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Lakme Fashion Week 2015: The artisan diaries

9.30 pm (Thursday) > Anita Dongre
Serpentine roots of a tree glowed on the ramp, the camera lens in an AV zoomed right into the withered face of a rural artisan, the radiant Dia Mirza spoke of the significance of Indian crafts and models in understated, elegant and most importantly, wearable apparel rocked the runway — Anita Dongre drove home the point to ‘Revive, Sustain and Empower’ with her ode to the Indian craftsmanship through her new collection, Grassroot.

Designer Anita Dongre and Dia Mirza with 26 craftswomen from Gujarat who were the showstoppers for Dongre’s Grassroot line. Pic/Shadab Khan
Designer Anita Dongre and Dia Mirza with 26 craftswomen from Gujarat who were the showstoppers for Dongre’s Grassroot line. Pic/Shadab Khan

Packing in a fusion of Indo-Western silhouettes with kurtas, ponchos, asymmetrical tunics, pleated skirts, maxis, de-structured jackets, crop tops and flared dresses, the line featured Banarasi, ikat, khadi and hand spun silk weaves. While the dual-tone black and white collection featuring Warli print was, at best, regular, we loved the later part of the collection in earthy tones of brown, rust shades and indigo-green combination.

With block prints, intricate mirror work and hand embroidery, the structured gowns, printed peplum blouses and koti-style full-sleeved short jackets were some of our favourites. The showstoppers, and definitely, the highlight of the evening were the 26 master craftswomen from Gujarat, who took a bow with Dongre and Mirza, to a standing ovation.

When boundaries blur
12 pm > Vasundhara Mantri, Armaan Aiman, Stephany Dsouza and Urvashi Joneja
After a host of apparel designers, we finally got to see an accessory show with designer Vasundhara Mantri’s collection titled, Blurred Lines on Day Three at Lakme Fashion Week.

Geometry and metal were on display in Vasundhara Mantri’s line. Pic/Pradeep Dhivar
Geometry and metal were on display in Vasundhara Mantri’s line. Pic/Pradeep Dhivar

Geometry took centrestage with metallic triangles of different sizes put together to create abstract structures. Mantri created an array of pieces with this concept that included haath phools, shoulder harnesses and necklaces too. Mantri combined colourful floral motifs to break the geometric structures.

Models in oxblood semi-formals created by designer duo Aiman Armaan. Pic/Pradeep DhivarModels in oxblood semi-formals created by designer duo Aiman Armaan. Pic/Pradeep Dhivar

Next were designer duo Armaan and Aiman. Since their debut at the Gen Next show a few seasons ago, the duo continues to impress us with their collection every season. And this season too, they didn’t fall short of expectations. The silhouettes, though straight, clear and simple, worked well to put their motifs in the limelight.

With Eclipse as the name of their collection, the designers adorned their garments with wolves, fish, moon and jellyfishes too. The colours were strong — mainly oxblood, blue white and green. Stephany D’Souza presented a collection inspired by Goa. Comfortable and wearable resort wear, the collection didn’t present anything out of the ordinary.

Finally, Urvashi Joneja brought a rainbow of colours with her collection, Polaris. Bolts of colour ran throughout the collection on a variety of garments such as jumpsuits, tunics, skirts and a gown too. Joneja incorporated her motif in the form of prints and embroidery.

Monaco mystique
Designer Narendra Kumar presented a collection inspired by the scenic locales of Monaco. Kumar used a wide mix of fabrics such as silk, georgette, velvet and equally many colours including mint, purple and corals.


Pic/Pradeep Dhivar

There were very few pieces that stood out. 

It’s all black and white
5.30 pm > Am:Pm
Established designers tend to be the star attractions at fashion weeks. Though, this time around, many bigwigs disappointed with their collections, and it was the younger lot who impressed. On Day Three, Ankur and Priyanka Modi made us sing a different tune.

A model showcases a gown from AM:PM’s largely monochrome collection. Pic/Pradeep Dhivar
A model showcases a gown from AM:PM’s largely monochrome collection. Pic/Pradeep Dhivar

Presenting an almost monochrome collection, but for a few pieces in red (which were strictly okay), there was a lot to like about their work. A clear thought process was reflected in the collection with a few metallic accents.

Be it the gowns, sleek trousers or a bohemian touch with a few pieces, each garment seemed like a smooth translation from the drawing board to the ramp, and hopefully to our closets. What we coveted the most were the matha pattis and the hair accessories that were specially designed and curated by the designers as part of a limited edition. Time to pre-book!

Grease goes chic
1.30 pm > Antar Agni, Khem by Prem Kumar, Amalraj Sengupta
Ujjawal Dubey of Antar Agni has been making waves since his first collection. As always, he stuck to a single colour palette with breathable silhouettes. This season also saw Dubey use print. Patent piping strips worked as a metaphor for industrial waste.

A model wears a gas mask to create drama for Amalraj Sengupta’s collection on the man-machine co-relation. Pic/Pradeep Dhivar
A model wears a gas mask to create drama for Amalraj Sengupta’s collection on the man-machine co-relation. Pic/Pradeep Dhivar

Designer Prem Kumar’s label, Khem, utilised a variety of techniques, from laser cutting to leather applique and thread embroidery for his collection. Though we have now seen the jali pattern in several collections, it worked well for Kumar’s collection in the form of leather applique. The colour palette stayed mainly dark throughout, with blacks accented by dark blue.

Models in outfits of a single colour palette from the label Antar Agni’s line. Pic/Shadab Khan
Models in outfits of a single colour palette from the label Antar Agni’s line. Pic/Shadab Khan

Amalraj Sengupta presented an industrial chic collection, industrial waste and leftovers. Much of the textures created included indigo denims, which were devised ingeniously from drains, oil stains, urban decay, polluted materials and blotches of grease.

It also included protective wear in the form of waterproof lining, tanned and black leather patches, quilting and layering. Hints of metal leftover from factories and discarded items were also sighted. There were rigid suits with multiple pockets and gender-bending silhouettes. Very, very few pieces from Sengupta’s show were below average.

— Krutika Behrawala

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