Sifting through the countless shows and thousands of garments that were showcased at Wills Lifestyle India Fashion Week (WIFW), Delhi Fashion Week (DFW), Lakmé Fashion Week (LFW) and Kolkata Fashion Week (KFW), Sohiny Das picks 33 noteworthy collections, scrutinises and analyses them with a view from the past, present and future
Craft, desiness, tradition, application, preservation. Neo-heritage showcases some twists in conventions.
and styling. Simple pieces add up to create stunning ensembles
play with seams and colour blocking. The ‘bell’ shape in tiered
skirts and shararas. Cropped pants in block prints. Antique mirror
story time warp. Similar fabrics despite changing seasons.
Wow point: Sheer
skirts with boxers. Delightfully cheeky!
Fresh: A beautiful
shade of turmeric yellow. Layering of shells and linings in shirt-tunics,
having differently shaped hemlines.
Stale: Dhoti trousers
again and predictable skirts and cholis.
Wow Point: The flamenco
style, multi-tiered panelled tunics. Lovely twist to desi.
NEHA AGARWAL (LFW)
Wow points: Sheer
chiffon wraps, beautiful tulip/rose embroideries.
Point to note: Reminiscent
of the earlier Sabyasachi/Anamika style in terms of layering and
the exploration of prints and embroideries, but establish more
Market Conscious, price conscious, yet design conscious. Indian designer pret is aiming to achieve the creative-marketable balance.
CUE by ROHIT GANDHI
& RAHUL KHANNA (WIFW)
Inspiring: An excellently
edited collection. As always, a great variety of separates and
fabrics. Experimental yet classy prêt.
Fresh: A shade of
brick/flesh is unconventional and stands out.
Wow points: Fine
laser cutting, intricate pintucks on jersey.
LABEL RITU KUMAR
Inspiring: A crisp,
young collection from India’s oldest house. Offering variety in
design but unabashedly prêt price conscious.
away from the perennial ‘Banjara’ sensibilities. More geometric,
with capsules within the collection.
Stale: The yellow-pink-orange-purple
story and fabrics in part of the collection.
Wow point: Effective
use of cable knits – a rarity in Indian fashion.
PANKAJ & NIDHI (WIFW)
over multiple surface treatment techniques – quilting, embossing,
studding, tapestry – and presenting them in a tight collection.
sequined dresses – too much bling. Not required.
Wow points: Pointed
‘Batman ears’ shoulders. Pattern quilting. Football dresses.
DEV R NIL (KFW)
equal prowess in menswear and womenswear. High quality western
and ethnic prêt. Every piece is desirable.
introduced slouchy shapes in their predominantly sharp constructions.
Textures and embroideries are more varied.
Wow points: Beautiful
batik in motifs and tights – incorporation of the capsule batik
collection within the larger collection. Overall styling.
for WESTSIDE (LFW)
street clothes one would aspire to possess! The power of simple
lines – how minor manipulations in shape translate into beautiful
Fresh: The YSL/Piet
Mondrian inspirations do not dominate, but are absorbed in Rodrick’s
Wow points: Asymmetric
flaps, low crotch trousers, Mondrian-inspired accessories.
Fresh: Return of
leg-o-mutton sleeves. Shades of caramel and peacock blue.
Stale: Sequin sheeting
never goes away. Laser cut leather scallops – beautiful, but not
Wow point: Caramel
mannish suit teamed with bright ochre shoes.
High end, covetable and also adventurous. The beginner's step towards avant garde.
ANAND KABRA (LFW)
Evolution: An almost
total U-turn from floral prints and toga drapes. Sharper, stronger,
Wow points: Spiderwoman-like
metallic meshes (a tad Julien McDonald) in saris, trousers, dresses,
of Kabra’s sexier side.
ALECCA CARRANO (DFW)
Inspiring: A proper
winterwear range (with sweaters), intensely soothing. Multiple
elements very well balanced. Exploration of shapes, textures and
detailing. A very complete collection.
