June 12, 2014 London
In Saloni's compact collection (which, according to Lodha, has "no product pollution"), a printed shirtdress with a dipped hem and sheer sleeves would transition from work to dinner with ease—the level of formality could be adjusted with its belt. A sweet polka-dot crop top/skirt set said summer wedding as much as office gear. (Intriguingly, the print bled through into a tie-dye effect on Lodha's signature embossed brocade cotton taffeta—a little detail that made it stand out among this season's abundance of polka-dot prints.) Key to any Saloni collection is print, and this year the theme was all about snakes: pythons, boas, rattlesnakes, and mambas appeared on various pieces, the most formal of which was a party dress in a silk organza twill with a rich eggplant print. Those were some very covetable snakes, but if ophidiophobia is an issue, then a burnt orange trouser with origami-waist detail or a short khaki playsuit would do nicely instead.
Transitioning not only from work to play but also from season to season was critical for Lodha: "We realized the collection couldn't be too 'resort-y,' because, really, how many of us are packing for Christmas holidays in October?" said the designer. "In my office we're all working like mad, dreaming of vacation but stuck at a desk—and the majority of our clientele are in the same position." For those women, there was an utterly ladylike cropped jacket in cotton lace embroidery that did double duty as a blouse, with creamy white city shorts to match. A python-print linen trenchcoat was noteworthy not just for its instant hit of chic, but because it managed to make linen look crease-free. But in case escape is on the agenda, all the looks are made from mid-weight fabrics so they can work in different seasons and temperatures. Saloni thinks as much about what a woman needs as much as what she wants, which might explain why her collections have been doing so well with key e-tailers like Net-a-Porter and Shopbop.