LFW: 10 things we learnt at Lakme Fashion Week Winter/Festive 2010

Gold is in

That’s what Sailex told me just after his show. And I guess he was right. Model wearing gold chainsOxidised silver has almost disappeared, and there were plenty of gold accessories as well as embroideries (gota and gold ribbon work).

Less of more is more

We Indians want to show off our jewels, but don’t want to show too much of it. Hence, the current look is neither OTT, nor is it minimal. We’ve struck a fine balance between the two. Thank god for that.

The grass is greener on the other side…

Western wear designers attempted Indian garments for the first time (Anupama Dayal and Nachiket Barve); while primarily Indian wear designers offered western garments (Label by Ritu Kumar). Are the new endeavours are driven by aesthetic or business needs, or both?

Live tweeting has almost replaced journalism

I love tweeting, and I’ve live-tweeted a couple events. I rather enjoyed reading the tweets from fashion magazines, websites, TV channels and LFW, but sadly, I wonder if the urgent need to get the information out is replacing fashion journalism and criticism. Not much note-taking, and you should have seen the amount of press releases that went unused.

Love it or hate it, Bollywood is big

As a friend told me, “When big Bollywood stars don’t show up, people complain [that the fashion week is thanda]. When a Bollywood star does show up, people complain that film stars are replacing fashion.” True!

Indian Standard Time is as stretchable as lycra

As we waited to enter the main show area for the grand finale (which started more than an hour late), we could spot the models rehearsing. Most shows started at least 20-25 minutes late, while some were delayed by as much as 45 minutes.

Model at Label by Ritu Kumar It’s all on the head

Head gear in various forms appeared everywhere—Little Shilpa, Jelin George (Gen Next), Label by Ritu Kumar, among others. Is head gear the new wide belt?

Lots of clothes doth not maketh a collection

The designer creates clothes for his “collection”. But what if you leave the show feeling confused about what the collection was really about? Some designers used all fabrics, all colours, all possible trendy embellishments. Where’s the theme or thought behind it?

Winter, Summer, Festive, Resort… it’s all the same, right?

We saw bikinis, beach and resort wear on the ramp, along with minis and shorts. Even seasonless Mumbai deserves new fashion trends.

Fashion Week is fun, but tiring.


LFW Finale: Malini goes gypsy-otic

Lakme Fashion Week’s Winter/Festive 2010 season was expected to end with a fashionable bang. A bang it was, but not very fashionable.

There was plenty of drama and theatrics: starting more than an hour late, an acrobatics act, a contortionist, a tacky AV about Malini’s “journey as a gypsy” and Diandra Soares in a horrendous one-shouldered maxi, on the verge of a wardrobe malfunction.

Diandra Soares at LFW

Divided into four parts (Mystery, Bliss, Cosmic and Nirvana), each sub-collection had a distinct mood, theme, colour palette and set of embellishments. While the Mystery collection comprised mostly sarongs, waist coats, Jodhpur pants, and even smocks, the beach-themed Bliss included some colourful dresses, gowns, tubes and minis. Batiks ruled the first two parts.

Malini Ramani outfit at LFW  Model in Malini Ramani outfit

Kaftans and feathers appeared in the Cosmic part, and plenty of mirror work marked the Nirvana stage.

We wonder why Malini stuck mostly to black in her gypsy interpretation, and why she chose to present a collection that was so predictable, and reinforced every gypsy-costume stereotype. Mirror work, check. Shells, check. No defined silhouette, check.

Model at Malini Ramani show  Malini Ramani's show at LFW- model  

The good thing is that Malini remained true to her bohemian, free-spirited self. After a break and with a more open mind, perhaps Malini can get her creative juices flowing again. Let me ask my tarot cards. 😉

LFW: Jewellery tells a global story

Jewellery designer Suhani Pittie broke out of her oxidised silver mold with her recent Lakme Fashion Week collection, called Free Religion. Suhani’s jewellery was a mix of two worlds—though “very Indian in my DNA”, she made the most of several nomadic influences in this collection.