Wow points: Giant
ruffles and sudden inserts of red.
ALPANA & NEERAJ
flow and volume, varying lengths, distinct differences since last
Wow point: Their
take on corsetry and bodices, offering variety through details.
Future: More product
range please, and less drapey jersey shifts.
VARUN SARDANA (WIFW)
presentation, styling, details, range, separates, finish, creativity
– marketability balance. All looked into.
in parts is supplemented by scallops, ruffles, tassles. A fine
balance of glamour and intellect.
Stale: And yet again,
sequin sheeting strikes! There is no escape!
Wow points: A heartbeat-stopping
red origami gown! Metal paperclips for texture. The styling –
cleverly economical footwear idea
Left-lobe design, straying from convention, challenging notions, provocative yet magnetic. The forward force.
GAURAV GUPTA (WIFW)
to push the envelope every time. Someone who tackles fitted and
flowy with equal élan, on a variety of fabrics.
‘open spaces’ instead of excessive pleats. Layering of pieces
and fabrics. Usage of prints. New maturity.
placement embroidery that has become staple, or predictable.
Wow point: Swirling,
meandering zippers used as ornamentation, in addition to function.
PRASHANT VERMA (WIFW)
Inspiring: The menacing
mood, the ominous edge. The looming doom. Addictive!
Dior-esque corsets, an exploration of shapes, materials, construction
Wow points: The
architectural treatment to fashion. Painstakingly seamed motorcycle
trousers. The ‘muscle’ jacket. Giant square shapes.
Future: Some very
distinct international ‘inspirations’ (Balenciaga, YSL) that need
to be grown out of.
KALLOL DATTA 1955
patterns continue, but in a different, less obvious form. A foray
into embroidery territory. More statement prints. Winter grunge.
dye yet again. Too much black and similar fabric palette.
Wow points: Aprons.
A sheer black long dress – beautifully simple. Silver dress-form
pendants. The dress-form print.
colours and fabrics.
SAVIO JON (DFW)
Inspiring: The ability
to make everything seem effortless – simply beautiful. The potential
of casual-dressy-casual transitions in almost every piece. Subtle
in hemlines and shapes. More range in separates. Exploring closures/fasteners
as design elements.
Wow points: Beautiful
safety pin and vintage medallion neckpieces. Lovely light layering.
Numerous elements harmonising without clutter.
fabric board. Also, continuous collections of resort can get monotonous.
RISHTA by ARJUN
almost subversive. Yet revered. The Samurai-sportsman theme continues,
but with the entry of some Teddy Boy elements. Dark and androgynous.
Wow points: The
styling, the shoes, the use of tangerine and taxi-yellow, gorgeous
Future: Move away
from any more zippers for a while.
MANISH ARORA (WIFW)
the couture tradition, taking surface treatments to a stellar
platform, international level presentation, a sense of humour.
jagged edges, angular shapes, digital prints.
shapes through the collection. Colours.
Wow points: A pink
peacock dress – breathtaking! A stunning array of multi-element
Point to note: Despite
different themes, collections are starting to look similar, due
to shapes, limited separates, colours and styling.
The bar raisers and gurus of quality clothing. Those
closest to perfection.
GAURI AND NAINIKA
’40s and ’50s never cease to inspire the sisters. Season after
season, vintage from the same era gets monotonous.
Nice: Staples like
ruffles and cinched waists – but with excellent constructions,
fits and aesthetic balance. Some variety in separates.
explore a different decade and surprise us. Better still, shock
RAJESH PRATAP SINGH
Inspiring: God is
in the details, in the construction, in the supreme impeccability.
Every aesthetic is spot-on. Every piece is covetable. Every season.
Wow points: Intricate
smocking – to die for! Metal cube jewellery. Shimmering copper
In competition with himself – sartorially spectacular, but safely
below his own raised bar of expectations.
piece is beautifully desirable, possessing the finesse that many
established designers strive for.
into embroidery zone. A clear seasonal distinction. More glamorous,
yet ultra chic.
