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Friday, June 14, 2024

Curation to Creation


Kaalii by Vaishali Agarwal Unveils nature-inspired Chitralekhanam


Founded by designer Vaishali Agarwal, Kaalii by Vaishali Agarwal is a label that provides a carefully
curated lineup of handcrafted weaves sourced from Kashmir, Himachal, Banaras, Kanchipuram, Andhra,
Kutch, West Bengal, and more. Vaishali’s longstanding love for handlooms and desire to encourage
conscious fashion led her to diversify and create handmade weaves with Chitralekhanam, a nature-
inspired collection.
We enter the homely boutique where Vaishali patiently walks us through the new collection and shares
her journey of over two decades. It began with designing clothes for her toddler. Appreciated for her
talent and encouraged by friends, Vaishali started designing kidswear and soon graduated to bridal
wear, then to curating handcrafted weaves to creating her own.
While Kaalii houses handpicked sarees, dupattas, lehengas for women and dhotis, panchas, khanduwas
for men, Chitralekhanam by Kaalii houses (for women so far) a collection of Kanchipuram and Banarasi
sarees and dupattas meticulously designed in-house by expert specialists and woven by skilled artisans
from across the country. “Our Banarasi weaves are inspired by Pichwai paintings, and infused with a
little bit of the Victorian concept with floral motifs. The base of the saree is the Ektara weave,” Vaishali
For Kanjivarams, Chitralekhanam draws inspiration from the sculptures of the Hoysaleswara Temple in
Karnataka, showcasing intricate designs of temple figures including animals. “We have also used some
fresh colors that youngsters would enjoy,” she reveals.
The same level of creativity can also be seen spilled over onto the collection’s photoshoot. Blending the
essence of chitra (picture) and lekhana (writing), Chitralekhanam sarees are creatively styled to
resemble famous artist Bapu Bomma’s paintings highlighting the beauty and simplicity of the sarees and
the grace of the woman wearing them. Moving forward, Chitralekhanam plans to expand and provide a
larger variety of handcrafted weaves. We will be waiting with bated breath as this is just the beginning,
and the possibilities are endless.

Don’t go overboard with Pinterest: Vaishali
Q: Can you describe your creative process to us?
A: My designer and I do our research, make a mood board to come up with motifs and a color palette,
put it together, and then send it to the weaver.
Q: What is a challenge you have faced as a designer?
A: Kaalii is challenging because sometimes it is difficult to communicate with the weavers. But despite
this, we have turned out beautiful things, better than what I had anticipated.

Q: What has been a career highlight for you so far?
A: Honestly, I didn’t expect this response for our weaves so soon. It was overwhelming. People just took
to each piece and appreciated it so much.
Q: What is your favorite fashion trend?
A: Sarees and their versatility.
Q: Your advice to budding fashion designers?
A: Don’t go overboard with Pinterest (laughs). Use it but also explore new things and be a little more

Price: Rs 40,000 onwards
Plot No. 1346, Rd No. 68, Jubilee Hills
Tel: 99083 48333
Timings: 11 am to 7 pm


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