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In a new series titled “Haute Couture Diaries: Lecoanet Hemant in Paris”, Genes takes a deep dive into the the collections that shaped our design principles. “Haute Couture is an unbridled expression of creativity, where clothing meets art for one singular connoisseur- giving birth to the concept of made to measure.”, notes Hemant Sagar who started this illustrious journey in 1981 with partner and collaborator Didier Lecoanet, at the very epicentre of fashion - PARIS. Our co-founders take us through the archives, with each look serving an inspiration for the ready-to-wear of today.

The story of Genes’ latest collection titled “...tropiques!” Is intricately linked to a garment crafted almost three decades ago. For Haute Couture Spring Summer 1997, Look 11 floated on the runway in a cloud of silk chiffon to Madagascar chantings filling the air. Upon an effortlessly choreographed reveal, emerged a sculpted bodice vibrant with the hues of a forest.36 different coloured yarns were hand woven for a custom tapestry crafted in central France-bringing the vision of a tropical rainforest to life. The back, no less of a wonder, was courtesy of Master Tatsumura- a legend in the art of Japanese brocades. “ Every little detail was of prime importance. From the African chieftain inspired eyewear to the dangling beaded jewellery, each element brought different cultures together.”, recounts Didier.

Two decades later, the archival tapestry was translated to a hand painted rendition by Didier himself. The sentimentality remains the same, but echoed in a different language. The print comes alive on crisp shirts, tees and jackets for a zestful summer with Genes.

“The cardinal rule of couture is to instill an elevated technique each season, with every look reflecting a boundary pushing signature.”, notes Hemant. Angular necklines and squared armholes became one such leitmotif, as evident in this look. It’s these principles that continue to inform the design choices made for ready to wear. Reinventing something so purist for a pret vocabulary has become so quintessentially Genes.

Hand painted florals adorned silk dresses, organza tops and ostrich leather bodices. The placement of the motifs was such that it could only be rendered once the garment is stitched and laid on a dress form, allowing artisans to paint keeping volume in mind. The beauty of the clothes was inextricably linked to the time taken to make them. Sometimes one single seam would take up 5-6 hours. Case on point, a sea foam green jacket where the centre back seam is instrumental for the desired silhouette. Hemant recalls the painstaking sewing technique for it, “We took multiple strips of organza cut in bias,then hand stitched it along the allowance. This was followed by a definitive machine stitch but only through step foot peddling. Every stitch is accounted for, to realise that organic lightweight finish."

Un Cabinet de Curiosites also witnesses the gentle layering of numerous textiles and techniques, giving rise to a cultivated sensibility. The top here from Look 19 is composed of 7 hand painted and hand embroidered lace pieces, held together through invisible seams. Metallic thread embroidery then brings a sheen to this floral mosaic and adds a malleable shape to the look.

Surface design takes an ingenious turn with a jacket that almost has a light and shadow effect to it. Upon close inspection the surface reveals a floral pattern created through hand shaving the motif with a scalpel. This artisanal method could only be exercised on haute couture textile with a considerable pile. What emerges is again a masterful take on the subtle art of balance. This dynamism runs throughout the collection - making each piece a collectible.

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