Lakme Fashion Week roundup: The fashion week sixer
For those who weren't invited - a pictorial wrap-up of the six biggest headlines from five days of Mumbai fashion week
The familiar thrill of restlessness and confidence was the defining mood in most collections at the recently concluded Lakmé Fashion Week (LFW). Instead of searching outside for answers, designers looked at the Indian textile story, exploring its multiple narratives. From celebrating the first legitimate empress of Indian fabric, khadi, and nudging its limitless possibilities, to asserting sustainable values of recycling and reuse as an antidote to quicksand trends, the event also played mediator between designer and artist through the digital empowerment initiative. For all the sparkle - some innovative, some worrying - in the Winter/ Festive 2018 collections, there were also glimpses of real concerns, including celebrating diversity and inclusivity.
Janhvi made her ramp debut
She is everywhere. After appearing as the cover girl on two leading fashion magazines, a runway debut was obvious. A fitting casting for a show titled Millennial Maharani by Nachiket Barve, the Instagram-savvy (a cool 2.6 million followers) Janhvi Kapoor glided with her hand slipped into the pocket of an embroidered cobalt blue and pink lehenga, teamed with a midriff baring blouse and dupatta.
Saree is not the big story anymore
Jumping through hoops of flippant trends and controversies, the saree is no longer the highlight of a designer show. Thankfully. It’s just another clothing item. Master of concepts, Rajesh Pratap Singh, hiked the hemline to introduce a one-shoulder, tie-up jumpsuit version of a saree worn with super-comfy sneakers. Nupur Kanoi looped the Protea (flower indigenous to South Africa) print saree pallu around the shoulders to highlight a bandhani blouse, and made it look slightly unhinged with a long jacket.
Nupur Kanoi, Arpita Mehta, Payal Singhal and Rajesh Pratap Singh
A practical femme fatale probably sums up Payal Singhal’s sublime yet solid intervention of a wispy georgette saree draped over trousers. Arpita Mehta worked around a racer-back slinky blouse, slim-hipped, super-draped silhouette and then splashed and swirled it with stripes and fabric flourishes. Easy did it for Jayanti Reddy. She wed languid comfort with conventional style to present a sari-lehenga style — sweet and light.
Debutants turn heads
As our reference points bounce from overly stylised images on Instagram and trends rushed by popular culture, Good Earth’s debut couture show took us back a few decades with its museum-like archival presentation. Held at the lifestyle label’s store, the collection titled Miniaturist focused on the beauty — an apt metaphor in a way, of gota. Curated in a tableau-style display that educated the viewer on the nuances of gota embroidery, the presentation ended with models taking turns to perform small skits, recreating sepia-toned scenes.
From Founder of Good Earth, Anita Lal’s personal collection is this wedding poshak dated 1970 — a kurti-kacchli ghaghri set with ghamla buti on the choli and sitara gota border on the ghaghri
David Abraham and Rakesh Thakore’s (A&T) view of fashion is actually anti-fashion; it’s far removed from changing seasonal trends. Instead, their clothing stories are about chasing down, capturing the dualistic pursuits of a woman as she is now, and who she wants to be. For the first time at Mumbai’s LFW, they introduced a collection of eveningwear — cocktail dressing “with a desi twist”, as Abraham told this writer. Inspired by the Eastern tradition of wrapping and tying, the Baku, the kimono and the sarong informed the clean, simple shapes enticed by specially woven Benarasi brocades.
Amit Aggarwal launched his long-awaited menswear range that starred his signature polymer details and sculptural shapes as seen in the street-smart hoodie and sweatshirt, sharply cut blazers and bib front detail shirts. The clever use of handpleated recycled glossy rubber cords and Phulkari metallic embroidery gave it an appearance of a dressed-up armour, suggesting new ideas and attitudes in male dressing.
And Kareena taught us how to #poutlikebebo
Now spout — “Tumhara koi haq nahi banta ki tum itni sundar lago. Not fair” — like Kareena Kapoor Khan. The heroine launched her own make-up range including lip liners and of course, pout definers in bolting reds and soft pinks.
Gender-free clothing is cool
The recurrent trend of gender-flouting as seen in collections by Sohaya Misra’s Chola, Anaam, The Pot Plant, Bobo Calcutta and Bloni suggests the next phase will be less about men in skirts (sorry, Rohit Bal), and more about men and women sharing skirts. Welcome to the sartorial grand slam of gender-free fashion.
Men can go ceremonial but casual
Antar-Agni’s well-groomed bias-cut and sweeping drapes negotiated with the most elemental ways in which men feel fashion: through fit, ease and individual expression. The sublime, precise angrakha-inspired overlays with thumbhole details, and jungle print-on-print shirt and trouser set by Rajesh Pratap Singh were unlike anyone else’s this season.
Keeping the silhouette long and lean, Kunal Rawal revised the concept of casual dressing for ceremonial outings. Gender neutrality was a trend the designer hinted at, with models wearing kohl-rimmed eyes and black nail polish. The shoes too were a story in themselves, any sure-footed male takers for platform sandals and towering-over-the-ankle gladiators?
Varun Dhawan and Kunal Rawal
Fashion can be inclusive
There were a dozen starry appearances on ramp — Varun Dhawan for Kunal Rawal, Rajkummar Rao for Rajesh Pratap Singh, Shahid Kapoor and Disha Patani for Amit Aggarwal, Kangna Ranaut for Pankaj & Nidhi, Aditi Rao Hydari for Jayanti Reddy, Jacqueline Fernandez for Ashish N Soni.
But it’s Shikha Talsania, who showcased Narendra Kumar’s size inclusive collection along with 29 plus-sized models, that we remember. The label, Half Full Curve also presented a range for “amply endowed women” showcased by plus-sized models representing the fashion world’s trained focus on ‘everyone is welcome’.
Beautiful seperates are now in fashion
Disrupting the definitions of “good” and “bad” taste, designers found a cool way to feminise the now-elusive idea of “beautiful” via easy-going and ageless separates.
The fact that many of Eka’s clothes look effortless makes its designer Rina Singh’s collection a love at first sight. She takes you to interesting places by connecting a community (khadi artists from West Bengal, Sojani embroiderers from Kashmir and Gujarat-based wood block sculptors) to city slickers. This time, however, she was in the mood to tease notions of glamour. She presented sheer, diaphanous slip dresses and jackets paired as layering pieces.
Amit Vijaya and Richard Pandav of Amrich worked with fabric and volume to convey naturally relaxed styles. Classic shapes of the trench coat, poncho, shirtdress and tunic looked new and sociable when paired with geometric patterns created via artful shibori dyeing. There was a sort of free, nomadic spirit that tied together the pieces in the AM:PM collection. Its designers Ankur and Priyanka Modi reimagined the folksy verve of gypsies on Indo-Western staples.
Indigene worked with Orissa ikats and earthy hues to present an aesthetic value primed for wear-it-as-you-like dressing via drop-crotch trousers, roomy jackets and panelled tunics. Created in collaboration with Musiri craftspeople in Tamil Nadu, Naushad Ali’s collection offered a variety; there were outfits for women, whose style isn’t dressy, like the slouchy, patchwork quilt-like kimono-style jackets thrown over dresses and shown in blocks of muted colours.
But then there were also the shift dresses, cropped jackets and wide leg trousers satiating a woman’s desire to dress up. Three by Pallavi Dhyani had two ideas in the collection, and that was enough. The comforting familiarity of 100 per cent cotton woven in association with artists from Barabanki in Uttar Pradesh, and free-to-play and wear separates like cross tie-up kurtas, smocks, double-breasted jackets, faintly indulged in appliqué and quilting details.
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