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Day One at the Lakme India Fashion Week

12.00 pm > Gen Next
The Gen Next show at Lakme Fashion Week featuring six debut designers had a lot to offer in terms of simple silhouettes and no gimmicks. Just like the last season, where new designers Dhruv Kapoor and Anuj Bhutani showcased an extremely wearable and effortlessly chic collection in the Gen Next show, this season too had some names that showed great promise.

Kanika Goyal’s dabbling with geometric prints paid off
Kanika Goyal’s dabbling with geometric prints paid off

The six designers this season: Alan Alexander Kaleekal, Ankit Carpentar, Kanika Goyal, Manish Bansal, Priyanka Ella Lorena Lama and Salita Nanda. We loved Alan Alexander Kaleekal's mix of breathable fabrics that were sheer with a mix of solid colours for simple dresses.

Kanika Goyal’s dabbling with geometric prints paid off
Kanika Goyal’s dabbling with geometric prints paid off

One of our favourites was the menswear line by Manish Bansal that played on the word gamble with the use of motifs from playing cards. Lama showcased an organic collection with fabrics such as flowing silks and jacquards that seamlessly draped the silhouette through kimonos, kaftans and pillar dresses. Goyal had geometric prints for men and women.

Alan Alexander Kaleekal’s line was high on fluidity.
Alan Alexander Kaleekal’s line was high on fluidity. Pics/Shadab Khan

Giving the show a kitschy edge was Nanda’s line inspired by Pablo Picasso’s Cubist painting Les Demoiselles d’Avignon that made use of bold prints — an element that Gen Next shows are known for.

Picasso's Cubist painting Les Demoiselles d'Avignon was inspiration for Salita Nanda
Picasso's Cubist painting Les Demoiselles d'Avignon was inspiration for Salita Nanda

Weave power to India
5.30 pm > Krishna Mehta, Vaishali S
After a fresh young show with labels such as Ilk, Frou Frou and Huemn, it was veteran designer Krishna Mehta’s turn to present what she does best. A symphony of simple prints and layers all created using brocades from Varanasi, Jamdanis from Bengal, tussars from Bhagalpur and Maheshwari silks, Mehta infused her signature styling with bright spring colours and a little bit of floral thread embroidery.

India’s weaving traditions were on display at Krishna Mehta’s show
India’s weaving traditions were on display at Krishna Mehta’s show

The garments included jackets, printed palazzos, kedia-style jackets, coats, cowl dresses and tunics. Designer Vaishali S presented a collection titled Behrupia, which emerges from her belief that threads are ‘behrupias’ that change form on different looms. The designer used khand, cotton and khadi to create fabrics that were used to create draped dresses, jackets of varying sizes, trousers as well as pleated skirts. The show undoubtedly displayed the many ways in which Indian textiles can be used and styled.

Inside the apartment
3.30 pm > Frou Frou by Archana Rao, [Ka][Sha] by Karishma Shahani, Huemn by Pranav Mishra and Shyma Shetty
We always look forward to Archana Rao's collections that spell feminine edginess. And the designer wowed us this season too. The collection, The Apartment, was inspired by a news article that the designer came across about a Parisian apartment that was abandoned since World War II.

Archana Rao’s line had a sense of hidden charm. PIC/SATYAJIT DESAI
Archana Rao’s line had a sense of hidden charm. Pic/Satyajit Desai

Like the apartment, which had old paintings and love letters in it, Rao’s collection too had a sense of hidden romance. Brightly-coloured tassels stitched on blouses and sheer skirts in delicate nude colours and trailing pearl embellishments on flowing drapes made us fall in love with the line. While the showstopper gown (worn by actress Aditi Rao Hydari) was a bit of a dampener despite being well-styled, extra marks for the designer who looked fantastic on the ramp.
Karishma Shahani continued her signature style of bohemian layering, and interestingly, like Rao, used tassels too. Next in line was the duo of Pranav Mishra and Shyma Shetty for their label Huemn. Known for their sporty chic collections, the duo stuck to masculine shapes in black and white with a burst of colour with fuschia trouser suits and red dresses. A prominent feature in the collection was sheer covers over dresses and abstract blotch prints.

The Seventies are back!
8 pm (tuesday) > Sabyasachi
It was a good opening to the Lakme Fashion Week Summer/Resort 2015 in more ways than one. For starters, the off-site venue on the grounds of Richardson and Cruddas warehouse in Byculla, created a rustic-meets-contemporary vibe, lending well to the style that Kolkata- based designer, Sabyasachi Mukherjee chose for his new line, Big Love — for his label, Sabyasachi by Sabyasachi.

Sabyasachi Mukherjee walks down the ramp at the end of his heady show
Sabyasachi Mukherjee walks down the ramp at the end of his heady show

The show started with a drone camera, floating across a 200x20 feet ramp, pulsating with 1970s Pop hits and bright green laser lights. 62 models displayed 105 outfits, most of it, inspired greatly by the ’70s. We saw a mix of pastel, summer shades, earthy reds and browns and a whole lot of bold, sequined bling.

The 1970s were seemed to rule the roost for Sabya’s show.
The 1970s were seemed to rule the roost for Sabya’s show. Pics/Satyajit Desai

There were airy jumpsuits, bell palazzos, the long maxi shirt waister, layered capes and floor-length dresses in sea green. Then came the minis, sack dresses, kurtas, gowns and tunics, which were offered in bright red, silver, rust or multi- coloured sequined options.

Pale pink and blue floral prints appeared on flared floor length belted skirts worn with short-striped crop tops; while the final formal wear included glittering red gowns, and lehengas with embroidered cholis.

Sabyasachi’s famous saris made a comeback in various forms. There were pre-stitched draped saris, shimmering hemlines, sari gowns, saris with net extensions and jumpsuits with sheer net capes. There were two specials that stood out in this section: the solitary white sari with a sequinned choli and dramatic black sari teamed with an antique gold embroidered blouse.

There were kurtas, scarves and Jodhpuri jackets for men in shades of bottle green and brown. The brightly -coloured floral prints looked good on the kurtas and bandhgalas but were uninspiring on the suits. The formals included trademark brocade sherwanis along with unusual shimmering red printed versions. Bollywood star power including Kajol, Deepika Padukone, Irrfan Khan and Farhan Akhtar were spotted cheering for Sabya.

Garden chic
1.30 pm > Pallavi Singhee, Ilk by Shikha and Vinita, and Yogesh Chaudhary
Flowers dominated the second show at Lakmé Fashion Week in the form of applique and thread embroidery. While we didn't like the play of fabrics (georgette and chiffon), floral applique and colours for the first few outfits by Pallavi Singhee, the quilted, heart embroidered gown worn by the beautiful model Archana Kumar built up the momentum.

Ilk by Shikha and Vinita spelt floral all over
Ilk by Shikha and Vinita spelt floral all over

The collection also had a few other feminine outfits with sheer sections, and bomber jackets with 3D flowers that piqued a little interest. Second in line and the best of the slot was Ilk by Shikha and Vinita. While the floral obsession continued in this collection, we loved how the designers incorporated this trend in the outfits over transparent skirts, fuss-free simple silhouettes, through thread embroidery and even on the shoes.

Last to take the ramp was designer Yogesh Chaudhary. Chaudhary surprised us by not using prints (which made him famous) but thread embroidery, with the main motif being parrots (the collection was titled Mithu). We didn't like the excessive volume under some of the saris, which looked like botched up tailoring. Thankfully, the slim pants with kurtas that had stoles stitched on them (no more slipping dupattas), and kimono style jackets worn on voluminous skirts stood out in the collection.

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