All good things come to an end was the general feeling around the culmination of one of the most exhilarating fashion weeks seen in a long, long time. Ranging from celebrity sightings to designer trends to the general attendees desire to come notably dressed all was there from March 2nd to 6th at the Grand Hyatt at Santacruz, Mumbai, India this Lakme Fashion Week.
Other than the actuality that many designers choose to overlook the Summer Resort Theme of the fashion week, there were many that brought in new interpretations to an already tried and tested formula of swimwear and summer attire. Also seen in large numbers were designers with collections dedicated to Indian wear, which featured above all the saree in its ubiquitous form.
From the audience's point of view, it was a throwaway from what they had come to expect of a Summer/Resort collection that being swimwear, Kaftans, Loungewear, etc. Though a few designers came through with expectations one of them being Siddartha Tytler who focused on Summer Resort Wear, that being one of his strong points, others were dedicated to their in-house theme of bridal and Indian wear.
The themes varied massively, which is always great to see that was if and when the concept fit with the overall presentation from laid back and sensual to craft based inspirations, this week had it all knocked down to absolutely dedicated themes within a wide-ranging universe of metaphors. But quite frankly this is what we found stood out:
Rohit Bal's collection had Lakme for the first time hosted the Grand Finale at the lawns of the Grand Hyatt. Pristine ivory pillars served as a backdrop for stunning models that walked down the ramp. Five carved white cones lined the ramp while numerous hung from the branches of the trees surrounding the lawns. The collection called "Kaarigar" featured the classic cuts and intricate designs that represent the modern Indian woman who stands true to her roots yet lives an international lifestyle and looks glamorous every day.
Narendra Kumar had the song "Moves Like Jagger" a hit around the globe, as a setup for his collection, which too journeyed through different countries in Asia, Europe, America and Africa with the silhouettes that moved from western modern to contemporary. The influence of the five continents was seen in the stylish garments as they appeared in quick succession on the runway.
Payal Singhal's Indian Summer Night Dream Resort Bridal 2012 line was a sensuous and beauteous dream to behold on the ramp with Shakespeare's A Midsummer Nights Dream as her inspiration.
Swapnil Shinde's collection titled "Untitled" with his list of inspirations ranged from tribal, raw, dramatic, spiritual, futuristic and dark celebratory angles that recreated the sci-fi movies and music of the 80s. So the look that Swapnil presented on the runway was unconventional with an edgy feel. The collection emerged with two contrasting visuals - tribal to jungle, and robotic to futuristic with a hint of the 1980's Madonna eroticism.
Inspired by the insects of the world, Rimi Nayak's quaintly titled collection Insect in My Closet was a fashionable stylish study of construction at the fashion week.
Inspired by the distant future, the greed of mankind and the humanity of nature, Abhishek Dutta presented a collection titled "Epidemic" at Lakme Fashion Week Summer/Resort 2012 for men and women. The name, however, had nothing to do with unpleasant things but a profusion of happiness, coexistence and understanding for mankind.
Anita Dongre's "Waves of Joy" collection presented by Design HQ from Godrej Interio blended creatively the organic fair trade cotton with Boho Luxe; It was a delicious recipe which had the flavours of Benares silk and cotton and brocade weaves, blended with the tie and dye of Rajasthan, the hand painted silks of Jaipur, the ikats of Andhra Pradesh and the Chikankari of Lucknow.
Celebrating a decade in the business of fashion, the very creative, Siddartha Tytler presented various elements that are his distinct signature style statements over the years in his collection called "My Journey".
From the studios of Bhairavi Jaikishan came a collection that will delight the traditional Indian woman and was aptly called "The Sensuous Woman".
All the brouhaha aside it all invariably comes down to the design or the lack of it to what gets clothes each designers collection noticed. Proven by designer Sabyasachi Mukherji one of the most sought after designers at the source at LIFW though an absentee at the show shocked onlookers by the absence of garments even at his stall after Day 1 reason being its "sold out" status. Coming to the collections themselves there was a lot of detailing in terms of embroidery, zari work, intricate weaves, applique and the like.
Not the one's to keep lagging behind the jewellery designers had an opulent show with exquisite craftsmanship which stunned the audience into a spellbound splendour. Eina Ahluwalia titled her collection "Forgotten Jewel" and a jewel egg opened the show and the majestic necklace was the startling entry as it dazzled in the brilliance of the lights. Here was creative jewellery from the studios of Eina Ahluwalia that could be desired by every woman and will turn into heirlooms.
