Despite the big names on this year’s London Fashion Week schedule, Supriya Lele’s show, which kicked off the city’s final day, was one of the most highly anticipated of the season. In the past year especially, the British-born Indian designer’s creations have been everywhere: on Bella Hadid, on Gen Z pop megastar Olivia Rodrigo, on Rihanna.
Lele’s eye for creating garments that show off the female form—complete with cutouts, sheer mini dresses, and tight trousers—make the wearer feel sexy, yet sophisticated. Comfortable and low-key, while making a statement. Her pieces are minimal and modern, and clearly made with the wearer, not their audience, in mind. Though others are on a similar path—just look at Dua Lipa or Emily Ratajkowski’s Instagram account and you’ll see cut-outs aplenty from both the high street and designer—Lele’s pieces, like all of the world’s best labels, just hit different. Perhaps it’s the fact that the 34-year-old draws upon her Indian heritage for inspiration—this season, that came in the form of her first runway look’s cuffed pants, inspired by Indian pyjamas, and, for the first time, Lele working with artisans in India to achieve the delicate fabrics that made up the collection.
To those who haven’t been paying close attention, it might seem as though Lele came out of nowhere: a pandemic success story. But in reality, Lele has been quietly perfecting her craft for the past five years since she graduated from the Royal College of Art in 2016 and was immediately signed up for London Fashion Week’s prestigious Fashion East show (which also counts two other current It brands of similar status and aesthetic, Charlotte Knowles and Nensi Dojaka, in its alumni).
Though Londoners have long known her name, now the world is taking notice, egged on by her celebrity clientele—Hadid personally reached out to Lele on Instagram to tell her how much she loves her designs—and inclusions in fashion shoots for every big-name magazine.
This season, Lele built on what she knows, taking beloved pieces from her previous collections and reworking them to create multiuse designs. Cutout tops can be worn as swimsuits, bikinis as crop tops. Mini dresses were made in bright pops of colour, like the green that prompted cheers of ‘hot girl summer’ from front-row attendees, and see-through sparkly mesh skirts and dresses, made by embroiderers in India, were standout new additions. It’s not often you attend a fashion show and want literally everything that’s paraded past you, but on that front, Supriya Lele definitely delivered.