Talk of fashion…

November 3, 2006

Quiet is the operative word at Lakme India Fashion Week which kicked off on Tuesday morning, sorry afternoon, at the Bhabha Theatre.

After Hours Fashion Week Special: Day 1

DESIGNER: NARENDRA KUMAR
TREND: Sharp suits with patterns

Quiet is the operative word at the Lakme India Fashion Week which kicked off on Tuesday morning, sorry afternoon, at the Bhabha Theatre.

Narendra Kumar set the tone with a line of menswear that many women might even covet. Smartly cut shirts, suits and pants, some of it rather heavily patterned, but then,
who said men must clothe themselves in drab and plains? White was a definite yes, and whispered of luxury, the type you pack for a trip to the Riviera, then there were printed tank tops teamed with pants that repeated the print down the leg… fine perhaps for Goa? All in all, a good line which should find quite a few takers. Are the international buyers reading this?

DESIGNER: DEV R NIL
TREND: Lots of jersey and drapes

It’s still girlie time on the fashion front… despite the fact that Tabu was sitting demure and composed in the front row in long blue tunic over blue jeans at the Dev R Nil show. She obviously wears their clothes, but maybe this line was not quite meant for her.

The duo set out a line of soft georgettes in ecru. Understated greens, lemon yellows and beige complemented the soft flowing shapes. The newly rediscovered bubble dress
was back on the ramp, and skirts, tunics and whathaveyou were seen in abundance. Looks like jersey is in for a new breath of life – there were jersey blouses with saris, tunics in jersey (forget it if you have ‘Indian’ hips). There was a line with some drapes and cowls, some of which worked; some did not.

Don’t know what it is with Cal designers and deadpan models, but despite the music, most of them looked dead. Despite the nice clothes!!!

DESIGNER: VINEET BAHL
TREND: Flouncy skirts

Vineet Bahl came in like a breath of fresh air, with soft flowing whites. Again, very Alice in Wonderland, with flouncy skirts, comfort fits and white on white appliqué, and cotton lace edging. Vineet brought in a plethora of fabrics for every mod and season – from satins to linen to matka silk. Liked his work with soft checked cottons the best, the kind that makes janata saris in Bengal… he used the fabric as a base for dresses and skirts, dressed it up in bright embroidery, geometric and phulkari style, and teamed it sometimes with bright satin. There was a definite statement in the oversize bags and belts, all in brown leather. As for the Roman sandals, we have seen enough of them, can we go back to pretty heels please?

DESIGNER: PRIYADARSHINI RAO
TREND: Easy fits, bubble dress

Priyadarshini Rao signalled the return of romance to the salwar kameez ensemble. Her line of soft, flowing clothes included a series of salwar kameezs which had panels, and dupattas with gathers, and frills. The colours were monochromatic greens, browns and her signature pinks. Blues and other aqua shades also made a colour statement on the ramp, as did the deft blending in of pin tucks, pleated stitching, panels, yokes and leafy patterns. White linens walked about as shifts worn with khaki pants or capris on men and women, sashes held waists in, it was all put together with craft and style.

Easy fits ruled in her line too; looks like this is a trend that will rule in coming months, away from the constricting shapes of yesteryear. The collection kept its theme through the colour palette ending with earth browns, mossy greens and greys.

Understated elegance. Well worth the wait. Priyadarshini goes from strength to strength, never losing her vision or style. And, yes, the mandatory bubble dress was offered, perhaps in deference to the international buyers who attended her show.

The juice…

* Arjun Rampal got a cheer for ending Narendra Kumar’s show in a spotless white linen suit, while Tabu was the cynosure of many camera eyes at the Dev R Nil show.
* Priyadarshini Rao had her own celeb frontliners: Madhoo and Sabina Singh created their own stir.
* But nothing quite matched the flurry over Bipasha Basu and John Abraham at Narendra’s show – the rush of cameramen when they rose to leave the hall almost knocked some of the audience off their feet.

