IN THE TENT at Boston Fashion Week: Avni Trivedi

By Stephanie Eng

Six Japanese drummers swathed in black made their way down the runway of Avni Trivedi’s Mahari: The Priestess show. The combination of electrifying percussion and flashing lights set the stage for a truly awe-inspiring show, even before the first model stepped out.

The collection aimed to represent the ‘new’ green by blending design, luxury, and sustainability.  All the fabrics used in each look were 100% naturally dyed, hand-textured  and handmade.  In terms of colors, there was a lot of pink, salmon, light blue, aquamarine, and lime green, with a few unexpected pops of yellow and orange. The unifying color story, however, was white. Trivedi utilized the classic, crisp color to tie together all these seemingly hard-to-pull-off colors. She most notably created all-white pieces with just the bottoms saturated with color, creating a fun visual that really popped.

The soft, flowing fabrics in muted pastel colors were framed by ornate, Indian-inspired accessories, bold tribal warrior makeup, and impossibly long, intricate braids.  The headpieces were made of silver and sapphire, and the same flat, silver shoe was worn by all the models. As for makeup, the faces and lips were bare, with two very bold eye looks. The first had a distinctly Egyptian influence, with a naked eyelid save for a black, geometric trapezoid starting at the crease. The second was similar in theme, but with long, exaggerated lower eyeliner.

The clothes pushed boundaries as well. Mixing looser tops with boyfriend shorts is tricky unless it’s well executed, and it’s easy to make the models look like they are swimming in their clothes. Needless to say, there was some amazing fabric manipulation on display. Among the looks were some really interesting pieces like a chiffon cowl, dip-dyed trousers, a silk bell sleeve side tie top, bamboo leggings, and an organic cotton jersey handkerchief.  There were also unexpected twists like a subtle shimmer in a pencil skirt, a rigid collar, or some well-placed polka dots.  The embellishments, if any, appeared to be well thought out, and looked dainty when present.

One dress in particular was lime green and orange, which is not a combination that normally appeals to me, but it’s the perfect bouncy, keyhole dress for spring. I loved the simple sheaths and the ready-to-wear trousers, but the finale look was a showstopper. It was a silk flutter sleeve gown with asymmetrical flowing layers and an orange belt. The model had a huge, braided headpiece and wore silver heels. Her accessories were even more elaborate than those of the other models.  She looked like a fierce, Amazonian queen, and it made me remember why fashion is an art.

The result was twenty-five looks that were tribal, but not in a literal way, each with a looming, larger-than-life presence. The pieces were simple, but unique—with just the right amount of whimsicality. There were definitely pieces that could be worn right off the runway for spring. I know I’m dying to try a DIY version of those gorgeous white trousers.  The show itself was a surreal experience and I was amazed by the talent presented there.

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