Arjun Saluja’s essence of experiment has stood for one main reference point: structure and drape. His intimate tribe of followers are an uncompromising vision of rebellious power. The sub currents of darkness & intensity; the defiance of normal convention in flattering or ‘sexifying’ his women; that certain impenetrability in design and the designer - are chevrons of an aesthetic that needs to explain itself conceptually first. Whatever Arjun Saluja may be seeking to evoke in his collections, it does not come with a prescribed list of shapes, silhouettes, fabrics even colours.
Surprisingly even though his presentations may seem removed from convention, his concepts are grounded in them. Whether it is his label ‘Rishta’ – which found itself during his ten years in New York, when the need to stay connected to his kin and home was the strongest. Or when he authored his dhoti in the ‘Bu Shirt meets Dhoti’ collection, a recollection of the bush shirt paired with dhotis as seen in his parents’ hometown. Or the ‘lehenga’ pants that could belong in a man’s wardrobe, as much as they do in a woman’s. Androgyny, a recurring theme in Arjun Saluja’s collections could simply be a referencing to the traditional ‘ardhnareeshwar’ concept. It may feel that his label is the domain of an insider cult, but his clothes do call to a far wider following.