Text size:

  • Small
  • Normal
  • Large
Bollywood actress Hema Malini, right, and her daughter Esha Deol display creations by designers Shyamal and Bhumika.
Bollywood actress Hema Malini, right, and her daughter Esha Deol display creations by designers Shyamal and Bhumika.

Glitz, glamour and tradition at Lakme Fashion Week in Mumbai

A review and picture gallery of India's most prominent fashion designers showcasing their collections in Mumbai.

Lakme Fashion Week Winter Festive 2011 opened in Mumbai on Tuesday with fanfare one can only expect from the capital of Bollywood. The action took place at the Grand Hyatt Hotel, where India's most prominent designers showcased their latest collections alongside emerging designers hoping to capture the attention of international press and buyers.

"This year we've seen designers becoming more creative, especially the younger ones who are more avant garde," says Vinod Nair, the fashion editor at the Hindustan Times. "Meanwhile, established Indian designers have stayed true to their own style and DNA while showcasing India's heritage and craftsmanship."

With wedding season just around the corner, India's renowned couturiers took the opportunity to showcase exquisitely embroidered bridalwear with a modern twist. The Delhi-based designer Rohit Bal kicked off the week with a show that saw the Bollywood actor Arjun Rampal take to the catwalks. The collection, titled Shanti, which means "peace", was serenely beautiful with ivory and gold floor-length ensembles featuring gold corsets and voluminous skirts with appliqué borders. A Spanish influence could be seen in the netted gown decorated with beaded fringing on the shoulders, while colourful floral embroideries appeared on Bal's signature velvet floor-length coats in rich shades of plum and burgundy.

After launching a coffee-table book on photography earlier this year, it came as no surprise that JJ Valaya referenced the subject for his latest collection. Paying homage to the ever-changing colours of the still image, it was all about drama and grandeur as seen in the long gowns with embroidered boleros or bodices and digitally printed saris embellished with crystals. The show closed with a series of colourful lehengas (long skirts) paired with the designer's signature evening jackets in silk, brocade and lamé.

Also creating a regal look was Anita Dongre with a Rajasthan-inspired collection of red, rust and cobalt saris and salwar kameezes featuring handiwork indigenous to the area, including ikat and traditional metallic patterns. Rina Dhaka may have shown traditional tops, skirts and churidars but her interpretation was purely modern, as seen in the off-the-shoulder tops and sari blouses featuring cobweb cutouts. Fabrics such as tulle, lace and Lycra came in a soft palette of ivory, plum, pink and lilac and were embellished with vintage tonal embroideries.

Sabyasachi Mukerjee is probably the most relevant designer working in India today, with a vision that transcends cultures. His show featured ethnic shapes accented with Kashmiri thread work and silver floral embroideries that were stunning in their simplicity. Saris came in a combination of velvet and net and were worn with conservative blouses covered in heavy embroideries resembling jewellery. It was the perfect balance of East and West.

Fusion wear was another popular trend at shows by Vijay Balhara and Archana Kochhar. Balhara referenced European vintage with a breezy collection that included long silhouettes comprising pleated, floor-length dresses, smocks and empire-waist tunics made from natural and fluid fabrics. Kochhar, meanwhile, expertly draped sheer silk and organza into shirt dresses, tunics and jumpsuits, decorated with digital prints featuring Indian calligraphy.

While the old guard proposed traditional clothing, the new generation looked to the West to create modern, contemporary designs. Raman Vij sent out fierce knitwear inspired by Japanese samurai and ninjas. Structured dresses came with layered shoulders and ruffled tiers in muted colours of grey, military green, ivory and brown. Another highlight was the DHL-sponsored Swapnil Shinde's "Speed of Sound" collection, which was sleek and futuristic. He used folds, pleats and rolls made from clear plastic to cover structured body hugging dresses and skirts for a Blade Runner look with a touch of femininity.

Show-stopping red-carpet gowns also got the attention of the social set. High glamour was provided by Jatin Vama in the Paparazzi collection. Sexy and slinky floor-length gowns came with plenty of bling, or in loose flowing shapes with digital animal prints for a contemporary look. Taking a more feminine approach were the Vizyon designers Shraddha Murarka and Nino Palisse, who featured chic, silk cocktail gowns in gold and jewel tones with layers of geometric cut-outs.

