LFW: 5 things we liked on Day 1

The first day at Lakme Fashion Week Summer/Resort 2011 threw up a number of surprises, and we liked them all! Take a look at our top moments from LFW’s Day 1:

Sabyasachi had fun with fashion

Pop colours, fun with fabric, matching unlikely textures… Sabyasachi didn’t leave any creative stone unturned. With every outfit, he stunned me by the sheer wizardry of his craft. Wearable straight off the ramp? Yep, if you’ve got the personality.

Sabyasachi Mukherjee at LFW S/R 2011

Japanese designers: The show must go on

As the world remained glued to TV sets and news sites awaiting news from Japan, Japanese designers took it in their stride and put on the special Tokyoeye show as planned. While the creations were not particularly breathtaking, the designers certainly seemed to have designed for an international sensibility.

(Below left to right: Somarta by Tamae Hirokaro; araisara by Sara Arai)

Somarta by Tamae Hirokaro at LFW S/R 2011 araisara by Sara Arai at LFW

Variety of looks: geeky chic, bright lips, bindis

Strange… the bindi has almost disappeared from young women’s foreheads, whether in Delhi or Ludhiana, so it was a pleasant surprise to see them on the ramp at Myoho. And we also loved the oversized catty glasses (very chic) at Sabyasachi, bright pink and orange lips at Mineral by Priyadarshini Rao (super trendy for summer!).

(Below left to right: Myoho and Mineral by Priyadarshini Rao)

Myoho at LFW S/R 2011 Mineral by Priyadarshini Rao at LFW S/R 2011

Gen Next show: Fresh dose of fashion

Six GenNext designers showcased their debut collection at Lakme Fashion Week Summer/Resort 2011. A couple of them managed to break through the clutter to present some interesting ideas. Manas Dash was one, Miriam Strehlau was another. Interestingly, both had very strong Indian inspiration. Whether they become more popular in a few years, only time will tell.

(Below left to right: Manas Dash, Miriam Strehlau)

Manas Dash GenNext designer at LFW S/R 2011 Miriam Strehlau GenNext designer at LFW S/R 2011

Wearable fashion

If there’s one thing Speaking Chic enjoys, it’s wearable ramp fashion! While Mineral by Priyadarshini Rao’s clothes will be seen on the rack in her new stores at affordable prices, there were copious amount of clothes that we would wear straight off the ramp. Examples: Shivaji Dutta’s dresses, skirts at Chaitanya Rao and several garments at Arpan Vohra.

(Below left to right: Shivaji Dutta, Chaitanya Rao and Arpan Vohra)

Shivaji Dutta dress at LFW S/R 2011 Chaitanya Rao dress at LFW S/R 2011

Arpan Vohra dress at LFW S/R 2011

LFW: Sabyasachi finally has some fun

After his show, Sabyasachi Mukherjee said, “I’m a boring designer. So I decided to have some fun this time.” And that’s exactly what he did last night at Lakme Fashion Week Summer/Resort 2011. (And we’re having some fun too—we give you the runway report as a story in pictures.)

The show with outfits were in simple earthy tones, black and ivory prints, styled conservatively. But Sabyasachi was just teasing the audience. His interpretation of the women of the Sunderbans was offbeat and inspired by several decades of the last century.

Sabyasachi Mukherjee LFW S/R 2011

In matte red lips, high buns and catty glasses, the models (and the designer) seemed to be mocking us with unexpected twists to traditional garments. Like asymmetric sleeves, pop coloured tops with floor-length skirts, umbrella-shaped shoulders, shimmering loose jumpsuits, rustic gowns…

Sabyasachi Mukherjee LFW S/R 2011 Sabyasachi Mukherjee LFW S/R 2011

Sabyasachi juxtaposed unlikely textures, colours, fabrics and embellishments, like gowns with rustic Indian gold-work embroidery, blocking khadi with printed cotton, even saris-cum-skirts! Sabyasachi Mukherjee LFW S/R 2011 Sabyasachi Mukherjee LFW S/R 2011

Sabyasachi used lots of khadi, hand-produced cotton, textured raw silk and even a bit of lace in detailing. Very interesting outcome!

