LFW: Anupama Dayal’s Mughal revival

It’s never easy breaking out of your comfort zone, but there comes a moment when a creative person decides to pushes away all boundaries and steps into unfamiliar territory. For Delhi designer Anupama Dayal, that realisation dawned at a Singapore museum, while viewing Mughal jewellery. “Looking at our own jewellery from the past, I was inspired to design Indian clothes,” she says.  (We also think it’s partially to do with the great potential in the designer bridal wear market).

Naming her collection the Bronze Begum (sort of a celebration of the Indian skin tone), Anupama presented a collection of saris, lehengas and anarkalis for the Indian bride. She allowed herself a wide colour palette, using orange and red, azure blues, deep greens and shocking pinks. But the common thread of her collection was the predominance of gold. Gold was everywhere—from the zardosi and gota work, to the luxurious brocades, and of course, the jewellery. She combined the traditional crafts with metallic embellishments and pearl embroidery.

Anupama Dayal LFW Orange sari  Embroidery Anupama Dayal at LFW

The fabrics were rich and luxurious—chiffons, georgettes, jacquards and nets. She often used unconventional colour combinations—blue with orange and pink, tangerine with gold, green with gold, warm yellow with red. In a couple of outfits, Anupama draped two contrasting dupattas for an eye-catching effect.

What stood out most from the collection was the use of heavily decorated dupattas and traditional Anarkali jewellery, especially the hair ornaments and nose rings.

Anupama Dayal two dupattas LFW  Model in green kurta with hair ornament at Anupama Dayal

After the show, Anupama said she would make every customer promise that she would make the most of her outfit by wearing it or individual garments at least five times. But I have a feeling the customer would want to wear it at least fifty times. It will be a precious treasure from the past.

Will you wear a Bronze Begum outfit to a wedding this season? Tell us!

LFW: Ritu Kumar’s got stars in her eyes

Veteran Indian designer Ritu Kumar began her post-show press conference with a sweet smile and the words, “I know this collection has come as a surprise, but it’s not a transformation. Rather, it’s a reflection of India moving to a fairly different silhouette from when I started a few decades ago.”

Indeed! I half-expected to see kurtis, cotton blouses and churidar kurtas at LABEL by Ritu Kumar. What I did not expect was a collection of predominantly evening wear.

Called Summer Constellations, Ritu’s son Amrish Kumar (Creative Director) gave a modern twist to the highly-favoured Indian textiles, using them with modern silhouettes and drapes.

The dresses and gowns alluded to the night sky, with a hint of shimmer and twinkle. Using easy-to-wear fabrics like slinky knits and georgettes, even as the makeup and hair styles reminded me of the 1930s. The colour palette was mostly navy blues and blacks, though there were warm reds and oranges in her prints.

 RITUKUMAR-LABEL     Ritu Kumar Label LFW

Some of the surprises in her  collection: short jackets, asymmetric tunics, and experimenting with a jumpsuit and head gear! Even though the collection was not spectacular, it spoke about the Indian fashion consumer—young, demanding, seeking something wearable, fun, trendy and affordable. That’s LABEL in a nutshell.

Model in Ritu Kumar LFW

A new aesthetic has emerged, not for the Indian fashion follower, but for Ritu Kumar’s LABEL. I’d like to know what the girl next door thinks of it.

Would you buy these clothes? Tell us!

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: Anita Dongre preview

Anita Dongre will be showcasing her collection later this evening at Lakme Fashion Week Winter/ Festive 2010. As reported earlier, Speaking Chic had visited the designer’s fittings few days ago. Here’s a glimpse of her collection.

True to her style, Anita has opted for an ethnic look, with strong Rajasthani influences. What’s interesting in this collection is that Anita hasn’t used traditionally festive colours like reds, oranges, or pinks. Instead, her collection’s clearly aimed at the modern woman who’s comfortable wearing darker colours during the festive season. The colour palette includes darker reds, indigo blue and black. Take a look at the outfits:

Models at Anita Dongre LFW 

I took a closer look at the embroidery, and noted there was zardosi work, mukaish and gota. Close-up of a ghagra:

Anita Dongre at LFW ghagra

The accessories comprise mostly chunky, antique-finish, silver necklaces and kadas.

Necklace at Anita Dongre LFW

What do you think of Anita Dongre’s collection? More details after the show.