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Ahluwalia Autumn Winter 2023 "Symphony"

By Press Club



Picture: Ahluwalia, FW23 Collection, courtesy of the brand

For Ahluwalia’s Autumn Winter 23 collection, the genesis starts with sound. Entitled Symphony, creative director and founder Priya Ahluwalia rediscovered the music of her youth– the Bollywood soundtracks and the mainstream Hip-Hop that littered the airwaves in the 90s and 00s as Priya came of age to the bashment and house music she enjoyed at parties in her teens and more recently the afrobeat and neo wave R&B she listens to in her everyday life. A cacophony of genres – Lauryn Hill’s Miseducation Of, Sade’s Kiss of Life and Luther Vandross’ Dance With My Father albums call to memory the music that wafted around her home as a child courtesy of her mother. While the traditional sounds, from deep bass of the tabla drum, to the dulcet tones of Lata Mangeshkar and animated flare of Fela Kuti not only conjure rich interpretations of the past, but in turn represent the dualities of Priya’s Indian and Nigerian heritage.

Picture: Ahluwalia, FW23 Collection, courtesy of the brand

Not just concerned with the joy the music provokes, but also the memories. The sense of belonging and self-expression the tribes that have traversed her life have found in their shared love of music. Dancehall ravers and hip-hop heads alike find kinship and connection on dancefloors regardless of locale – affirmed by the power of their collective image. Finding a story not only in the music but its process, Priya weaves the beauty of sonic creation directly into the collection. Music waves and notes inspire jacquard patterns on mohair knitwear and track tops and accompanying shorts. As an extension to the award-winning collaboration between Microsoft and Ahluwalia, Circulate, the new collection uses technology to blur the boundaries between physical and digital. A scan of a QR code allows you to go on the creative journey with Priya, listening to the very same sounds that inspired the designs. Connected into the cloud by EON and powered by Microsoft Azure, each garment will then write its own unique tale as it continues to live on.

Picture: Ahluwalia, FW23 Collection, courtesy of the brand

Elsewhere, earthy umbres, reds and ochres, (inspired by the colours found on album covers and graphics) find their canvas in organic cotton and viscose separates. Curvatures and geometric shapes on slip dresses and belted coats are directly inspired by the lines of musical instruments. Punchy magentas and greens make statements as solid colours on standout jackets and recycled polyester ruffle dresses. The collection proposes ideas for the more statement Ahluwalia wearer– ruby floor length gowns, exaggerated hooded cocktail dresses and relaxed double-breasted suits speak to a look made for evening and the stage. Merino wool cardigans in geometric patterns take on life in the collection as an answer to a traditional cable knit. A sustainable approach always front of mind, Ahluwalia denim emblazoned with longitudinal waves and their frequencies are offered in recycled cotton. Autumn Winter 23 also sees the introduction of shoes as well as sunglasses (made in collaboration with Ace & Tate), to the brand for the first time – playful interpretations of a Chelsea boot, heels sculpted with ‘A’ into the wedge shape find their place alongside a lace-up leather mule in a cerulean, red, and classic black that complete the collection.

The exploration of music goes beyond the clothes. The venue, St John’s Smith Square, once a baroque church, is now a restored concert hall brought to life for the show. Introducing a live musical element to her show for the first time, Priya enlisted sound and design studio Woodgrain, saxophonist Solaaris and contemporary jazz pianist Insxght to take the audience on a musical journey through the genres that have made up the research that inform the collection. The Autumn Winter 23 collection is a continuation of the evolution of the Ahluwalia brand. After enjoying the release of her debut short film Beloved last year, Priya continues her interdisciplinary and sensory approach to storytelling and suggests new forms of inspiration as a way of moving forward.

Picture: Ahluwalia, FW23 Collection, courtesy of the brand

Priya Ahluwalia would like to extend loving thanks to: Madhu Ahluwalia, Femi Akinrinde, Jade Gonzalez, Elshadai Rumbidzai Gore, Solange Ting, Jack Hargreaves, Anais Obenson, Sanjula Bodaji Thangkhiew, Nicky Balogun, Reece Sheikh, Tasnim Chowdhury, Dylan Dixon, Tim Quadri, Claire Burman, Sophie Baillavoine, Kayla King, Freya Reeves, Julia Terrey, Rachele Burt, Melat Matusala, Rasha Mudarres, Ando Jimenez, Honor Dangerfield, Precious Greham Johnson, Aliyah Okpalaugo, Fariha Yassin, Kemi Odutola, Harry Fisher, Billy MacKean, Alice Harrison, Richard Saint-Ford, Marushka Loubser & Harry Lambert.

As well as the sponsors Microsoft, Smiley, Ace & Tate, Charlotte Tilbury, Pleasing, UGG and Falke.

Picture: Ahluwalia, FW23 Collection, courtesy of the brand