Some of the unusual stuff:

  • Short babydoll dresses with matching underpants!
  • Sack dresses with deep-cut armholes
  • Fabric made into a fan, fixed on the back of a blouse
  • Sabyasachi Mukherjee LFW S/R 2011
  • Black blouses and petticoats with colourful printed saris
  • Sabyasachi Mukherjee LFW S/R 2011

The accessories of choice were statement neckpieces and stacks of bangles (both very trendy).

Sabyasachi Mukherjee LFW S/R 2011

Even thought the show was eccentric, quirky and even a bit kinky, you would have walked out thinking, “I’d like to wear some of this!”

LFW: Anand Kabra to create ‘Mystique’

Fashion designer Anand Kabra will present his latest collection Sleek: The New Mystique this weekend at Lakmé Fashion Week Summer/Resort 2011. Anand will present his interpretation of the previously-defined four hair looks (free spirited, creative, urban cool, sensuous), along with the yet-unseen fifth look— magnetic. The Hyderabad-based designer collaborated with the Lakmé Studio team to create the looks that will be showcased during the show.

Speaking Chic spoke to Anand Kabra about Mystique—the concept and the collection.

Anand Kabra LFW How do you relate to the concept of mystique as a designer?

Mystique is commonly associated with a woman. No matter how much you know of a woman, there is always an element of mystery with her. Interpreting the various facets of a woman was quite a challenge for me.

In your earlier collections, you had fun with colours like reds, yellows and whites. But mystique is usually associated with darker colours like greys and black. How did you combine these drastically different colour palettes?

You’re right—I love playing around with yellows and reds. While Lakmé Studio wanted an Anand Kabra chhap [stamp/ trademark] on this collection, there are strong doses of black in the collection, these colours are also there though in varying proportions. That gives a different interpretation without being too contrived and going off-theme.

How does traditional Indian wear represent mystique?

Indian costumes are yarded—so just the way they are draped or worn is very exciting. The sari palla, the drape, the pleat and the ghunghat create a mystery around the woman wearing it.

What were the challenges you faced in designing this collection?

As a designer, I was collaborating with a team from Lakmé Studio—but I didn’t want the collaboration to be unfair for either of us. My collections are usually about clothing and a manifestation of my vision. But in a partnership, one can’t overshadow the other. We needed to present a lifestyle, rather than just clothes or hair. Usually, I capture just one mood in my garments, but this time I needed to capture five moods. And the five moods couldn’t be jumpy, they needed to be seamless, and work well with each other.

How will your clothes appeal to women around the world while staying focussed on Indian women?

I design for Indian women. Ultimately, we are all talking the same language of fashion—the boundaries have merged. For me, Indian fashion is a wealth of colours and fabrics. It’s ultimately global fashion with a regional (Indian) flavour.

LFW Summer/Resort 2011: Top 5 things we’re excited about

  1. A taste of Japan: Established Japanese designers will showcase their collections at Lakme Fashion Week Summer/Resort 2011. These are Somarta by Tamae Hirokawa, Motonari Ono and Araisara by Sara Arai.LFW S/R 2011
  2. Exciting designer line-up: Some of India’s leading designers (absent last season) will make an appearance. We’re excited about Sabyasachi Mukherjee, Shantanu-Nikhil, Anamika Khanna, Raakesh Agarvwal and Pria Kataria Puri.
  3. Accessories galore!: This season at LFW will see a whopping 15 accessory designers on the ramp. We’re looking forward to Suhani Pittie and Rina Shah of Rinaldi, and would love to get a dose of the other designers’ accessories. (Below: Picture from Suhani Pittie’s LFW Winter/Festive 2010 collection)Suhani Pittie LFW W/F 2010
  4. Watching LFW LIVE!: It’s not possible to go to every show. So in the middle of a working day, fashionistas can just log on to LFWTV.in and get the latest from fashion week!
  5. Great fashion, of course!: Fashion week is about fashion, and that’s what we’re looking forward to. Would love to see some fabulous trends for the summer!

Fashion News: Master of textiles Neeru Kumar to open WIFW

Designer Neeru Kumar WIFWVeteran textile designer Neeru Kumar will open Wills Lifestyle India Fashion Week (WIFW) Autumn/Winter 2011 (begins April 6).

If you haven’t heard of Neeru Kumar, you’re not the only one. Even though she has been in the industry for more than three decades, Neeru has made her mark in the world of textiles. She works with traditional Indian crafts such as kantha, khadi and ikat, creating weaves that are suited to contemporary sensibilities and can be made into wearable garments.

