Every year post the annual Delhi Couture Week, I draw out the top couturiers amongst those who showcased. This year too after much deliberations and revisiting the high-resolution images of the creations showcased by the couturiers at the just concluded PCJ Delhi Couture Week 2012, I have drawn out ‘My’ Top 3 Couturiers. The list is in ‘alphabetical order’.
Anamika Khanna’s collection was an absolute treat to the eyes. Her ensembles were not typical Indian Wedding Wear (Wedding Wear dominates our Couture Week) but a nice blend of traditional and modern styles. I loved the intricate texturisation, innovative silhouettes, great assortment of fabrics, amazing colour story and of course perfect tailoring. Scalloped lacy jackets over lehengas and dhotis, the high-collars, the sari-gowns or the magnificent floor-duster coats – all gave a modern touch to traditional Indian ensembles. Sheer Salmon pink dupattas or layerings over ivory coloured ensembles livened up the look dramatically.
Manav Gangwani impressed me with his gowns – be it the monochromatic ones or the more dramatic red ones. I loved the OTT detailing, which I look forward in a Couture show, liked the shapes and above all the fit that is so integral to a couture piece. A couture ensemble has to fit on the model immaculately! The sheer fishnet gown with embroidery concealing the vitals did shock some of my fellow scribes but in a couture show that is more than permissible. The Indian styles were ‘Blingy’ but then that is something Gangwani’s clients love.
Varun Bahl was the first to establish that the ‘colour’ of the season’s gonna be Indigo. The sheer net bodices were absolutely sensual and the placement of embroidery was imaginatively innovative. One look at Varun’s collection and you would understand how vital ‘placement’ of embroidery is. Gradient shading – lighter shades blending in to darker ones – was beautifully used on saris and the contrast coloured embroidery on them beautified them further. I heard the saris are already taken. The use of the colour black gave an uber-chic look to Bahl’s beautiful collection. Classy is the word to aptly define it!
Rest In Peace Prabuddha Dasgupta. The ace photographer passed away last evening after enthralling us with his beautiful photographs, be it on fashion or Ladakh. Dasgupta died of a massive heart-attack while he was traveling in a cab. He was only 51. God bless his soul. Both the designers – Manav Gangwani and Sabysachi Mukherjee requested all for a minute of silence for the legendary Prabuddha before their shows.
Manav Gangwani had a mishap while he was preparing for the Couture Week. His assistant disappeared with all the designs. Gangwani reworked on an entirely new collection and there were flashes of brilliance. A monochromatic collection had sequence in red and as expected, was high on ‘Bling’. For the first time during the week I saw some dramatic elements that I feel is an integral part of a couture show. (Of course there was Manish Arora who had loads of drama in his show.) My personal favourites were the black and white sheer gown with a bejewelled black structure crossing over the shoulders and a short one-shoulder dress with nice lacy applique work. I liked the finish and the fit – a must for any couture ensemble. Manav Gangwani had the Queen of Bhutan – the beautiful Jetsun Pema gracing the front-row in a chic one-shoulder black Gangwani dress. Oh yes Bollywood was there in form of Raveena Tandon, Sophie Choudhry and jewelery designer Farah Khan.
Sabyasachi Mukherjee had one of the most elaborate set – with a vintage feel complete with the ramp depicting a wooden floor. And much to my liking I saw a great deal of ‘newness’ in his collection. But then he stuck to the ‘no makeup’ look and glasses for his models. There were the usual ornate lehengas, long-sleeved blouses and pretty sarees but what impressed me were those long voluminous skirts totally devoid of embellishment in solid colour like green or in colour-blocking technique. Sabya even went for coarse fabric and thick cotton to craft out these maxi skirts that can be doubled as lehengas. Sridevi and her director for their forthcoming movie – English Winglish, Gauri Shinde were Sabyasachi’s showstoppers.
- “Do you have any problem with XYZ designer?’
- I ask, “Why do you think so?”
- “No you have been critical of his/her work”.
- I say, “If I am critical of his/her work that doesn’t mean I don’t like him/her. It is purely the clothes.”
Yes guys there is nothing personal when a scribe opiniates critically.
Manish Malhotra had a grand show on the penultimate day of PCJ Delhi Couture Week 2012. And then he had boisterous support from B-Towners like Karan Johar, Suzanne Roshan, Sheetal Mafatlal, Kajal Anand and Shaina NC rooting for every creation of his from the front-row.
Malhotra’s collection was ‘pretty’ and I am sure he will mint money out of this collection. Katrina Kaif looked gorgeous in a gold lehenga with pink borders and skimpy gold choli. But Manish I thought the choli could have had a snuggy fit. Also the layering of sheer net or Tulle was bit dense that almost hid the ornate ensemble beneath. The layering could have been more sheer. Felt like the net layer was more a cover to protect the garment from dust. What do you say???
The Day 1 of PCJ Delhi Couture Week 2012 was totally unadulterated fashion. Neither ‘drama queens’ fighting for front-row seats nor ‘Bollywood Stars’ sending the shutterbugs on a frenzy, distracted us. Personally for me it was an ideal atmosphere to enjoy fashion.
Varun Bahl opened the PCJ Delhi Couture Week 2012 and must say it was a nice show. Varun Bahl established the fact that Indian Couture can be stunning without an overdose of ‘Bling’. In fact the absence of ‘Bling’ gave the collection a very ‘classy’ feel. Extensive use of sheer net added sensuality to his well crafted collection. The colour story developed nicely with Indigo, Black and Crimson. Gradient shading – lighter shades blending in to darker ones – was effectively used. The embroidery work was mostly on the border or the hem and occasionally strategically placed on the breast panels and cuffs. Some deft layering added a novelty factor to the collection.
JJ Valaya had his ‘off-site’ show at The Grand Hotel. Little less opulent than what I expected but then high expectation is always the ‘devil’. Valaya showcased his signature Couture line – intricate embroidery work on lehengas, Bling but nothing OTT, long achkans in Chevron pattern with parakeet embroidered on them and some classy empire line maxi dresses in silk-satin were eye-grabbers. Valaya too used shades of Indigo in his collections. Looks like ‘Indigo’ is the colour for the coming Wedding season.
The PCJ Delhi Couture Week 2012 kicks-off today (8th August 2012) at the Taj Palace Hotel with two heavy-weight designers – Varun Bahl and JJ Valaya. Bahl calls his couture collection – India, Nouveau - and attempts to merge the classic evergreens of old India with the outlook of modern Indian dressing tastes.
JJ Valaya, a master of opulence is doing an off-site show at The Grand Hotel. When I asked if the show is indoors or outdoors, Valaya said, “It is both indoors and outdoors.” Expect some real grandeur at Valaya’s.