2009 April 1

Farewell From Lakme

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Wendell Rodricks Fall 2009 Collection Wendell Rodricks Fall 2009 Collection
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(MUMBAI) The next-to-last day of Lakme Fashion Week started with a jolt, and all the editors or guests who partied too late the night before missed seeing something very promising--exciting and talented emerging designers. First up was Anand Bhushan, who called his collection “Swamp”…and invited all to “walk into the swamp this winter, succumb to its creeks, dumps, tanneries and lonely sludge ponds, ripe and alive with their own flora and fauna.” These clothes were anything but a swamp. His tweeds and wools were, however, embroidered with beautiful leaves and fronds and had the added surprise of a large luxurious cable stitched mohair collar.

MYOHO by Kiran and Megna paraded studious models carrying school books and wearing glasses…a nod, perhaps, to Sabyasachi? Not a bad choice to be inspired by.  The dresses flare out with beautiful borders and a rich color palette of golds, browns and greens with great prints and classical styling. A lovely lotus-blossom printed and embroidered border and neckline with rust-colored scarf pulled the look together.

A very chic and promising collection was presented by Neha Agarwal. Chiffons, great prints and layers, and open coats over sheer Indian pants in other prints were all layered softly and loosely. A green coatdress with tulip patterns embroidered halfway down and layered over print leggings, and a stick figure print dress with beaded pockets and more sheer leggings were strong looks.

Manish Gupta created a special collection for Indian retailer Westside using his same silhouettes, and tightly controlled rosettes, nubs and details…these dresses are a sure hit- especially the short black dress with contrasting white embroidered, embellished snowflake designed details. Also for Westside, popular Goan designer Wendell Rodricks. India’s minimalist had fun with a Boogie-Woogie inspiration courtesy of Piet Mondrian. The bright blue, red, yellow, green, and black bordered saris made a very artful statement.

A complete surprise was a collection by Shamayal & Bhumika for Creo. Creative large abstract florals and prints, some embellished with jet back beads and sequins made for a very beautiful caftan, and sexy oversize top for a skinny pair of black leggings.

The strongest show of the day, however, was shared by two talented designers…Nachiket Barve and Nikasha Tawadey. Nachiket has continued to evolve and explore and hone his craft…of beautiful silk or chiffon dresses and coats, in a rainbow of brights, and in graphic treatments of appliquéd stripes, and embroideries, that were never too heavy. The dresses or coats would look as great on the Upper East Side as they would anywhere in the world that women want to look chic and stand out, without screaming -color!Nikasha continued in a very limited but beautiful palette of crème, off-white and beige, punched up with gold embroidered trim, or bright oranges and reds.  Inspired by the Goddess Tara, who discovered love and pureness,  her spirit was interpreted into a feminine, romantic, and luxurious collection, that everyone was cheering…and wanted to wear. She topped many of the caftans, pleated georgette dhoti pants, blouses and dupattas, and saris, with long playful scarves edged with tassels of subtle smiling faces…

Lakme Fashion Week’s last day started and ended with two spectacular shows.  The first heralded the launch of a new line we will surely be seeing much more of. WALNUT by sisters Nidhi and Divya Gambhir was a remarkable runway debut. It was one of those “a-ha” moments that can make an entire Fashion Week worthwhile. Beautifully constructed with great fit, their “Silver Lining” collection offered some simple yet beautiful, wearable, elegant dresses and coats that can and should be sold and worn in every major fashionable city-from Mumbai to Milan to Manhattan. They started with solid blacks, whites and grays, with digital prints in trapeze shapes in raw silk “signifying the mighty recession wants to eat us all.” Their intricate geometrical patterns alluded to “the confusion of the harrowed investors” and finally, the last group of bright, happy colors dresses with precise draping and pleating “communicated brighter, newer beginnings.” I can’t wait to see their next collection.

Kallol Datta’s VERBAL AUTOPSY  collection is designed for “people who appreciate intelligent clothing,” according to Kallol  While his dresses are loose, comfortable and float over the body, make no mistake--these are each very carefully constructed with an “exaggerated hour glass figure.” Murky greens, dull grays, and muddy blues, in various tie-dyes, and other interesting tie-dye techniques, became dresses, jackets of many lengths, shirts, long dresses, aprons and soft Indian pants underneath …and somehow all came together to form a very wearable and commercial collection.

Rishta by Arjun is another collection which continues to surprise and evolve. With great tailoring, Arjun sent out powerful clothes for both men and women. Much in black--and in fact, too many designers in India are going black--but in spite of that, the big zippers, shapes and many details came off as wearable and there was a beautiful plum/purple high necked jacket!

Rahul Mishra who honed his skills and design sensibility studying in Milan, created the fashion cure for the recession. His exquisitely fitted dresses and coats- most of which do not even have one seam, were a light as air and yet completely reversible—two entire looks can be had for the price of one. He offered hand made geometric motifs, painstakingly created, along with woven florals and polka dots. His color palette was mostly black and white on one side with shades of maroon, red, pink, metallic red, grey and bronze on the reverse. Rahul is clearly a designer one enjoys watching as he continues to refine his style and his craft—which, in a few short years, has clearly become a defining signature entirely his own.

The Lakme Grand Finale show, which closed a very successful week of fashion in Mumbai, began with the sound of temple bells ringing and beckoning everyone into the venue…which had been entirely re-designed with subtly draped white walls, branches, and red Christmas bells hanging throughout the space. The borders of the runway were lined with traditional bowls of rice-- the perfect setting for Anamika Khanna’s Bridal Sutra fashion show. Hailing from Kolkatta, Anamika knows how to design and weave  intricate and beautiful textiles. Matte gold and vermillion were the chosen accent colors on white textured blouses, and Kasav borders. Many saris (it was, after all, a Bridal show as well) were worn over high black churidar pants,  Skirts with luscious gold prints, and red velvet stripes were opulent yet at the same time understated. The silhouettes were easy and elegant, often draped with a single knot.
The show was a fitting finale to an amazing week of fashion shows, great parties hosted by the designers, LFW sponsors, and The Grand Hyatt Hotel (which was a spectacular venue for the week, with great food, hospitality, service and space) along with Ravi and Bandana Krishnan--to welcome Naomi Campbell to Mumbai, and another party to celebrate after the “Mai Mumbai” Fashion for Relief Fashion Show presented by Vikram Chatwal Hotels. A Who’s Who of Mumbai and Bollywood attended all of the events and shows….and a grand time was had by all. Now, everyone needs to go shopping! Get on eBay, as there is still a week left to bid on some of the most gorgeous Indian, European and American designer gowns, and while doing so you will also be helping Mumbai recover and take care of it’s citizens, who are some of the nicest people on earth!


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