Gen Next takes leap of faith

The show was a winner all the way. Under the mentorship of ace designer Aki Narula, upcoming talents Aniket Satam, Sneha Arora, Asa Kazingmei, Kavita Sharma, Richa Aggarwal, Mehak Pruthi, Kanika Seth, Ankit Sharma, Astha and Siddharth gave the audience a taste of what new brigade of Indian fashion was made of. Wowing a full house with their creative yet wearable creations, the new crop of designers left no stone unturned to prove that they have arrived.

The show, which began 15 minutes behind schedule, opened with vivacious energy that oozed from vibrant yellow and blue outfits by Astha and Siddharth, who showcased a collection comprising satin pants, silk dresses and jackets, followed by the innovative designs of others.

(From left to right) Gen Next designers take a bow: Richa Aggarwal, Aniket Satam, Siddharth Arora (behind Asa), Asa Kazingmei and Kavita Sharma. Pics/ Pradeep Dhivar.

The shift from experimental to wear-ability was evident this season as most Gen Next designers opted for cuts and silhouettes, which are wearable and that exuded universal appeal. Next gen’s showing was appreciated by all present, and opened proceedings on the right not, for more to come.

The next collection was the first solo fashion week show from young designer Pia Pauro, who left the audience asking for more with her collection titled, Espíritu de México, translating the spirit of Mexico. Models were seen strutting the ramp in exotic prints ranging from the Mexican ancient Mayan inspired ruins to the rainforests and pristine beaches of Tulum and Acapulco.

Singer Monica Dogra was showstopper for Pia Pauro(left), she wore a one-shouldered shimmery jumpsuit with a flapper-style drop waist

The show reached its finale with a glittering entry (literally!) by singer-actress Monica Dogra, who looked chic in a bling-ey silver and gold one-shoulder jumpsuit.

With a lot of energy in the air,a full house of fashion enthusiasts, fresh talent and big-ticket designers, Mumbai Fashion Week is set to make a mark, yet again.

We spotted designer Masaba Gupta. When quizzed about giving LFW a miss, she said, “It feels weird. I’m taking time off for my bridal line, which will be intense. I will launch it next March.” Masaba added, “This won’t be a typical bridal line. Called Postcards From Benares, it will be quirky and vintage-inspired, and more trousseau than bridal.”

Aki Narula, who has been mentoring upcoming designers for the Mumbai Fashion Week for nearly three years now, reveals that he goes through a gamut of emotions and high stress times while doing his job

People loved the collections this season. Is this your best show?
It’s very difficult to choose the best because it’s like having babies every six months, so it's not possible for me to pick a favourite. With every passing season, young designers are getting stronger, more evolved, and more mature; they are getting rid of gimmickry. They now understand what a silhouette is, what form and finish is, so it’s remarkable. They have done me proud.

The show was a departure from the experimental nature of Gen Next shows and was high on the wear-ability factor. Was this a conscious decision?
Not at all. I told them that they had to surprise me. I told them that I’m 43 now and they should show me something that I haven’t already seen. This is what they did.

What is the most difficult part of mentoring?
Emotions. You are dealing with so many young designers simultaneously. There is a different kind of communication that you need to apply with each one of them and different kind of understanding. All have different queries. It’s also difficult to understand what each one wants.

Are you a hard taskmaster or lenient with the newbies?
I’m very hard and strict and then I get very emotional. They have learned to deal with my abruptness, my aggression and my temperament and then, they see me with tears.

When will we see a collection from you?
I want to do something but there are a couple of movie projects. My next release is Barfi, so there’s no time for a collection. I miss that. I want to do it but I would have to shut myself for three months and focus on it.

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