the Sharbari Datta look in your style of work.

It’s natural to be influenced by my mother’s style of work. Also, I have been involved in the menswear label very closely. So the style rubs off.

How much of an influence has your mother been?

My mother has definitely had a huge influence on my work. I have been so involved with her work always that I have learnt a lot from her. Also, many people don’t know about my father, Alo Datta. He was a very creative man and he experimented with his creativity. He had his own brand of hand-printed saris in the Seventies, which was very popular among the elite and the fashionable at that time. My mother was also actively involved in the sari printing; she didn’t have her own label then. That apart, my father was into clay pottery, then he started doing murals….

So designs are in your DNA...

Yes. My father was one of the foundations of my creativity. I was brought up among all that and I learnt from observing them. I learnt sculpting, making colours in different mediums… natural colours. Of course I have my own artefacts workshop… I make artefacts in a lot of mediums, from stone to clay to glass.

You have worked with menswear before this, how different was it to put together a line for women?

Oh, it’s very different. The scope to create in womenswear is enormous. While creating menswear, you have to work with a certain amount of restraint. The scope to experiment is much more in women’s clothing. You can play around much more with the shape of the body.

So, going forward what dreams do you have for your label Amalin?

I want it to progress naturally. Though I have started with western silhouettes, I have plans of doing saris as well… very different kind of saris. I want to take my label to fashion weeks and do everything, but I’m not in a rush. I’ll do it at my own pace.