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I truly believe that fashion weeks in India have been widely misinterpreted. And, now, what with the abundance of them (we actually have four in a year), I shudder to think how disdainful one could get of the entire lot of designers.

That brings me to the designers themselves. Now, these to most people are a strange lot of characters. They dress strangely, they usually have no sense of time and they love to party, apart from the fact that they make sequinned kurtis for a living.

 

Today, we have an abundance of fashion design graduates spilling out from self-styled institutions. While about 15 years ago (I actually graduated that long ago), the meagre numbers that stumbled out of such institutes were considered darzis and sent straight to the workshop to learn skills from the pattern master. It’s true, I am still amazed when I come across fresh graduates from design schools with massive egos who tell me that spending time at the workshop is a complete waste of time and immediately twirl around to get their show together at a fashion week.

I can go back to the year 2001, when I showed at my first week at a group showing. The new crop of designers included Savio Jon, Anshu Arora Sen, Aparna Chandra and Aki Narula. Then anyone under 40 was a new designer. But when I look back today, I see all of them have achieved the recognition they deserve. In 2002, I bumped into a young kid called Sabyasachi Mukherjee. And in 2004, I met a nervous Varun Bahl who was showing for the first time.

I believe fashion weeks in India have become a fertile breeding ground for real talent. It has offered direction to a lot of designers and for some of us who do not indulge in active PR, it has been the best way to stay in contention without having to attend every glitzy party.

And yet today one sees dozens of new names at each week, that just somehow seem to vanish in thin air before the next one comes along. Fashion is a fickle thing, and yet the winners are those who can sustain. I see some of my students, clients, assistants et al, all wanting to jump on to this gravy train called fashion week, and I sigh in disbelief.

At the risk of sounding a like a sceptic, I wonder what direction the fashion frat will take? According to me there are currently three levels to this entire lot. On one hand, there are those who have revolutionised Indian fashion with their years in the business and are a defining force. While the next level of designers are the younger lot, who are showing their business skills with corporate tie-ups and their passion for prêt-a-porter. And then, there is this last underbelly swarming with self-styled stylists and 20-something kurti makers who seem to have ample direction but no focus. But I guess they are important too, they make the good ones seem better.

Malini Ramani collection showcased a blend of the Uber trendy and customary embellishments at the Blenders Pride Fashion Tour 2006 on Oct. 18-19 at Poona Club.

The mod styles blended perfectly with traditional designs including her signature rock-star-meets-Indian-princess sartorial style.

Ramani said that she had mellowed over time and now she is sticking to subdued shades and designs.

Models Candice Pinto, Carol Gracias and Jesse Randhawa walked down in numbers in metallic and earthy colours like gold, brown, beige and bright hues like pink, orange, yellow and bright green.

Ramani came up with these designs keeping in mind the ensuing occasions that let a woman pamper herself.

Her collection ranged from designs for Diwali, New Year’s Eve, summer holidays and the wedding season. She designed trendy, sporty numbers making a bold statement and intricate, heavy ensembles in bright festive colours.

Indiva, Ramani’s interpretation of the Indian woman made a stylish, assertive statement on the evening of the show. The ‘Indiva’ is a woman who is much more evolved, looking for adventure in her experiences and life.

She explained that these events are easier and helps to experiment with her creativity for the sheer pleasure of soaking style and sensuality.

Paris’s India Jon-t

October 26, 2006

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By design or accident, India is suddenly a hot blip on the celeb radar. After the Brad-Angelina brouhaha, India Party Inc. is buzzing with rumours of Paris Hilton flying down to India next year. Her visit is apparently timed to coincide with the launch of a new denim brand by India-born, US-based fashion designer, Anand Jon, who fraternizes with the hot hotel heiress and her ilk. So when the designer forwarded the invitation, the Simple Life star decided to take him up on it, a move reportedly confirmed by Jon’s designer sister Sanjana. The singer-actor-model, who has always been in the news for all the wrong reasons, may just find salvation in India. Even if she doesn’t, the paparazzi should.