SUPRIYA Lele‘s cultural identity has been the driving force behind every one of her collections. For spring-summer 2024, the London-based designer decided to show her first standalone presentation, marking not only her return to runway but also a chance to present her dual-nationality in a new way.
Not confined within the framework of being a British woman born to Indian immigrant parents but rather allowing these two to fuel her new collection, Lele looked at morphing the two together to create her own nostalgia built from the world of Supriya Lele.
Taking images of saris’ worn by women in her family and adding them to a body-celebrating narrative that twists, wraps, and drapes around the form, she evolves her known silhouette. Taking the sari blouse, she strips it of its colonial origins and shapes it into leather corsets to emphasise the core, while cotton tank tops are cropped to accentuate curves.
Worshipping the female form has always been Lele’s forté and SS24 proved that. Contemporary influences were strong and bold with very low waistlines creating quite the head-turner, while see-through crotchet two pieces debuted for the brave.
A combination of swimwear and ready-to-wear was evident, as skirts sat below the tops of pants/ bikini bottoms, and plastic opaque ballerina-like beach shoes (again, can be worn on the beach or the street) were adorned by most of the models.
Accessories are always winners financially and Lele’s entrance into the abundance of wardrobe must-haves was strong. Shoulder bags were made to be slim, sit under the arm gracefully and to hold only your necessities – after all, functionality has always been a signifier of Lele’s work no matter how transparent the fabric.
Having missed Supriya Lele for two years, her comeback was meticulous and calculated. Her collection may be minimalistic on first sight but its drenched in references – specifically ones that echo who she is. Unlike her peers, she doesn’t need to look beyond herself to find the ingredients to create clothes, crafting enriched feminine pieces that are hard not to want.
by Imogen Clark