So-so: Despite the
self confessed modern ‘YSL tribute’, there was no novel twist.
Derived and safe, lacking excitement.
ASHISH N SONI (WIFW)
meets drape. Geometry meets fluidity. There are more than just
empire dresses and princess coats.
from gold, it is a very tried, tested and repeated colour story.
Measured tweaking of styles in some cases, just about making it
Wow points: A loud
gold pleated cropped top. A giant sleeved cream jacket.
Evolution: She can
do much more than classic resort and drapey dresses. Digital prints
and newer fabrics. Attention to quality accessories.
So-so: Some predictable
gathered shift dresses, continuation of the satin saga.
Wow points: Giant
kimono sleeves, metallic mesh dresses, leather tights.
Surface treatments get more multi-layered each season
with explorations of new techniques and materials in combination with
old forms and embroideries
MY VILLAGE by RIMZIM
overall look has been the same for long. Shift dresses still dominate.
Textures, though beautiful, look similar to Winter 2008.
Wow point: A hexagon
textured armour dress.
Future: Some placement
textures. More explorations of shapes. Layering of pieces. Expansion
of product range.
SMALL SHOP JASON
Inspiring: A total
package of beautiful textures, adventurous shapes, quirky detailing
and focused styling. All harmonising well.
layers, more separates, changing shapes, a distinct winter feel.
fabrics and textures need variation, despite being beautiful.
Need to move beyond resist dye and discharge print in future.
Wow points: Layered
shadow plays caused by dyeing and overprinting, especially large
checks. Evoking dreamy childhood memories through colour.
VIVEK KUMAR (LFW)
in knitwear continue every season. Good news for Indian fashion.
Wow points: Disc
inserts in knits, multicoloured fleece-like textures, placement
Not so great: Random drapes, over embellishment, juvenile styling.
with knitwear developments, but with cleaner lines and eliminate
NACHIKET BARVE (LFW)
variety in textures – jigsaw joints, ikat embroideries, appliqués,
multi-layered strips – in jewel tones, and a sharper, crisper
dresses and jackets in straight shapes tend to get monotonous.
A touch of Winter 2008 is still very evident.
Future: More exploration
of shapes and layering. Perhaps placement (rather than allover)
textures in a few pieces.
Wow points: Digital
prints – cosmic explorations, op-art, beautiful colour shading.
Point to note: Again,
similar dresses and jackets throughout the collection. Shapes,
lengths, detailing – highly repetitive.
Evoked kudos and 'could be better' alike. Partly exceptional
yet not quite on target.
Grecian drapes are complemented by structure this time. Unconventional
pairing of separates. Measured risks in terms of shapes and volume.
Wow point: Very
fine, long fringes in saris and dresses that sway beautifully
So-so: Some out
of place caftans and colourful tribal elements that seem forced.
11.11 CELLDSGN (DFW)
brand’s non-conformist ethos, attention to the overall look, accessories,
show presentation and the ‘cult’ value. Spunky!
colour, more prints, more variety in fabrics.
styles and retention of the ‘student’ sensibility.
The careless drapes and non-pretty detailing work wonderfully,
but sometimes border on unplanned mish-mash.
NITIN BAL CHAUHAN
detail in each piece. Construction prowess. Great finish.
off-the-body shapes and drapes.
and colours give us a déjà vu feel.
Gone awry: Detailed
pieces teamed together (individually beautiful, combined, too
much!), overly accessorised. End result – overwhelmingly theatrical.
KIRAN UTTAM GHOSH
a distinct style – cleaner, simpler, comfortable.
remain unchanged three years in a row. Embroidery motifs and textures
remind of past collections.
Point to note: Beautiful
jackets and a few palazzos, but not much else. Very limited product
Wow points: Wispy
layers of chiffon flowing ethereally. Cocoon jackets.
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