Over the years ‘Off-Site’ shows during Delhi Couture Week and the bi-annual Wills Lifestyle India Fashion Week has assumed great importance as they are taken to be as ‘premium’ shows. Tarun Tahiliani, Rohit Bal and Rajesh Pratap Singh have had the honour of doing ‘off-site’ shows earlier.
The idea behind ‘off-site’ shows are primarily to allow the designer the leverage of having and creating an ambience of their choice. But in India it is also seen as matter of prestige. It is like, ‘I have arrived if I am doing an off-site show.’
For the upcoming Delhi Couture Week 2012 scheduled between August 8 to August 12 2012 designers Anamika Khanna and Gaurav Gupta are ‘blessed’ with the ‘off-site’ show. The duo will have their showing at the expansive fashion store – Evoluzione at the One Style Mile in Mehrauli.
The second day of the Wills Lifestyle India Fashion Week (WIFW) Autumn-Winter 2012 was a mixed bag. We had the tyrant of Bigg Boss 5 – Pooja Mishra walking the ramp. Come on spare us (no pun intended) the drama Chandrani!
But yes the encouraging bit was some fabulous shows and my vote goes to Gaurav Gupta, Raakesh Agarwal and Arjun Saluja. Firstly all three of them made an effort to show a collection totally different from what they were getting slotted into as their signature styles. Gaurav Gupta and drapes were inseparable but this time he made the models strut down the runway in constructed dresses with accentuated shoulders and lots of metallic zippers giving them a military feel. Gaurav did his draped gowns too but somehow they were more tamed. I loved the way he mixed sheer nets with satin to give that sensual hint of a peek of bare shoulder, bare midriff or bare back. Sharply tailored and fluidly draped ensembles together created a fabulous collection.
Military and Dominatrix look is the trend going strong. Raakesh Agarwal too impressed with his sharply tailored dresses and separates. My favourite was the sequence in leather. He painstakingly sewed innumerous panels to create a Chevron texture or put together semicircular panels to create that body-hugging fit on trenches, dresses and skinny pants. The sequence of draped floor-duster wraps paired with brass breast plates were dramatic. Overall Raakesh Agarwal moved us with his gold splattered gorgeous collection.
Rishta by Arjun Saluja was interesting. The way he used pair of metallic zippers running parallel across dresses was indeed innovative. Loved the prints and the way he played around with the lapels on a cocoon shaped dress. Saluja’s ‘structure versus drape’ philosophy couldn’t have been executed better.
Tonight Pop-Diva Lady Gaga will croon for Indians at the Formula One After-Party at LAP. Now will she wear here signature Theiry Mugler ensembles or as strongly lobbied by PETA, opt for the ‘Lettuce Gown’? Gaga famously wore a meat dress at the 2010 MTV Video Music Awards. So being a Walking Salad Bar in a Lettuce Gown would do a lot of good to her image.
At the Paris Fashion Week Spring/Summer 2012 where Manish Arora presented his debut collection for Paco Rabanne, revered fashion scribe, Suzy Menkes wrote that Lady Gaga should look at the collection to move on from Theiry Mugler as they are full of drama that Gaga so loves. So I was rather surprised when Lady Gaga turned up in a Naeem Khan gown, explaining the designer’s India-Connect. Manish Arora would have been more apt for Gaga, both in terms of her style and her conscious effort in wearing something with a India-Connect. Naeem Khan moved to the United States and apprenticed for Halston where he absorbed the ethos of modern restraint. Now ‘RESTRAINT’ is a word that probably does not apply to Lady Gaga. Hence I think Manish Arora would had been a better choice.
Koel Purie did a coup of sorts by getting the first exclusive interview with Lady Gaga ‘On The Couch With Koel’. She gifted Gaga dressed in an Ungaro jumpsuit with jewelleries, which she procured from Gaurav Gupta and Manav Gangwani. Gangwani was smart to do that brass, studded with Swarovski piece of OM, which Lady Gaga seemed to have loved.
The Synergy1 Delhi Couture Week 2011 ended in a crescendo and peaked with the last show by none other than Rohit Bal. He truly amazes me as season after season Bal comes out with a collection that is simply awe-inspiring.
I often debate that Couture in India shouldn’t be confused with wedding wear. Many disagree with me but if we see Couture in Paris, we get to understand it clearly. As per me couture collection of a designer showcases the limits of his/her creativity, the expanse of his/her vision that often takes us on a flight of fantasy and is a reflection of what the designer’s RTW collection would be. Couture collection necessitates a whole lot of drama, as it is often larger than life vision of a couturier.
Based on these parameters I have chosen three couturiers who showcased a couture collection that deserves appreciation.
Rohit Bal showcased a fabulous collection. His collection did not have Bling that many associate with Couture. But the very finesse, the intricacies of detailing on each ensemble, innovations and the overall luxe feel of the ensembles deserves salutations. Bal’s classic silhouettes of A-Shaped ensembles with tapered torso flowing out voluminously at the hem and his floor-duster jackets were embellished with dori-embroidery, copper-coloured metallic threads, Gota, appliqué and cut-work that brought to life the Peacock motif used predominantly literally made them ‘Museum Pieces’. Hats off to Gudda and his depth of creativity!
Manav Gangwani on the other hand is the master of Bling. But Bling alone can’t make an ensemble beautiful. What matters are the tasteful employment of Bling, their placement and above all the finish of the ensemble. The fishtail gowns were exquisitely crafted; the finish looked immaculate and to that Manav added loads of drama by moulding the crystal-encrusted collars like dramatic capes. The color story too was interesting and the shaded yellow sarees, tiered gowns with Gota borders and Corset-like bejeweled tops grabbed many eyeballs.
Gaurav Gupta yet again showed his mastery over drapery and his 3-dimensional embroidery stood out brilliantly. His pre-stitched sarees with bejeweled pallus draped in sensual form would find many takers but the real breath-taking pieces were the one-shoulder gowns crafted with draped technique and corsage like creations on the shoulder.
Other Couturiers who deserve mention for a goo collection are Varun Bahl and Shantanu & Nikhil Mehra.
The 2nd day at Delhi Couture Week I got to see some real couture. One from a relatively new star – Gaurav Gupta and the other from the maestro – Rohit Bal. Gaurav Gupta has been doing drapes since he entered the industry. I didn’t quiet like his Pret Fall 2010 collection where drapes were like forced upon the garments. But with his Couture Collection, I saw Gaurav evolve. His gowns were beautiful and the way he used the swan motif was interesting. His pre-pleated and draped saris are gonna be hotsellers. His tasseled gown, his black one-shoulder gown with puff-ball kinda bottom and his showstopper showed his creative genius.Gudda probably showcased one his best ever collection. His mulmul kurtas, his exquisitely tailored and textured long jackets, his rose appliqued gowns and dynasty shoulders, were simply mind blowing. There was nothing OTT. No heavy embroidery, no glitter and bling yet it was Minimalistically Opulent. I know it’s an oxymoron but that’s the only way I can describe Gudda’s beautiful creations. And no drama at Rohit Bal’s show? No that’s ain’t possible. His models walked into the pool in off-white tunics that floated and looked like huge lotuses. Gudda too walked in to deafening applause.