LFW: 5 years of Gen Next

Lakme Fashion Week’s Gen Next show provides up-and-coming designers a platform to showcase their talent. The Gen Next concept was introduced in 2006 to encourage quality, innovation, creativity and commercial viability among the budding designers.

Today several Gen Next designers are successful and have a steadily growing fan following. To celebrate five years of the concept’s success, Lakme Fashion Week organised a show with 10 established designers who debuted at Gen Next few years ago.

Highlights of the show

Anuj Sharma played with the concept of 3D, using triangles edged necklines, cloth bubbles on the bodice, giant covered buttons, cones appeared on the bustier and 3D motifs on the neck. Highly unusual, but translatable into an interesting retail collection.

Model at Anuj Sharma Gen Next LFW

Kallol Dutta is known for offbeat prints, and I spotted a number of people at the show wearing his clothes. Calling this line “Black Humourist”, Kallol used black as a backdrop for his funky prints. One of his prints was (ahem!) a fork and a spoon. Later asked about the use of such symbols, he shrugged and replied, “I just like to use random, impertinent objects and use them on my clothes.” Good reply, and good thing it’s quickly becoming wearable and acceptable fashion.

Kallol Dutta LFW

Kunal Rawal’s five outfits were perhaps the most refreshing (and fun) of the lot. His male models told the story of karigars (workers), carrying tools of their trade, looking rustic, and one even taking off his shirt. (Woot!) There was also a canvas waistcoat, a kurta shirt, a sherwani and bundi combo and a sporty four flap pocket jacket with trousers. The colour palette was largely khaki-inspired, with brown and orange. Here’s Kunal with a model (note the satchel):

Kunal Rawal with model LFW 2010

Nitin Bal Chauhan is in the wrong profession. His heart and soul is of a visual artist working with mixed media. For his Freedom! Freedom! line, he created skirts, jackets and dresses with the most unusual materials—newspaper-print coated paper, spools of thread and plastic basket weave, creating a stunning effect on the ramp. The inspiration, he said after the show, was from farmers who are forced to pick up weapons to make their living (the Naxalite story). He created these garments using materials from their daily life. Can’t wear them, but very poignant stuff.

Nitin Bal Chauhan LFW W/F 2010

Other designers at the show were:

  • Aneeth Arora
  • Rahul Mishra
  • Rimzin Dadu
  • Nachiket Barve (more on him later)
  • Sailex
  • Swapnil Shinde

Which Gen Next designers do you like? Tell us!

LFW: Arjun Saluja’s Japanese inspiration

Dark and dramatic, mysterious and masculine. Arjun Saluja’s Resurrection on Day 2 of Lakme Fashion Week Winter/Festive 2010. Sponsored by TIGI Catwalk’s Sleek Mystique range of hair products, the collection showcased Arjun’s refined tailoring and fine use of structure and style. Combining his fascination for Japanese martial art budo with the dark and mystical side of Japanese art forms, the clothes on the ramp had clean lines, layered lapels, quilting, pleating and layered flaps on dresses, trousers, skirts, dresses and blouses. Using satin, crepe and suiting material, Arjun added dramatic elements like red gloves, a trailing gown, buttons on the back, or a loop on the arms and legs. The military association was strong with studded shoulders and double-breasted dresses. The hair, expertly done by TIGI’s Akos Bodi, was combed back, long and dark.

Model at Arjun Saluja LFW Black top and dress Arjun Saluja Arjun Saluja show at LFW

Speaking Chic says: Invest in this collection if you’re comfortable with your masculine side. I certainly am.

LFW: Neeta Lulla preview

Popular Bollywood and bridal wear designer Neeta Lulla will be showcasing her new collection at Lakme Fashion Week Winter/ Festive 2010 tonight. We got a sneak preview of what’s in store for us, courtesy the designer and model Nethra Raghuraman:

Neeta Lulla LFW Nethra Nethra in Neeta Lulla LFW 

While I’m not so enthused after seeing this outfit, let’s reserve our judgement till later tonight.

