People look to London Fashion Week to discover the best fresh talent, and with Ahluwalia’s debut catwalk, they just may find it. After releasing four films over the past two years in lieu of shows (due to the pandemic), Ahluwalia has developed somewhat of an ongoing dialogue with the medium. So, for AW22, and upon staging her first show, it made sense that Priya Ahluwalia looked back to the world of film to inform its collection.
Creative director Priya has made a name for herself and her brand in the fashion world by consistently exploring and designing with her dual Nigerian-Indian heritage in mind. This season, Priya referenced the deep personal connection she has to both Bollywood and Nollywood cinema, directly influenced by the “heady imagery and dramatic plots of traditional Indian and Nigerian storytelling”.
In essence, the collection represents a love letter to the two genres, whilst centering them and drawing attention to them as often overlooked films in Western cinema. Indeed, Ahluwalia found solace in “investigating and learnign about cinema….finding common syncasies in a collection blending romance and sex appeal”.
These references are manifested in the garments as T-shirts and shirts which have been printed with images of the posters that line the streets of Lagos and Delhi, and emblazoned graphics of key archetypal Nollywood characters that move with the wearer. As well as shirts, these images have also been digitally-printed on denim.
The spirit of typical Nollywood and Bollywood characters has even been translated into the garments’ construction – with boxy tailoring connoting the powerful women who appear in the films. As ever, Ahluwalia also delivered new lines of its (now) signature tracksuits, this time in citrus orange, yellows and greens to recall the posters that would advertise Priya’s personal favourite films.
As well as delivering a confident, cohesive offering for fashion week, here Ahluwalia is addressing representation in fashion – providing a unique and multifaceted lens on her culture and putting it on a pedestal for the world to enjoy.
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See also: DESIGN & DANCE IS SAUL NASH’S AW22 RITUAL