Saloni Lodha’s International Studies
“I spent all morning buying flowers,” Saloni Lodha said at bit breathlessly at her debut London fashion week presentation. Said exotic flora were there to pretty up the classical masculinity of the Map Room at the Royal Geographical Society, where the decor runs to dark wooden map chests, portraits of African explorers, and a single, glorious seventeenth-century map that covered an entire wall. But the modified setting made perfect sense once models began to saunter out in Lodha’s Spring collection.
“I took the African body-painting rituals and ikat block prints and hand-painting to create a mélange of prints that all sort of sit together,” she explained. “But it’s all very wearable.” Indeed it was. Her easy, draped silk jersey dresses in swirling prints were served controlled and ladylike doses of embellishment in ruffles delicately edged in beads and waistbands embellished with woven raffia and copper bits. Smart little cardigans were dotted with little twists or raffia fringe or tassels of coral beading.
Transforming faraway exotica for a city girl is something Lodha’s done since she launched her collection five seasons ago and had it immediately snapped up by Harvey Nichols. (It’s now sold at Browns in London and The Webster in Miami, among others, and she’s hoping to find a New York stockist.) The cultural exchange of clothing all sourced and produced in India from Jaipur to Bangalore mirrors Lodha’s own path—Bombay native to cool London lass. And next season, she’ll be launching costume jewelry in the same vein, all made by Indian artisans but with faux stones and designs that Lodha’s Brit-girl friends like Poppy Delevingne and Charlotte Dellal should love.