Inspired by the Zulu kingdom KwaZulu Natal of South Africa, Malini Agarwalla's "KwaZulu" collection had all the vibrant colour, beauty and style of the country. The exotic bags with geometric embroidery and beadwork so typical of the African region also came alive on handbags along with coordinated accessories like jewellery.
All in all a melange of the some of best designers we had this Lakme Fashion Week will see us forearmed to the coming months of the summer attired in our unsurpassed fashionable glory.
With appealing flattering creations to languorous flowing and over the top, silhouettes had no one stopping them from flowing through the experienced and nimble hands of the designer. Silhouettes featured close cut corsetry moulded to the figure a blast from the past 50's to futuristic clean-cut expression and flowing eccentric drapery.
Rohit Bal had amazing designs with cord and cutwork revealed a line of long floor hugging full flared creations with stunning embroidery and overlapping applique'd circles. But if detailing had a say it would be Rohit Bala's grand finale collection that it would have spoken for. It was a line of clothing that defied imagination; since its craftsmanship was so unbelievable they appeared to descend straight from heaven. Amazing designs with cord and cutwork revealed a line of long floor hugging full flared creations with stunning embroidery and overlapping applique'd circles. The motifs ranged from swirling birds to peacocks and geometric designs; while the knitted and woven creations came seamlessly together some with thread manipulation to form a full garment.
Siddarta Tytler bringing in his trade mark in silhouettes, had kaftans, deconstructed dresses, and gowns, sharply cut jackets, trousers, as well as the "fit n flare" look of heavy corsetry. Siddartha showed detail in gleaming corsets with side peplums, jumpsuits in satin with drop shoulders, zippered mutton chop sleeves creation and a bat sleeve mini. The dolman sleeve sheath, the gold Lurex kaftan, flouncy flared mini with embroidered bodice and the will-power brocade sheath were ideal to display this detailing.
Rocky S had body hugging silhouettes and plunging necklines, with the slashed skirts and the distressed stockings all-adding to the look of the collection. Landing a title "the all-western line" of creations in varying lengths encrusted with crystals and sequins. To further dazzle the audience, there were sequin sheetings, shell buttons, mono coloured resham with intense ghera work, crystal and pearls.
Anita Dongre's silhouettes were very 1950s, as stiff flouncy canvas petticoats rustled under the full circle skirts of the dresses, with provocative necklines and sensually cinched at the waist. Working with the crafts that Anita is so renowned for, the designer had beautiful Chikankari and Gotta Patti embroidery intricately used to highlight the salient points of the garments.
Abhishek Dutta's silhouettes had touches of the futuristic style having a body moulded look as well as glow in the dark print appliques, interesting cutwork embroidery and fabric manipulation.
Swapnil Shinde made his silhouettes bold and imaginative with pants, jumpsuits, shorts, skirts and leggings topped with reptilian jackets, shirts, draped tops, corsets, minis and slinky gowns. With layering and texturing as his focal points, Swapnil added sharp tailoring touches and moulded body construction to highlight his concept.
Neha Agarwal had garments that had an edgy fun look with casual silhouettes that were created in satin, silk, chiffon and fine mulmul for the very languorous garments.
Bhairavi Jaikishan presented dainty cholis, some with draped bodices while the two very splendid gold corsets worn over the sari pallav opened the show. Ornate silver cummerbunds were added to slim waistlines or hips and long tantalising tassels edged a red sheer net dupatta with a rich brocade lehenga. The details were presented with myriad permutations and combinations in colours and embellishments using resham, sequins, crystals, gold and silver Zari. The predominant fabric was net while the motif was floral with roses appearing as appliques, 3D embroidery on broad borders, splashed all over the garments or in pretty bouquets with artistic swirls accompanying the designs.
Rimi Nayak brought in the contrasts of the insects body onto the garments cleverly creating fluidity and structure in an interesting manner. The insect themed collection embroidery reflected the tactile tentacles of ants, while block and digital printing techniques brought the inspiration to life on the creations.
Archana Kochhar blended Indian silhouettes with a contemporary touch as diaphanous kurtas and kameezes in lightweight fabrics swirled down the ramp. Making embellishments come alive in multi hues with the Devangari script cleverly turned into embroidered boleros and the Kathputlis for Latkans or tassels edged the hems; while at other times were intricately bunched together on shoulders, yokes and bodice of the garments.
Vikram Phadnis keeping true to his concept of a fusion Indo-Western line had a variety of silhouettes that ranged from cigarette pants, palazzos, skirts to kalidaars worn with interestingly styled bundis or at times structured jackets and capes. Saris were edged with broad gold borders, while lace was luxuriously used to make it a feminine offering on the hemlines, cuffs, bodices and even the lehengas and kurtas.