Expertly rolling several eras and cultures into a cohesive gypsy-inspired collection, the jewellery had both rustic and contemporary touches. For instance, necklaces or individual pieces in antique gold finish were combined with turquoise stones, coloured enamelled pieces, or coloured fabric. Suhani made ample use of beads, stones and studs and symbols open to multiple interpretations. The oft-used crescent could symbolise Islam, Shiva’s hair adornment or the Chinese Yin.

Suhani Pittie neckpiece with crescent Model wearing Suhani Pittie jewellery at LFW

My favourite piece from the collection was a neckpiece that started as a temple necklace, added a foldable steel plate (it really was foldable, I checked), with a small metal Ganesha and coral and turquoise pieces.

Model in Suhani Pittie's jewellery

Speaking Chic says: Very artistic, but the retail collection may be a card swipe or two.

LFW: Bollywood on your feet

Naya Daur is the name of a popular Dilip Kumar movie, and also the name of Rohan Arora’s shoe collection for Lakme Fashion Week Winter/Festive 2010. Why Naya Daur? One, because it’s inspired by old Bollywood hand-painted posters; two, because Rohan’s used a new kind of leather, combined with khadi for his shoes.

Model wearing Rohan Arora shoes Rohan Arora's shoes at LFW

Rohan’s collection comprised boots and slip-ons imprinted with poster-inspired imagery. The shoes were in shades of beige, brown, orange and red, with spiral heels, cuffs and laces. Unlike other Bollywood-inspired garments and accessories, Rohan’s shoes were neither garish nor trying too hard. Sadly, boots are not ideal for Mumbai weather, but I have my eyes on the slip-ons already.

Meanwhile, check out the shopping bag a model carried on the ramp. Bollywood shopping, anyone? 🙂

Devdas bag Rohan Arora with model

LFW: Seeking kitschy chic

Malaga’s Lakme Fashion Week Winter/Festive 2010 collection Flamboyart comprised bags, shoes and jewellery. Designer Malini Agarwalla used a number of themes: pictorial depictions on bags and pendants, traditional fabrics and prints on jholas, potlis, and shoes, along with bibs, bangles and cummerbunds in gold and gota work.

Malaga bag and jewellery at LFW Malaga LFW show; bag and necklace

Unfortunately, the kitschy look has been around for a while now, and most of the pieces didn’t stand out from the stuff we see everywhere. I did like some of the trendier waistbands, bangles and some of the neckpieces.  But the bib Sophie Choudhary wore on the ramp was too big to be worn by anyone!

Sophie at Malaga LFW show

What do you think of Sophie’s jewellery? Tell us!

LFW: Glass on your neck

Eina Ahluwalia’s Lakme Fashion Week Winter/Festive 2010 collection for Breathing Space was characterised by two main themes: mini glass containers (“Containment”) and felt (“How I Felt”). Building up on the concept of containment, Eina used miniature vases, bottles, jars to symbolise urns that contain our ashes.  The oversized glass pendants also seen in the collection made quite an impact on the ramp, and were strung on sterling silver with semi precious stones.

Eina Ahluwalia's LFW show Eina Ahluwalia pendant

Felt created by Dutch artist Beatrice Woonders was used as stoles, or studded with semi-precious stones for neckpieces. I asked Eina why she used felt. “I wanted to do something more interesting and challenging beyond gold and silver,” she said. Simple, straightforward, and well-put!

 Eina Ahluwalia at LFW

 Speaking Chic says: Some very interesting concepts, and clearly the artist in Eina shone through. She says her work is in the space between art and commercial jewellery. Indeed, but she just about makes the cut into commercial.

What do you think of Eina’s jewellery? Tell us!

LFW: Neeta Lulla’s blinding collection

My eyes! My eyes! Neeta Lulla’s Lakme Fashion Week Winter/Festive 2010 collection was an uncomfortable experience, to say the least. At one point, I wanted to close my eyes and walk out of the main show area.

Too loud. Too OTT. Too much bling. I should have worn dark glasses to the show.