Men were not forgotten: several designers featured menswear to accompany their women's looks. Narendra Kumar's Great Gatsby collection referenced classic men's smoking jackets, which were given a modern twist with a leaner shape and in fabrics including textured silk and brocade. Offering something less formal was the New Gen designer Mohammed Javed Khan, with his unconventional layered look for the laid-back urbanite. It was cool, effortless and comfortable.

 

Lakme Fashion Week closed with a show by Manish Malhotra

For an online gallery of Lakme Fashion Week, visit www.the national.ae/multimedia

Back to the top

More articles


Editor's Picks

 Styled with bleached bobs and pale skin, the models wore clean and sporty separates reminiscent of the chic workwear of The Hunger Games. Courtesy Getty Images

Fashion Forward: Thoughtful tailoring at Asudari

The womenswear label Asudari showcased a collection that featured sharp masculine tailoring, but with feminine silhouettes.

Styled with bleached bobs and pale skin, the models wore clean and sporty separates reminiscent of the chic workwear of The Hunger Games.

Designer Lamia Asudari says she was influenced by Delftware ceramics from the 16th century, as well as the imagery of weaponry and artillery. Indeed, pistols, grenades and guns were emblazoned over jackets and dresses.

 Several of Jo Baaklini's pieces featured fruit prints. Courtesy Getty Images

Fashion Forward: At Starch, watermelon shirts, anyone?

“We need to cultivate our own fashion heroes — our own regional brands,” stressed Fashion Forward’s honcho Bong Guerrero in a press con two weeks ago.

Aptly, the slot for this season’s opening runway show was given to two newbies: Jo Baaklini and Timi Hayek, whose talents were scouted by Starch, a group dedicated to launching emerging Lebanese designers.

Between the two, Mr Baaklini had a stronger showing.

 Jean Louis Sabaji’s collection was very good when the tricks were toned down — like the simple white jumpsuit with a sculptural neckpiece. Stuart C. Wilson / Getty Images

Fashion Forward: Jean Louis Sabaji’s debatable debut

Jean Louis Sabaji’s collection was very good when the tricks were toned down — like the simple white jumpsuit with a sculptural neckpiece, the floral crop top, and the radiant yellow pleated skirt.

But most of the time he went too far. There were bell-bottoms, separates that looked like costumes from The Jetsons, and a yellow dress reminiscent of Bjork’s infamous Oscars swan dress — several disparate elements in one multicoloured, multilayered show.

 Launched in 2009 by childhood friends Arwa Abdelhadi and Basma Abu Ghazaleh, Kage bills itself as a label whose “ultimate goal is to design a collection appealing to all.” Courtesy Getty Images

Fashion Forward: Kage pleases all palates

Did the designers of Kage aim to showcase every type of basic clothing on their latest show?

Because there were skirts, shorts, trousers, off-shoulder tops, short dresses, cocktail dresses, long flowy dresses, spaghetti straps, jackets, hoods — and even pyjamas, which with the incoming summer heat, looked especially appealing.

Launched in 2009 by childhood friends Arwa Abdelhadi and Basma Abu Ghazaleh, Kage bills itself as a label whose “ultimate goal is to design a collection appealing to all”, they said in their statement.

 The standout was a grey hooded cape that created a tension between edge and elegance. Courtesy Getty Images

Fashion Forward: Polish, craft (and fur!) at The Emperor 1688

The best show of Day 1 at Fashion Forward was delivered by the three Golkar brothers behind The Emperor 1688.

The coats and capes were the clear winners: they came in all sorts of interesting colours and sizes — and featured exceptionally tailored proportions. There was a lot of volume, but also stiffness.

And whimsy: two favourites were a green double-breasted suit and a blue overcoat with a red clover pattern and gold buttons.

 Midway through Ezra's show, snow started falling from the ceiling. Ian Gavan / Getty Images for Fashion Forward

Fashion Forward: Ezra stuns in snow-covered show

Turns out the Filipino designer Ezra, known for his dreamy couture, still had a few surprises up his sleeve.

Midway through his show, snow started falling from the ceiling.

It created a starkly beautiful atmosphere for his intricately constructed gowns that seemed to be designed for an Ice Queen transported back to the 1950s.

He showed a collection that had a lot of technical firepower behind it: glittering iridescent fabrics paired with head and neckpieces that were moulded and stiffened to stand out in odd angles.

Events

To add your event to The National listings, click here

Get the most from The National