Known for her prints Masaba's inspiration was very vintage in nature this season with the cow and camera prints in black and white or red and white with golden Taar embroidery that highlighted the soft colours.
The wide play of colours was visible in the new range of colourful cosmetics by the brand behind it all Lakme, as well as a variety of designers who took it upon themselves to showcase their craftsmanship around it. Ace designer Rohit Bal who based the theme of his Grand Finale collection around the stunning array of Lakme's new Absolute Fast and Fabulous collection of fashion forward nail colours. Colours paint a vivid picture in our mind's eye and it is in fact one of the first influences on our judgement regarding any significant change. Influencing the designers this time were some very varied synopsis of colours.
The general palette ranged from eye popping brights to pastels and majestic powdered colour combinations with a composition of; greens, mint green to teal to vivid emerald green. Hues of red, yellow and orange, bright flashes of pink. Neutral nudes, such as ivory and off-white and finally deep blacks and navy to underline evening wear and create an edge of mystery. All topped off with metalics of gold, copper and silver to an extra touch of majestic.
Siddarta Tytler's colours remained true to style and season, with teal, berry, orange; aubergine and black interspersed with bits of mushroom, gold, copper and silver. Colour also came in the form of multi hues for body hugging creations corsets and resort covers with raffia embroidery.
Rimi Nayak had colour palette wide and varied with green, pink, blue, heightened by glistening black and gold.
Swapnil Shinde with his daring style statements, had warrior kilted models striding down the catwalk in black, nude and ivory.
Neha Agarwal had the colour chart vibrant with soft nude, black and off white setting the pace as candy pink, blue grey, splashes of orange, brought the creations to life.
Payal Singhal had to add to the dazzle and glamour of the bridal wear, and hence the colour choice was apt as blush, mint, indigo, purple, sand, emerald and turmeric.
Rocky S to match the mood of the Red Carpet collection, chose ivory, dark mystic black, dull grey and nude for the very stylish show stopping creations.
Bhairavi Jaikishan using a rainbow of colours, had a stunning bridal collection, starting with ivory, pale pink, peach, blue, lemon, yellow and then moving on to stronger shades like fuchsia, turquoise, orange, tangerine, rani pink, mango and finally red.
Anita Dongre matched the mood of the garments with the colour palette pastel and the ever popular black and white along with gold brocades to give the creations a striking look. Candy pink, lime, sea green, aqua and peach played a medley with muted grey and yellow.
Abhishek Dutta with his colour palette starting with mystic white, painted a feeling of joy and optimism with sunshine yellow, added marvellous magenta for love, luminous blue for truth, violet for wisdom, green for youth and fertility and harmonious blue for peace, and turned them into lean shapes with semi drapes.
Archana Kochhars colour story was magical with neon hues of electric blue, fuchsia, lime, yellow, beige, white and black that made the garments dazzle on the catwalk.
Vikram Phadnis choose a melange of colours, mostly opted for neutral creams, glitzy gold and deep black with just a touch of prints to add drama.
Rohit Bal starting with ivory, moved to darker shades of beige and brown and then on to muted hues like maroon, wine, cobalt, red, purple and showered the long luxurious coats, capes, kalidaar kurtas, shrugs and gowns with crystal, resham and zari embroidery.
This topic always makes an interesting conversation piece at fashion weeks and this time it was no less. Though most designers kept the drama and fuss to a minimal a few like Narendra Kumar used them as talking points.
Narendra Kumar a showman in true form was the DJ of his show in a Mick Jagger wig, which was also the hairstyle for all the male models.
Rocky S with his very gothic collection had the models with wildly flowing dishevelled hair defiantly striding down the ramp.
Vikram Phadnis in his fusion collection designed the most unconventional hairdos with white bangles or stripes of lace to add grandeur to the creations.
Rohit Bal left the hair in the background and gave the face a classic edge with white ornamental designs covering the forehead to the cheek of the female models.
Music for the shows went from peppy popular tracks to Sensual French compositions; driving the zest into the people to keep eyes glued and foot tapping to provide the link between designer and his audience, from a groovy "Moves like Mike Jagger" to a soulful Adele.
Rohit Bal's grand finale opened with Silver Strings - a spirited trio of beautiful ladies, who enthralled the audience with their soft touch on the violins. As the lights came on, the five cones rose to reveal statuesque models in diaphanous creations, while the melodious music of the live orchestra above the stage provided haunting melodies during the show.