Best of LFW: Part 1

Vikram Phadnis

In fashion, we all seek the avant garde, the cutting edge. But great fashion isn’t always cutting edge or avant garde. Great fashion is clothes that are given a fresh appeal, looks that alter your perceptions of a garment, and those make you think twice about what you’ve been wearing. Vikram Phadnis did all this and more.

Phadnis played with colours, silhouettes and fabrics to create a stunning bridal collection. The dazzling colours were put together in unusual combinations — unexpected even in the era of colour contrasts. He mixed purple and blue, maroon and cream, sky blue with sea blue… Imagine the stunning effect of a long green kurta and an indigo textured ghagra teamed with an orange net dupatta.

Green kurta with indigo ghagra and an orange dupatta

The luxurious fabrics became richer with zardosi embriodery and crystal work, and the added length of kameezes. In contrast to the elongated kurtas were the very short and sexy cholis, designed to make men at a wedding drool.

The oft-neglected dupatta of a bridal outfit, usually just a slightly modified version of the lehenga itself, was reborn with a new personality. Phadnis showed the world how a dupatta can transform an outfit, like a whole new layer to your clothing. It isn’t just an accessory, it’s a garment — he seemed to be saying. There was variety in draping, embroidery and colours. His dupattas are something I would want to carry, despite the heavy lehengas. The best dupattas were those of net, complete with exquisite borders and sprays of crystal or embroidery work.

Purple dupatta

Phadnis mixed silhouettes using fabrics and patterns — like brocade and velvet; or like the modern wave pattern blouse with zardosi on a velvet maroon lehenga. And then there were voluminous ghagras with sherwanis and saris with sherwani-style blouses. Who thought that Indian garments could be layered like this?

How to Wear It: When you get dolled up this festive season, carry a dupatta that does not match. Because, as Phadnis has shown, it really does.

Rohit Bal’s “made up” range for Lancome

When MAC partnered with Manish Arora to create an India-inspired makeup range, the results were fabulous. The dazzling colours of eyeshadows, lip glasses and blush blew away women around the world.

So when I read about Rohit Bal’s Lotus collection for Lancome, I knew I had to check it out. Here’s what I had in mind- new colours, some never-thought-of makeup tools and eccentric packaging, perhaps even guy makeup! Oh boy, was I disappointed. The collection is more or less a glammed up version of a discount scheme.

This is how it works:

  1. You choose your shade from a fixed set of products, such as concealer, blush, lipstick etc from Lancome’s existent range. You can have either 12 products (silver set) or 21 (gold set).
  2. If you choose the silver set, you get 12% discount, which means Rs 15,000. And the gold set comes for Rs 25,000.
  3. This is all put together and wrapped neatly in a cute vanity case.

This is a great idea especially for brides, who want everything handy, customised and coordinated. And even the women who want to indulge themselves.

But why tag Rohit Bal along? The crazy-creative notorious designer has added nothing to the Lancome brand, nor to his own. The only claim being that he “handpicked” the collection. Why would Rohit Bal want to lend his name to something so silly? How does the Delhi designer become anything different from cricketers and actors endorsing brands? (At least they display their acting skills). We would have loved to see Rohit Bal getting creative with something other than fabric.

Speaking Chic’s opinion: It’s a foolish marketing gimmick to draw footfalls to the stores. The concept does have some weight, but I would have pegged it as the “Lotus Bridal” collection or something similar, and kept Mr. Bal out of the equation.

Weekend Views: Practical Fashion

Practical Fashion
The few times I’ve seen Latika Khaneja of Collage Sports Management on TV, I’ve noticed her articulateness, her straightforwardness and her commanding yet feminine voice. What I haven’t noticed much are her clothes.

Which is why an interview on her style in this weekend’s Lounge took me by surprise. This smart business woman spoke candidly about the practical side of fashion for working women. And Ms Khaneja definitely doesn’t mince words- she says no to pencil skirts, believes flat shoes at office are perfectly acceptable and has stopped shopping at “children stores”.

Her pragmatic tips make complete sense for those of us who have to run to catch a train, or have to get into the bus with a quick jump.

Next time I’m off for a client meeting, I’ll perhaps give my three-inch black pumps a break and opt for practical comfort instead.

PS- Thanks, Ms Khaneja!

Painting Flushing Meadows Red!

While Sharapova made an unglorious exit from the US Open over the weekend, she didn’t fail to surprise with her choice of dress. Known to work closely with the Nike team, her lilac dress was perfect for her long legs and her tall and lean frame. However, I think the neon green bands across her dress are best left to cyclists, not tennis stars.

Despite the loss to a player ranked 30 spots below her, Sharapova’s creative and entrepreneurial streak continues. The Russian player is now designing accessories for Cole Haan, starting with an over-the-knee boot.

Her opponent was Melanie Oudin, who wore the cutest sneakers– a pleasant mix of dark pink and yellow, with three blue stripes, perfect for her young years (this feisty player is only 17!).

Oudin used her sponsor Adidas’s customisation site for the bespoke shoes. Fellow American Sam Querrey did the same with his shoes- a pair of red with a dash of dark blue.

Speaking of red, this fiery colour is ruling the roost seems to be ruling the roost at this hard court event. World No. 1 Roger Federer is wearing an eye-catching yet elegant red, adding an element of fun to his elegant backhand. Jelena Jankovic, who made an early exit, wore a red dress with ruffles at the waist and on the skirt- oh so feminine, but lacking a good fit. And then there’s Kim Clijsters with her red FILA tee and co-ordinated skirt, and a host of East European players like Kateryna Bondarenko and drama queen Vera Zvonareva.

The bright colours of the summer don’t end with the red. There’s the bright pink (donned by the Williams sistas, Elena Dementieva and Nadia Petrova), and the very summery yellow of Rafael Nadal’s t-shirt. While the t-shirt gives women (and men) a cheeky view of his toned biceps, the blue head and wrist bands are in sync with new fashion mantra- Make contrasts work!

While some players stick to the safe choices (like blue), I love the experimentation with colours at the last Grand Slam of the year. But autumn’s round the corner, and the bright colours of the season will soon fade away… Enjoy them while they last!