Yesterday I shared an interview with Sachin Ahluwalia of Sachin and Babi and Ankasa Home. Sachin spoke about the beginnings of Sachin and Babi and the vision behind their latest collection with Beacon Hill, Legacy. I was also lucky enough to speak with Alexis Audette, Vice President of Beacon Hill. It was Alexis’s fabulous idea to bring the fashion duo on board and create with them. She was kind enough to answer a few question for me about the new launch.
Sachin and Babi are the first fashion designers to team up with Beacon Hill. How did you choose them as your first fashion collaboration?
We were dazzled by Sachin and Babi’s extraordinary embellishment and craftsmanship, and their ability to marry traditional techniques with contemporary design. At Beacon Hill our goal is to bring “artisanal firsts” to the marketplace so we wanted a partner who was a master of technique.
Sachin and Babi’s work is distinctive because it’s decorative, refined and new all at once; they are modern embellishment virtuosos.
This is Beacon Hill’s second collection with Sachin and Babi. When you started working together for the second time, what parameters or restrictions did you ask of the duo?
The first collection, Iconic, was based on the designs that helped establish Sachin and Babi as purveyors of fine products for home, the designs around which they built Ankasa. For the second collection, we asked Sachin and Babi to share design inspiration that captured where they were at that moment, both in fashion and in their lives. It so happened that Sachin and Babi were basingtheir Spring 2013 ready-to-wear collection on recent travels to India. So, the Spring 2013 line, and ultimately the Legacy collection, reflect some of Sachin and Babi’s meditations on aspects of their Indian heritage.
In my opinion, the patterns and colors reflect Indian heritage in a modern, tailored way. What was the most difficult part of creating this new collection?
The most challenging part of creating this collection was interpreting some of Sachin and Babi’s embroidery techniques from apparel to running yardage textiles. As an example, we fell in love with the Convent Stitch, a Bengali embroidery stitch that Sachin and Babi had used to breathtaking effect in one of their Spring 2013 dresses. We were determined to use the technique and surface design in a fabric for the Legacy collection. The Convent stitch consists of needlework done on a grid wherein every stitch is on a diagonal plane. The outcome is beautiful, but the technique causes any horizontal lines to appear to be on a bias. This was not an issue for Sachin and Babi’s dress, a study in soft contours with no right angles, but it presented a huge issue in large swaths of upholstery fabric. By changing the layout of the design, and decreasing the amount of embroidery coverage on the fabric, we were able to fix the problem. The result is the pattern called Crawford Bead.
You work with fabrics every day, all day long. So we would love to know, what’s in your own home? Is there a fabric or type of fabric used more than others? What is your home decor style?
I’d say our home décor style is somewhat eclectic. It reflects the cultural influences and vocations of my husband’s and my families so there is a strong presence of Northern Europe and India, as well as art and letters, throughout our apartment. When it comes to textiles, they tend to end up on the walls as often as they do on furniture. Prints and embroideries hang alongside paintings and photographs, and plain velvets (acquired pre-children!) and cotton blends (acquired after) make up our upholstery.
Thank you for speaking with us Alexis, and for sharing details of your home design! To see more of Ankasa Legacy head over to Beacon Hill.