As a journalist later told me, “Ghastly!”

Neeta Lulla at LFW Neeta Lulla sari at LFW

PS— As mentioned in our Neeta Lulla preview, we weren’t expecting much from the show, but we never thought it would be this bad either. Sigh!

LFW: Manish Malhotra shows us red

Dear Manish,

I loved Kajol’s green lehenga in DDLJ, the shaded saris in almost all Yashraj movies, and I especially love the saris Kareena Kapoor wears on the red carpet (all yours, of course). You’ve made an easy transition from costume designing to creating wearable clothes. You continue dressing gorgeous actors in gorgeous clothes, and bridezillas insist on wearing a Manish Malhotra for their wedding. So what I didn’t understand is why you, of all designers, needed a sponsor for your Lakme Fashion Week Winter/Festive 2010 show.

While I did like some of the clothes in your collection, I was a tad disappointed. Using maroon, blue and black, you created a very wearable evening wear collection. But you put hammered everything possible into this collection—from silhouettes to embroidery.

Manish Malhotra show at LFW Manish Malhotra LFW red churidar kurta

I saw harem pants, salwars, kurtas, flowing skirts, lehengas, baby doll kurtis, shaded net and chiffon saris and velvet borders. For embroidery, again you used everything—zari, crystals, sequins and brocade.

The missing link was that there was no link. There was everything, yet not one concrete idea I could use for the upcoming festive season, nor a single “Wow!” moment.Manish Malhotra's show at LFW Mumbai

Manish, people will continue to buy your clothes, and Bollywood will continue to hire you, but here’s some unsolicited advice: experiment, go crazy, think beyond the usual!

Looking forward to your next collection already.

With love,

Speaking Chic team

LFW: Narendra Kumar’s dare-to-wear jeans

It’s not often that a high street brand presents at a fashion week, but when an ace designer like Narendra Kumar ties up with Killer jeans, you expect to see something different. Narendra’s been associated with the denim brand for a while now, and this time he played to college boys and girls while daring them to get a bit bolder.

For guys, there were 1980s-style sports jackets, pop-coloured jeans (green, blue, red) and printed shirts with check and military detailing. The jeans ranged from the seriously low-rise jeans (check picture below) in fits that ranged from the straight cuts to to drop-crotch styles, often worn by bare-chested male models.

topless model at Killer show LFW

For women, there were very short shorts, skirts, skinny jeggings, a jumpsuit and even a couple dresses, such as a ruched one-shoulder dress and a more interesting bodycon strapless denim dress.

The jeans and shorts appeared in a variety of washes, and were often distressed or frayed. And oh, Narendra’s models donned hats on the runway, and though they seemed fun, we’re not sure how many Indian youngsters want to adopt that trend. What they will want to wear, however, are the tshirts that say, “Sex Cells” and “Been There, Dump That”.

Narendra Kumar Killer tshirt

Would you wear such tees? Tell us!

LFW: Nachiket’s mix-and-match dazzles

Nachiket Barve got the idea for his Lakme Fashion Week Winter/Festive 2010 Magpie collection from the bird that steals shiny objects to decorate its nest. The designer “stole” inspiration from around the world, drawing inspiration from objects as varied as fabergé eggs, Moroccan star motifs, Marrakech’s tropical sunsets and Ukrainian paintings.

In true Nachiket style, there was plenty of colour (burgundy, turquoise, purple, ink blue and more) with relaxed, yet structured, silhouettes. The designer expertly combined various techniques in a single garment, such as cross stitch beading with silk and glass beads and 3D appliqué on graphic resist origami dyed dress.

Nachiket Barve cross stitch purple dress Nachiket Barve wrap dress LFW

Nachiket experimented with churidars, kurtas and saris for the first time, with interesting results. For instance, there were couple of tie-and-dye saris with appliqué borders. Also seen was the use of clever layering in contrasting colours.

Nachiket Barve sari LFW

Speaking Chic says: A fun, delightful and wearable collection, with several garments worth keeping for several seasons.