LIFW felt the presence of Kolkata designers on the sixth day of the event. Monapali, Swapan and Seema, Lalit and Sunita Jalan, and Sabyasachi Mukherjee presented collections with the Kolkata stamp. Most of them used traditional fabrics, fine zardozi, beaded embroidery and Indian colours to create a myriad of silhouettes. Swapan and Seema presented a range of fusion occasion-wear clothing and sarees. Colours were muted and the embroidery fine. Double dupattas were used to add that extra touch of glamour. Sayasachi Mukherjee's collection not only put him centre-stage on the fashion map, but also made a style statement which could put him on the ramps of Paris and New York. He presented a truly spectacular collection of Western outfits, fusion wear and sarees which used Indian fabrics, Indian embroidery, Indian silhouettes, Indian patterns — and yet had a global look. An intellectually whimsical collection, it was styled with turbans, optical glasses, kitsch bags and nose-rings. The fringed belts were refreshingly absent. A must-have collection of clothes for all our ambassadors of Indian fashion on their overseas sojourns.
If FDCI wants to give an award to the most creative upcoming designer, it should go to none other than Sabyasachi Mukherjee. The royal lineage showed through Raghuvendra Rathore's collection. Sherwanis, bandhgalas, brocades, patches, and silver and pearl matha-pattis dominated the look. Clean lines and impeccable quality endorsed his trademark style. Lalit and Sunita Jalan showed a menswear collection and Neeta Bhargava, semi-formal womenswear. Both collections were surprising by their very presence at LIFW. Payal Jain's chikankari collection of skirts, pants, tops in pretty pastels and brights, presented a wearable and practical range of clothing. The attempt at the black evening collection was dated — an element which could have been avoided completely. On the whole, it did not evoke any sentiments. On the second day of LIFW, I felt the collections had gone from pret to bridal.
Ritu Kumar, Anju Modi, Monapali, Seema and Swapan, Lalit and Sunita Jalan presented collections which were more occasion-wear than pret and diffusion. Somewhere along the line, one got the feeling that the objectives had got mixed up. It is unfair to make a Selfridges buyer sit through an Indian bridal collection or a RCKC buyer sit through a London street-wear collection. The pressure of work and paucity of time make it difficult for overseas and outstation buyers to take out a whole week from their schedule for the Week. It might be advisable to divide the Fashion Week into two sections, with each section targeting specific buyers — one to Indian/fusion clothing and the other to international clothing buyers. It might not be an easy task as most designers like to show that they are adept at both and, so, are not discerning enough. The FDCI needs to educate them and, thereby, make the outcome more focused, meaningful and business-worthy. With inputs from Nitasha Gaurav and Anjali Kalia (Harmeet Bajaj is chairperson, fashion communication, NIFT).
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