Supriya Lele SS21 finds freedom in restraint
The designer further honed her explorations of sexiness, her Indian heritage and 90s grunge.
Courtesy Supriya Lele
The most exciting thing about the work of Supriya Lele is the way the elements of her design interplay in ways you don’t expect them to. This season that was most obviously found in an Indian print turned into an almost heavy metal band logo, spray-painted onto garments by Will Bond. On one T-shirt it looks faded, decades-old, worn in and comfy.
Last season, instead of showing on the catwalk, Supriya worked on a photography project in India with Jamie Hawkesworth. This season she was planning to, but the pandemic got in the way. Without the focussing conceptual energy of a fashion show, and presented with the problems of creation during the COVID lockdown, Supriya has created a collection that excels in doing what she is best at. She has honed in on her design language, that sheerness and sexiness mixed with a grungy and moody 90s sensibility, sleek minimalism, and drawing influence from her Indian heritage.
Restriction does, in some respects, allow creativity to flourish: and working in the studio post-lockdown with deadstock fabrics, and using her studio assistants as fit models, everything here feels powerful and necessary, the essentials honed in on during the design process. Sequin embellishments and bright blue fabrics offer a display of optimism and joy, relaxed tailoring a sense of comfort, while sheer layers and the peek of a g-string bring that sensuality to it.
Over just 14 looks, Supriya manages to create a powerful statement, all killer no filler. It’s tempting to read those elements individually in light of the way the pandemic has affected our relationship with clothes, dressing up, being seen, but these are all elements that Supriya has examined since she showed her first collection with Fashion East a few years ago, and here she binds them all together, harmoniously and poetically.