It’s a common scene in shops to see people reach out to stroke, prod and hold a garment of clothing between their fingers. Looking is almost always not enough: there’s an instinctive desire to feel and interact with the clothing. The eyeball, as magnificent as it is, just can’t grasp this sense of touch.
Anita Hirlekar’s collection, showcased at Graduate Fashion Week, evokes this longing to touch; the textured jumble of colour worked into the bold shapes is tantalising. There’s no denying it. You don’t just want to touch it, Hirlekar’s densely-packed textures are ferociously rich. There’s an impulse to scrunch the fabric, run a hand up and down it: experience the bed of embroidery with every finger tip.
The execution of Hirlekar’s work is sharp. Cuts are bold, stiff and strong: a neat juxtaposition to the soft stream of texture, giving a look of overwhelming intensity at first glance, but when seen up close reveals a detailed approach to craftsmanship. This can be seen with the petal-like white patches, and the match-stick style segments. The blend of the two creates a beautiful, brush-stroke effect.
Artist twins, Gert and Uwe were sources of inspiration and it’s easy to see why; with the duo’s use of soft, muted colour translated in Hirlekar’s teal blue, light purple and dark orange. Black acts as a canvas throughout, while explosions came forth with a fiery combination of red, orange and a dash of yellow.
The wool yarn and sequins used are quite a contrast: a clever way to lift the heavy looks. This nod to glamour also comes in the form of mesh panels, giving a space of subtle seduction as well as a breathe of stillness in the lashings of colour.
There’s a definite clash at play in Anita Hilekar’s work: a weave of soft fragility mixed with intriguing toughness. The lighter colours and feather-soft effect might suggest a playful, child-like creation but the boldness of the shapes and dark tones suggest a stirring of gloominess. We look forward to seeing if the path Hirlekar carves for herself is as vibrant as her Masters designs.
Written by Daniella Golden. Designs by Anita Hilekar of Central St Martins.