“Freedom and Joy” in Supriya Lele’s Spring/Summer 2022 Collection

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Supriya Lele Spring/Summer 2022
Supriya Lele Spring/Summer 2022Photography by Paul Phung

At London Fashion Week, the British-Indian designer returned to the runway with a collection that explored “sexuality, freedom, shape, and empowerment”

Glimmers of a summer spent on the shores of Spain’s fabled party island, Ibiza, were evident in Supriya Lele’s Spring/Summer 2022 outing, which the British-Indian designer presented at London Fashion Week on Monday. Marking an energy-fuelled return to the runway after 18 months of Covid restrictions, the collection was one of unbridled glamour – bringing together skin-bearing, daringly-draped shapes; searing, feel-good summer colours; and decadent dancefloor-ready fabrics. An expression of feminine sexuality, fun, and above all, freedom, it gestured a return to good times once more. 

“I wanted to generate a feeling of freedom and joy,” Lele tells AnOther of the seductive designs, which explored “sexuality, freedom, shape, and empowerment,” and appeared down the runway in optimistic shades of sunshine yellow and tropical sea blue, acid green and raspberry. “We have been living under such restrictions in recent times and I wanted to share a new feeling of hope with everyone.”

The collection found its starting point in a humble men’s tank top the designer wore for much of the summer, which sparked a fascination with the idea of contorting and elevating everyday clothing shapes. Nodding directly to that tank top, the vest is reborn in Lele’s collection as a sexy, sequin-adorned, sheer sleeveless dress – while elsewhere staples like the bomber jacket, capri pant, and classic shirt are transformed through Lele’s twisting, body-celebrating style.

“[The collection] is a development on classic ‘Supriya’ but perhaps more structured,” she says of the collection, which saw a resolved honing of the designer’s codes: 90s and 00s-inflected silhouettes, imaginative draping, and explorations of designer’s Indian heritage. “I spent a lot of time in Ibiza over the summer so maybe a hint of that too,” she adds. 

“I feel most confident in this collection,” says Lele, looking back at past seasons. “Exploring my Indian heritage is at the core of my brand, and this season I feel so lucky to have been able to work with an embroidery house in India on the sequined pieces – a full circle moment.”

For Lele, this feeling of confidence in the collection was brought to vivid life on the runway itself. “It was so exciting,” she says of the return to an in-person London Fashion Week. “It really felt like a long time coming and was such a celebratory moment. It was amazing to see the clothes in motion, surrounded by all my friends and family.”

This year in particular, Lele’s community of supporters have become more vital to the designer than ever before. “I’ve been connecting a lot to people who love my clothes recently and I feel like I’m starting to build the ‘Supriya Woman,’” she says. “It’s really incredible to be able to create a collection with such important feedback from the people who wear it.” 

Such connection to the label’s community has meant that Lele’s designs are as crafted to be as comfortable as they are beautiful. “[I hope my designs make people feel] really really good,” says Lele. “Like they can breeze through the day and night, feeling comfortable and like their best selves.”