What do you think of the outfit? Tell us!

LFW: Vizyon’s night out

Nothing defines evening wear better than fluid silhouettes in organza, silk jersey, and swirls of tulle embroidered with precious stones. Vizyon’s collection of “Enchanting Nymphs” at Lakme Fashion Week Winter/Festive 2010 had  ethereal touches with goddess gowns and dresses, and colours ranging from purple, orange and green.  Designed by Ninon Palisse with Shradha Murarka (Creative Director of Vizyon), the duo played it safe, presenting a retail-friendly collection, in line with popular trends. The only bit of experimentation was done with drapes and the graphic print-and-green combination. Pictures below:

Orange drape dress at Vizyon LFW  Green and graphic print Vizyon LFW

Vizyon models

Speaking Chic says: A good buy if you like to dress in what’s most popular right now.

LFW: Sailex’s edgy angels

Sailex’s duality-themed collection portrayed the contradictory facets of a women’s mind. This collection of gowns and dressed (called “Fallen Angel”) portrayed the duality with fluid lines, rich fabrics, some bling, and military elements.

His colour palette was anything but subtle—black, tomato, magenta, navy and purple, accessorised with gold. He played with textures and embellishments, by mixing velvet and chiffon and using pleats, drapes and glittering external shoulder pads and epaulet to give his collection certain amount of edginess. He added texture to models’ hair as well, with crimped sections, hair flying lose, or pulled into a haphazard updo with strands all over the place.

Model at Sailex LFW W/F 2010 Sailex with models LFW

Sailex says that the woman who wears his outfits is strong and daring, and the type “who could bash someone up”. For that to come through, we’d need a bit more edginess. Even so, I liked most of what I saw. His gowns could be a good investment for bold party girls.

LFW: Little Shilpa’s Inception

Little Shilpa’s collection at Lakme Fashion Week Winter/Festive 2010 was a surrealistic journey to a utopian land, with the use of soft colours like baby pinks, whites, and fluid lines. Shilpa twisted see-through fabrics like net and lace into headgear  and body gear to reflect her land of “honesty and transparency”. The shapes that arose from her craft were petals, spirals, peaks and towers. Instead of using nude fabrics to drape the models, Shilpa used exaggerated plastic bustiers and skirts, providing a perfect contrast to the soft fabrics.




As Shilpa said after the show, smaller version of these creations are available for retail. I’m sure those would be just as interesting.

LFW: Manish Arora blings it up!

Manish Arora’s show at Lakme Fashion Week Winter/Festive 2010 started more than half an hour late. When the first model came out, it was clear why it had taken so long. It was the makeup and the hair: heavy glitter around their eyes and lips. Shimmery headpieces in myriad colours, several sporting the motifs on the outfits. Take a look below. Can you stop yourself from saying, “Wowza!”??

Manish Arora models LFW

Manish Arora’s colourful eccentricity was apparent in the way he played with the garments—big shoulders, wide sleeves, bubble skirts, and the entertainment factor. A model strolled down the ramp wearing laser pointer glasses and looked all around (apt since the show was sponsored by Philips).

The collection comprised mostly dresses and skirts, with cropped jackets, all meant for an in-your-face party girl from the future. Manish called it “Art Deco 2050”. We could see the Art Deco inspiration with the focus on freeing the woman from the limitations of tight-fitting outfits, the emphasis being on exaggeration of drapes, folds and details. 

The outfits were covered with sequins, applique flowers, metallic discs and fan shaped motifs. Here’s Manish with his three showstoppers.

Manish Arora and models at LFW

A close-up of the model’s makeup. Note the shimmery metallic discs around her eyes and glitter on her lips.


The footwear was a mix between hoof-like ankle booties and platform stilettos.  The models later said that the shoes were a bit uncomfortable but they were fine when they stepped out the second time.

Shoes at Manish Arora LFW

Speaking Chic says: Upcoming festive season, don’t shy away from bling.

What do you think of Manish Arora’s collection at Lakme Fashion Week? Tell us!