Her versatile fabrics are made into saris, Wills Lifestyle India Fashion Weekscarves, shawls and even home furnishing products. Neeru is known for experimenting with weaves, and her products are sold throughout the world under her eponymous label.

No designer profile is complete with some name-dropping, so we might as well tell you that Neeru Kumar’s client list includes Sonia Gandhi, Shabana Azmi and Arundhati Roy.

There aren’t too many fashion designers in India who go beyond mere lip service to India’s crafts and textile traditions. And that’s exactly why we’re looking forward to Neeru Kumar’s show early next month!

Fashion Weeks in India: The battle heats up!

It’s Lakme Fashion Week (LFW) vs Wills Lifestyle India Fashion Week (WIFW) all over again. The two “rival” fashion weeks have been fighting it out for supremacy since several seasons now, but this season has been kind of amusing for us.

Consider this: LFW was scheduled to hold a press conference last week to announce their designer list for Lakme Fashion Week Summer Resort 2011 (starts March 11). And lo, WIFW announced their designers on the same day (even though their event kicks off April 6). Cheeky!

Designer Overlap

As I scrolled through the LFW designer list, my heart skipped a beat as I spotted Sabyasachi Mukherjee. He had just been announced as the finale designer for WIFW!

It’s not uncommon for designers to present their collections at both these fashion weeks (examples from last season: Anupama Dayal, Anita Dongre, Manish Arora), but the finale designer of one fashion week also participating in another seems kinda strange to me.

image001 LFW aircel event logo

What People Say

I met an Austrian guy from the textile industry the other day. He visits India often, and is quite tuned into the fashion/ textiles/ art scene here. He reported to me what he had heard about the Delhi (WIFW) and Mumbai (LFW) fashion weeks: “Buyers tell me that the Mumbai fashion week has better quality, while there are more sales happening at Delhi fashion week.” While we can’t confirm this (yet), it could be true.

Digital Divide

Also, point to note: LFW is going all out to reach as many fashion lovers as possible. After tying up with Style Kandy last year for live webcasts, this season all shows will be streamed live on the official LFW website. On the other hand: WIFW doesn’t even have a dedicated website (it runs on the FDCI website).

Now what?

Meanwhile, both fashion weeks this season have a formidable line-up of designers. Other than the obvious question (who will win the Fashion Weeks Battle?), we are wondering: how different will Sabysachi’s two collections be? Will he recycle looks and outfits, or will he have a more spectacular show in Delhi than in Mumbai?

Fashion News: Japanese designers at upcoming LFW

Eight Japanese fashion designers will showcase their collections at the upcoming Lakme Fashion Week Summer/Resort 2011 (to begin March 11). The designers/ labels include Somarta by designer Tamae Hirokawa; Motonari Ono, and Araisara by designer Sara Arai.

(Below: Japanese fashion designer Tamae Hirokawa of Somarta)

Japanese designer Tamae Hirokawa of Somarta

This is the result of a cross-cultural exchange initiative, Tokyoeye, between Lakme Fashion Week (LFW) and Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI), Japan. The government-aided project aims to create enterprising relationships and provides access to international collections to buyers from India and all over the world.

What we’re looking forward to:

Sara Arai’s “araisara”; inspired by culture, scenery, natural surroundings, and spirit of the Orient. Take a look at her Spring/Summer 2011 collection:

Designer Tamae Hirokawa of Somarta is already famous for her ‘skin series’, which was based on the concept of ‘the possibilities of apparel for a body’ (aka really cool and chic body suits). Here’s her latest collection from Japan Fashion Week:

And why we’re excited:

  • Japan is known for its cutting-edge technology and fashion, and we’d love to see that rub off on Indian designers.
  • Collaborations are usually good news. This season Japanese designers, tomorrow …? Fingers crossed. 🙂

Fashion News: 7 new models for upcoming Lakmé Fashion Week

Lakmé Fashion Week Summer/Resort 2011 is coming up in March 2011, and the action is already heating up.

An jury of fashion experts yesterday selected seven aspiring models for Lakmé Fashion Week Summer/ Resort 2011. The new models are Angela Jonsson, Bryndis Helgadottir, Keylie Bodeker, Lekha Anatharaman, Rikee Chatterjee, Reha Sukheja and Sophia Dgneid. Here they are:

Ta da!

