Art reference

The blurred lines between art and fashion in this antique piece

Based in a home studio with a single tailor and master boss, Yash Patil prefers to be called an artist rather than a designer. Fittingly, as creative head of the ‘That Antiquepiece’ brand, he sculpts all of its silhouettes himself, from inception to final presentation. A graduate of NIFT with expertise in knitting, Yash blurs the line between art and fashion by infusing history and architecture.

Vintage silhouettes are delicate, making them much harder to replicate in detail, and Yash’s favorite eras are Victorian and Edwardian. Our curiosity about how Yash works with them, adding that contemporary touch to the clothes, led us into a long conversation with him. “During confinement, I started working with much finer yarns, experimenting with different materials such as zari, wool and cotton. I also go back to a particular era for reference as I work primarily with corsetry as the base model for most of my ensembles.

As a challenge, Yash is also working to make them more functional and portable. It involves copying and pasting strange objects such as a bag or an outstretched umbrella, to create a structured dome for a sense of direction. Explaining his unique process in more detail, Yash adds, “Then I illustrate at least 50-60 sketches, depending on how many pieces I need to make. I don’t push practicality in construction at the start because that would prevent me from innovating. When it comes to hand embroidery, I don’t go to an embroiderer to get things done; I integrate my understanding of certain embroideries into a style that is personal to me. I would like clusters of beads, sequins, flowers or 3D textiles, insects, moths and snakes, and develop many of these samples according to the number of products I need to create.

knit

While some techniques stand the test of time, some naturally fall into disuse. The designer’s request then is to make these older designs relevant. Something that Yash sees as a challenge and a source of inspiration. He says, “Corsetry came into existence mainly in the 1850s. A great deal of manual labor went into making these pieces, even for boning. Initially, it was made with whale bones, but later steel bones came into the picture. I work with steel or synthetic ribs depending on the structure and strength I need. It used to be that corsets were made to a certain body shape, really exaggerated shapes, because they wanted the thinnest waistline and the widest hips, which led them to use a lot of bustles. They exaggerated the shape using pads placed around your waist. But it wasn’t really good for the body. When making pieces, I prioritize mobility by working with smaller panels because it’s much easier to achieve a certain shape with them. It needs to be less exaggerated and not very costumed.

Yash works with a small cluster in Meerut. The city may not feature in the list of fashion centers in India, but Yash believes that geography is hardly an issue; the work speaks for itself. He explains: “It’s a group of two or three women who make these pieces for me. I send them the pattern, the yarn and a sample of how I made it before. If I do something complicated in a model, I break it down into steps. I start with a normal jumper or cardigan, then ask them to add a pattern to it. Even though the first basic sweater is not mandatory, it was imperative for her to learn the new pattern.

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