LFW W/F 2010: Some model facts

Anyone who is not a model is fascinated by them. But turns out they’re people too. So here’s some things I observed about them at the Lakme Fashion Week Winter/ Festive 2010 fittings earlier this week.

Most models are super tall. Really. When I stepped into the fittings room, I looked up at them, and wondered, “Wow! They‘re wearing such high heels!” Two minutes later, the choreographer called out, “Giiiirrrrls, wear your heels now!” Then they towered over me.

Models are super thin. Well, kinda. Some of them really are, but none of them looked sick or deathly pale to me. Rather, some of them looked skinny and healthy at the same time. (By healthy, I don’t mean chubby, but healthy, curvy and feminine). And they had the flattest tummys. (Note to self: Take tips from them during fashion week).

 Models at LFW W/F 2010

Models eat cake. No kidding. I saw them munching on little pastries after the fittings. What’s interesting is that they ate tiny bite-sized pieces, and didn’t gorge on them.

Models can be really sweet. A couple of the models happily posed for me when I pointed my camera at them, even though they were without makeup. Here’s one of them.

Model at LFW W/F 2010

Most models have good skin. Maybe it’s genetic, maybe it’s because they take good care, or a bit of both. There were a few models though, who had not so good skin, but nothing which makeup couldn’t take care of.

Any model myths you want to bust? Any questions for the models? Tell us!

Clash of the fashion weeks

It’s September, and soon the world’s fashionistas will be treated to sartorial delights (and disasters) to look forward to in the next fashion season. In India, we’re going to have the Lakme Fashion Week from September 17 to 21 in Mumbai. And Wills Lifestyle India Fashion Week in October in the capital.

Kolkata_Fashion_Week But before that, get ready for Kolkata Fashion Week (September 10-12) and Kolkata Couture Fashion Week (September 9-12). Yup, you read that right. Same place, same time, two fashion weeks!

Now that’s not good news at all. That’s too many clothes (even for fashion lovers), too many air kisses and too many celebrities. And we really wonder how many of those clothes would be really worth wearing/ buying?

Besides, we’ve just had a couture week, and the whole idea behind couture is to be exclusive. That’s why Paris only labels a handful of designers as couturiers. But this is India, where everyone from a smart college student to a bored housewife is called a “designer”. [End of rant.]

Shocking Chic: Oil spills into fashion

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For the fashion world, the word shocking is usually reserved for an anorexic model or heavily photoshopped images. But Vogue Italia recently gave shocking a new meaning when it published a fashion photospread inspired by the recent BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. Here’s the cover: 


What you see inside are some stark images, some close to being very disturbing. The photos (shot by Steven Meisel) project a poisonous atmosphere, and in one picture, model Kristen McMenamy is seen regurgitating contaminated water. Not for the faint-hearted.


Speaking Chic tracked down a friend in the US who feels passionately about the oil spill and its cover-up. “The images are truly haunting,” she said over email. “But it’s a good thing, because this is going to put the oil spill on a world stage for everyone to see. Some of the pictures make you feel the anger that most of us environment-lovers felt in the aftermath of the spill.”

We also also asked Mumbai-based photography buff Pradnya for her reactions. “Most of the pictures are in low key which well describe the mood. Unfortunately, the repetitive long shots sometimes lose focus. Yet, some of the photos do justice to the seriousness of the issue. The close-up picture of the model is a great capture, with a nice blend of fear and shock. I think some of the pictures hit hard, but all of them capture the essence of the disaster.”


For those who still want to know about the fashion in the shoot, check out the Vogue Italia site or watch this behind-the-scenes video.

Speaking Chic says: The next time someone says “fashion is frivolous”, please show them this photo feature. While these photographs will not reverse the damage caused, they make a poignant statement on the environmental and human impact of the spill. By showing a human in such a toxic setting, the magazine has brought to the fore what several upper-class people (Vogue readers) may have brushed under the carpet. We wonder what Tony Hayward would have to say about this one.

What do you think of Vogue Italia’s BP oil spill-inspired photo shoot? Tell us!

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