Lakme Fashion Week models

From left to right: Reha Sukheja, Bryndis Helgadottir, Sophia Dgneid, Lekha Anantharaman, Angela Jonsson, Rikee Chaterjee, Keylie Bodeker.

Some interesting things we noted:

  • Almost 120 models turned up to audition, a whopping increase of more than 80% since the last season of LFW. Good to know interest is increasing, but quantity doesn’t always mean quality. Fingers crossed on this one.
  • Foreign models are coming to India in hordes! While the dusky beauties still dominate, are growing foreign imports a sign of things to come? Hmmm… hopefully the Balance of Fashion Payments remains tilted in India’s favour, eh?

FYI, the model selection jury comprised well-known designers Nachiket Barve and Rocky S; fashion show directors Marc Robinson and Lubna Adams; photographer Jatin Kampani, Vogue India editor Priya Tanna, along with Anil Chopra (CEO – Lakmé Lever), and Sujal Shah (Vice-President & Head of Fashion for IMG India).

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Just in: Fantastic foursome at LFW

Fashion News: Lakme Fashion Week Summer/Resort 2011 designers announced

Fashion News: Lakme Fashion Week Summer/Resort 2011 designers announced

Lakme Fashion Week Summer/Resort 2011’s advisory board recently announced Gen Next, Emerging, and Accessory Show Designers for the upcoming LFW Summer/Resort 2011.

Here’s the complete list:

Gen Next Designers:

  • Anna Liza Ganguly &  Anita Walia
  • Deepti Purthi
  • Manas Dash
  • Miriam Strehlau
  • Shivaji Dutta
  • Timsy Kamboj

Emerging Designers:

  • Abhishek Byas
  • Jelin George
  • Pamela Phlaphongphant  & Archana Banchongrati
  • Sabah Khan
  • Sabbah Sharma
  • Vaishali Shadangule
  • Atithi Gupta

Below: An outfit from Jelin George’s Lakme Fashion Week Winter/ Festive 2010 collection.

    Jelin George LFW 2010

Accessory Designers:

  • Eina Ahluwalia
  • Malini Agarwalla
  • Prabhat Kumar
  • Rachana Reddy
  • Rina Shah
  • Rohan Arora
  • Suhani Pittie

Below (from left to right): Picks from the Lakme Fashion Week Winter/ Festive 2010 collection of (Row 1) Eina Ahluwalia and Malini Agarwalla; Row 2: Rohan Arora and Suhani Pittie.

Eina Ahluwalia LFW 2010 Malini Agarwalla LFW 2010 Rohan Arora shoes LFW 2010 Suhani Pittie jewellery LFW 2010

More LFW News

This season renowned stylist and designer Aki Narula will mentor and guide the Gen Next applicants. I say they’re a lucky bunch!

Also, veteran designer Rohit Bal is now a member of the LFW Advisory Board.

Which designer are you looking forward to this season?

Indian designer duo Walnut to be part of Japan Fashion Week

Designer label ‘Walnut’ by Divya and Nidhi Gambhir has been selected to showcase their designs at the next Japan Fashion Week.

The designer duo will showcase their collection at the Asian Designers Collection in Tokyo in March 2011. ‘Walnut’ by Divya and Nidhi Gambhir was selected by the Asian Designers’ Collection Committee from a shortlist of five designers. The other shortlisted designers were Akaaro by Gaurav Jai Gupta, 5X by Ajit Kumar, Neelanjan Ghosh and 11:11 Cell DSGN.

Here are some glimpses Walnut by Divya and Nidhi Gambhir’s show at the recent Wills Lifestyle India Fashion Week (WLIFW).

Walnut by Divya & Nidhi Gambhir Walnut by Divya & Nidhi Gambhir

The jury, comprising representatives from the Onward Kashiyama Co Ltd and New Designer Fashion Grand Prix Committee, announced their decision after they visited India mid-December for one-to-one meetings with the shortlisted designers.

“Japan is a comparatively new and growing market where Indians are making headway,” according to Sunil Sethi, President, Fashion Design Council of India (FDCI). The visibility and exposure this event brings to Divya and Nidhi Gambhir, and to the Indian fashion scene should have hopefully positive results.