the bakery

Monday, September 17, 2007

the week that was

I'm becoming such a pro at procrastination. India just had the first of its two, (yes we have two) spring/summer 08 fashion weeks. Wills Lifestyle India fashion week (Delhi) celebrated it's tenth year, while Lakme fashion week (Mumbai) to be held sometime in October is a more recent development.
For years, Indian fashion fraternity have been doing what they are best at. Indian embroideries, lots of embellishment, sequins and largely ethnic attire consisting of the salwar kurtas, churidars, sarees, ghagras, etc. But slowly the western ideas, silhouette and ways of living have filtered in. Thus, designers are now are trying to amalgamate the rich history of Indian culture and the easy urbane styles of the west. Not very convincingly yet, but then I cannot imagine it is easy. India has often provided inspiration to the west, but still a long way before it is reckoned as one of THE fashion capitals. For one, very few Indian designers have a trademark by which they can be identified season after season and because of which it is difficult to create a loyal fanbase. Second the styling and accessories tend to be lacklustre or blatantly "inspired". But I'm sure given some more exposure we will get there soon.
Just to throw some more light on what Indian designers are doing, I picked nine designers worth a dekko.
Varun Sardana
I think it's his first time at fashion week, but he shows remarkable promise. His collection called 'The Grammar of Seeing' was inspired by the philosophy of Austrian painter & architect Hundertwassen. Embellishment designed to create organised chaos and graphic representation.

Aparna & Norden Wangdi
Primary coloured and stark. Pouchy paperbag like silhouette. Infused with childishness, with literal inspiration from ragdolls. Upbeat ethnic texture.

Varun Bahl
Largely, a metallic dusky colour palette (a huge trend) and fabrics like linen, muslin, crepe and mesh. Overall "pretty futuristic" and clearly spelling SPRING.

Namrata Joshipura
Her show was slightly predictably sweet. Clean lines and spotty sequined prints. Elements of retro pop. And I will not pretend to ignore the last seasons' Versace and 3.1Philip Lim-like shoes.

Rajesh Pratap Singh
He is always quietly creative and this time was no different. Muted grey with subtle underlinings of red, lime green, yellow. Sheen on fabrics, techno edged and the rare androgyny.

Gauri & Nainika
I wouldn't be surprised if Carolina Herrera was on the list of favourites of these two sisters. Sharp lines and Mondrian inspired prints but moulded into feminine curves. High maintenance petticoats and layers of tulle make them obviously occassion wear.

Tarun Tahiliani
One of the stalwarts of the Indian fashion, Tarun Tahiliani loves his drapes and adds the opulent touch to all his creations. This is time it is Kutch to Kenya with tribal influences of both places, models marching like brave warrior princessess. Lots of ivory, beige, peachy skin, jersey lycra and washed linens.

Shantanu & Nikhil
Banares provided inspiration to this duo if form of the rich fabric and the sacred thread tied on the wrist. Generous dollops of all kinds of yellow. But compared to their last season's collection this was a bit of a letdown. I hope they spring back soon.

Rohit Bal
His show got the coveted finale spot. His inspiration was the city of Constantinople and the Byzantine. Again ivory tones that progressed into litmus blue, citrus green, brown and black.Origami folds and huge frothy tulle shapes. Indulgent and over the top, but he missed expermenting with the men's silhouette. Also the occassional appearance of superwoman costumes which I'm still trying to figure out why.

Overall I'm quite disappointed with this season's collections. Last season had more sign of creative brillance. A lot of my other favourties did not show. And apparently business was poor because of the close proximity of the New York fashion week. Maybe Lakme Fashion week has some goodies in store.


editor said...

i am drooling!!!!!!!!

dreamecho said...

i was not terribly impressed by the rohit bal's finale (over the top with no specific direction) and shantanu & nikhil's plainness, but overall, i was - like editor - drooling! i was especially drawn to varun sardana's sparkles, aparna & norden wangdi's shapes & well as varun bahl and gauri & nainika. thank you so much for doing this post! i had no idea fashion in india was so yummy. where are these photos from?

indi said...

i completely agree with you on rohit bal and shantanu n nikhil. my personal favourite was varun sardana and he apparently worked under varun can go to the site below for more pictures and designers

dreamecho said...

thanks for the link! interesting that detail about the two varuns. of all the shows, those two resemble each other the most.