Designer Hemant Sagar discusses over 35 years of Lecoanet Hemant, the brand’s new prêt line, and the relaunch of its Ayurvedic clothing line.
Hemant Sagar and Didier Lecoanet met as students of couture in Paris, and went on to launch a label together. While the city saw the launch of their first store in the late ’70s, the duo has come a long way since. Their label, Lecoanet Hemant, has been seen on international celebrities like Princess Helena of Yugoslavia, Patricia Gucci, Princess Bin Abdelaziz and Melanie Griffith. It has also been displayed at London’s Victoria & Albert Museum and the Deutsches Historisches Museum, among other prestigious exhibitions.
In 2015, when they completed 35 years in fashion, Lecoanet Hemant lauched their new prêt line, Genes, which they retail on e-commerce websites. While that brand flourishes, another one is taking root — an Ayurvedic clothing collection that will be sold globally. Sagar shares his experiences.
How would you sum up almost four decades in the fashion industry?
Over the years, we have seen a radical change in haute-couture buying. From the early ’90s onwards, we discovered that less people would actually be wearing it, unlike the ’80s. It was a sudden decline that never went back to its precedent level. Lecoanet Hemant was a very young brand then, and we decided to set up a manufacturing unit where we could unite our function of changing from haute couture to the artisanal industry in a single place, and India was our obvious choice. We believe there is a big future for fashion here. It has rapidly grown from what we have seen over the past 15 years. Our business moved from haute couture to ready-to-wear, and from Paris to New Delhi.
You continue to remain extremely low-key compared to your colleagues and contemporaries.
It’s just that our personality is that we prefer our work to speak for itself. Our focus is not in competing with our peers. In fact, this is a big market for everyone, especially the originals.
Tell us about the response to your prêt label, which was launched last year. How important was it for you to tap into that market segment?
We launched Genes — Lecoanet Hemant, last year and received an excellent response, allowing us to have a wider presence, while adapting to the existing market. India is really evolving. Additionally, we retail on key fashion e-commerce portals and our official website, www.genestribe. com. We have also received a great response from our direct retailers as well as our own pop-ups. Genes — Lecoanet Hemant is a brand thought of and engineered in India, for India. It produces pieces that may be ready-to- wear, but which apply couture techniques across the board.
You are launching an interesting new Ayurganic collection. Do elaborate on the fabrics and addition of herbs, oils etc. Will this be a unisex collection?
What makes Ayurganic so special is the cycle of production it undergoes from the vaidya (Ayurvedic doctor), the supervised preparations of treatments, dyes and macerations to the final rinse in a sweet water river. This Vedic textile treatment uses GOTS-certified (Global Organic Textile Standard) organic cotton fabrics, infused with natural oils and plants that are known for their healing properties. We have a range of silhouettes like drawstring pyjamas, pants, tops, churidar pants, tunics, wrap skirts, yogawear, quilted sweatshirts, hoodies, shawls and scarves using these pure organic fabrics, soft and luxurious in sandy-earthy tones. Vaidyas inform that wearing Ayurganic directly on your skin helps you unwind, be yourself and even meditate because of the soothing effect the body gets from breathing in the herbal effect from the 15-day procedure of the making of Ayurganic.
What are the top trends in menswear currently and in the near future, according to you?
While bomber jackets, distressed denims and slim fit trousers are here to stay, oversized trousers and Cuban collars are ones to watch out for, as well as outwear such as zip jackets and shirts. Quirkier options such as sandals with socks and printed coordinates will definitely roll off the runway into our daily sense of style next summer.