Lakme Fashion Week: Of Varanasi, Japan and glass worlds

12 pm > Mandira Bedi, Kunal Anil Tanna, Aartivijay Gupta

From Varanasi's beauty to the traditional Japanese plum festival and Moroccan tea paintings, the runway was a mélange of cultures during the first show on Day 5 of Lakmé Fashion Week Summer Resort 2015.  

Shabana Azmi took a bow with actress-turned-designer, Mandira Bedi
Shabana Azmi took a bow with actress-turned-designer, Mandira Bedi

With a striking painting of the Varanasi ghats as a backdrop, Mandira Bedi fused the traditional Benarasi weave with modern designs for her latest collection.

The line comprised of saris in vibrant pinks, yellows and orange with zari and brocade designs and featured a mix of net and tulle with silk. We loved the white and pink border silk saree with a giant flower appliqué appearing on the pallav. Understated yet elegant.

Shabana Azmi
Model Siddharth Rawal in Kunal Anil Tanna's creation, inspired by the Japanese plum festival. Pics/Shadab Khan

The highlight of the show was Shabana Azmi gracing the ramp to Javed Akhtar's couplets describing the charm and heritage of the beautiful Benarasi weave.

In an ode to the traditional Japanese plum festival, Kunal Anil Tanna's collection, Ume Matsuri, was a breezy mix of smart silhouettes and flowing fabrics in cool hues of plum, burgundy and grape. While a bell sleeve crop top and a soft blue cutout dress with the leaf motif were our picks from the women's line, the Japanese tie-and-dye technique used to create patterns for men's shirts and jackets wowed us.

Aartivijay Gupta created magic with her latest line, My World of Glass, inspired by mosaic. Imagery of owls, fish, parrots, houses, trees and peacocks in vibrant mosaic prints featured on a range of silhouettes including A-line dresses, T-shirt and skirt, cape tops with pencil skirts, long coats, peplum jackets as well as maxis and sack dresses.

Silk and glass organza fabric with a sly see-through effect added a touch of feminine class to the collection. A sheath dress emblazoned with a parrot mosaic teamed up with a jacket was our pick.

Bikini brouhaha
3:30 pm > Shivan & Narresh
Crystal blue waters, cool summer breeze, an open bar, exotic finger food and relaxing white lounge chairs at the poolside on the tenth floor of Palladium Hotel provided the perfect setting for swim and cruise wear designer-duo Shivan & Narresh's show.

A model in a strategically cut-out trikini
A model in a strategically cut-out trikini. Pic/Shadab Khan

The collection was inspired by the works of the French painter, Henri Rousseau and featured interesting foliage patterns and abstract geometric designs on the creations.

From flimsy trikinis to shirt dresses, formal palazzos, resort saris and gowns — the collection featured a diverse range of sexy silhouettes in fabrics like neoprene, stretch and soft materials.

The eye-pleasing colour palette comprising of soft saffron, ivory, yolk yellow, electric blue added a classy touch. While jewel embellishments on bikinis didn't impress, we loved the strategically cutout seductive swimsuits, and a white embellished neoprene gown that is sure to appeal to the beach bride.

Bring out the capes
After much confusion due to the change of venue, the grand finale featuring designer Anamika Khanna came to a glamorous end

Anamika Khanna
A model walks for Anamika Khanna. Pic/Satyajit Desai

The Kolkata-based couturier stuck to her signature style of clothing comprising capes and fluid silhouettes. For the colour palette too, black and ivory dominated the line with a hint of blue in a few pieces.

The outfits were accented with silver and zardosi embroiderey. The showstopper, Kareena Kapoor Khan went retro with her styling sporting side parted slick hair and dark lips.

Though we weren't too fond of the earrings worn  by the actress, the jewellery sported by the models in the show and Khanna herself was outstanding and added an edge to a collection that was typical of Khanna's previous works.

Deepika Padukone, who was the guest at the show looked quite like a showstopper.

Party pop-per
1.30 pm > Wendell Rodricks
Inspired by pop art, Wendell Rodricks blended the 1960s' styles and silhouettes with a modern-day colour palette for his collection, Popology.

A model in a strategically cut-out trikini. Pic/Shadab Khan

While models prancing to Mark Ronson's catchy track, Uptown Funk set a youthful and cheery vibe, the collection lacked imagination.

A vibrant colour palette comprising sunshine yellow, olive green, candy pink, turquoise, etc was used on plain black fabrics that didn't bring out the Pop art effect. However, the beach pyjamas and a crepe Nehru jacket in the menswear collection win our vote.

Tales from the desert
5.30 pm > Tarun Tahiliani
A riot of colour, traditional prints and modern silhouettes set against the backdrop of giant tassel-lamps hung from the ceiling and a live performance by Folk artistes, Samander Khan and his Quawwals, brought Rajasthan to the runway as Tarun Tahiliani showcased his collection, Past Modern, presented by Reliance trends.

Models Gazi and Namit Khanna
Models Gazi and Namit Khanna in Tarun Tahiliani's very-summer ombre pieces for men. Pic/Shadab Khan

Inspired by the artists Singh Twins, who revived the technique of miniature paintings, the collection was dominated by traditional Persian motifs, paintings of cities and monuments, resham embellishments, chikankari work as well as touches of Russian folk art.

Blending these with new-age silhouettes in bold hues of rust, orange, dark blue and violet, the couturier created impressive contemporary boho-chic looks, with beaded tassel earrings and broad cummerbands adding to the drama.

While the women's line featured a range of silhouettes like dupattas draped as turbans, front gathered maxi, pleated pants, shirt tail and kedeo tops, our picks were the glam new-age versions of the sari — dhoti sari and lungi sari. From men's wear, we found the sherwani with cowl drape innovative.

Chitrangada Singh, who took a bow with the couturier, looked resplendent in a blue printed blouse and a voluminous multi-coloured layered skirt.

(Left) The theme for Shilpa Reddy's collection was Moon Lit Sand. Using soft, muted colours, we thought the collection was elegant and chic. The Jabong stage had interesting talent such as Ridhi Mehra (right) for Indian wear and Vasundhara Mantri for accessories

Thumbs up

>> Fashion week usually depends on the big names as the selling point of the show in media. Though there wasn’t a shortage of the established designers (Tarun Tahiliani, Suneet Varma, Wendell Rodricks, Raghavendra Rathore) it is the younger designers whom we loved the most.

 While some main shows got delayed by half an hour, most of the shows this season started on time. Kudos to time management.

 The backdrop was replaced with screens this season to add a lot of depth to shows with the videos and larger-than-life images.

 We heaved a huge sigh of relief when we spotted models eating everything from waffles to butter garlic naans. So much for cliches about models with anorexic disorders. Our models eat, exercise, and look fabulous!

 The ice-cream wheel at the buffet section — we felt guilty to down scoops each time we saw a flat midriff on the ramp.
Thumbs down
>> Several shows were overcrowded with people standing at the back of the rows and scampering for seats while the shows were underway. It looked more like a college social in some of the shows.

>> The venue for the grand finale getting shifted out of a city museum was the biggest downer. 

- Dhara Vora

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