It wasn’t an easy task to narrow down to the best three collections that I saw at the just concluded Wills Lifestyle India Fashion Week (WIFW) Spring-Summer 2014. More than fifty designers showcased their collections over the five days and shortlisting ‘My Top-3′ was indeed a herculean task.
The parameters over which, I decided my best three were style and cut, fabrics used (summer friendly), texturisation techniques applied and finally the overall construction and finish. Mind you, this is my personal Top-3.
I enjoyed Namrata Joshipura’s collection. The ‘storm’ and ‘ocean’ prints were absolutely fabulous. The printed shirt-dress with lapels encrusted with metal embroidery and gold metal dress with all-over metallic embroidery exhibited the finesse with which, it was executed and same was the case with the jumpsuit. Floral cut-work skirt, shirt with metallic detailing on the collar and the placket grabbed my attention too. Lastly I loved the sporty feel of the collection and clean constructions.
Rohit Gandhi and Rahul Khanna used the nude tone and sheer fabric to exhibit a super glam and sensual look. It is definitely not easy to execute metallic embroidery work on flimsy net but the duo did it deftly. The interplay of sheer with opaque was interesting. But what was astounding was the way the dresses were structured using panels at the waist, princess-seams around the bust and the juxtaposition of the contours of the horizontal rows of sequin embroidery with the curved and circular ones. It was nothing but sheer engineering. Loved the combination of pewter with icy-silver sequins and the impeccable finish.
Rahul Mishra’s interplay of traditional Jaamdani weave with jersey and contemporary quilting work on his ensembles were beautiful. Even the often-used Baandhani work found newness in the way Rahul used it on his garments. Interplay of sheer and opaque found way in Rahul Mishra’s collection too.
At times you watch a collection of a fashion designer and is so impressed by it that emotions run high and you passionately feel that if this designer had a backing of a venture capitalist, he/she can take on the world. On Day 2 of Wills Lifestyle India Fashion Week, Spring-summer 2014 I felt that way after watching Rahul Mishra’s show. It was an immaculate collection that had the perfect symbiosis of tradition Indian textiles used to create contemporary global styles. The innovative surface texturisation, modern application of traditional Bandhni work and Bengal’s Jaamdani weave, fine detailing using metal zippers and clean construction made Rahul Mishra’s spring-summer 2014 collection a fabulous one.
Designers like Mishra can take on the designers of London, Paris, New York and Milan. Wish they had financial power. Wish India had a ‘fashion philanthropist’ like Sir Philip Green of Topshop. Fashion Tycoon, Green has nurtured young talent and funded them through corpus funds, sponsoring nextGen shows at London Fashion Week and has pledged to help more and more young people get ahead in the designing and manufacturing of clothes. Sir Philip Green is not doing charity. He is investing in the most valuable asset – creative human resource, which eventually bears him fruit.
Indian tycoons are are rarely known for philanthropic work. And when it comes to fashion, it’s a business very few fund managers understand. We have Kishore Biyani who does invest in fashion but plays safe and goes for brands like Global Desi and Biba, which harldly qualifies as ‘fashion’. We have the much-touted L-Capital who would go for iconic names like Sabyasachi and Rohit Bal and after a year are yet to close the deal. We have venture capitalist who are funding illegit E-Commerce business the retails online copy’s of Abercrombie, Polo and Hollister. There are no visionaries who would fund a start-up designer label and there are no agency or advisor who can bring design talents and funders together.
It makes me sad. A Rupees 10Crore fund can take two talented designers and make their label reckoned globally. But there aren’t any to do such small investments in a safe business but many to sink in millions of dollars on E-Commerce companies sprouting like mushroom.
Vogue India introduced the coveted Vogue Fashion Fund in India this May. The concept is replica of the CFDA Vogue Fashion Fund, which took off in New York in 2003. Partnering with Fashion Design Council of India (FDCI) Vogue has shortlisted 20 designers. The winner of FDCI Vogue Fashion Fund will get a cash prize of Rupees 20 Lacs, a tie-up with fashion retail house – Westside, a year of mentorship in marketing and PR by an expert, show at WIFW and of course a fashion shoot in Vogue India.
What is great about the Vogue Fashion Fund is the process of selection, which is exhaustive and judges a designer’s work from the sketch stage to the production of the final garment. Just the past week Editor of Vogue – Priya Tanna was in Delhi doing visits to the factories of shortlisted designers. The jury is scrutinising the facilities within the designer’s factory, the production facility and capacity, the design team and all the nitty-gritty that an ideal factory of a fashion label should have. No doubt Vogue Fashion Fund is so coveted.
The shortlisted designers are mostly from Delhi. My inside source narrows down the the prospective winner of the first Vogue Fashion Fund in India to three – two from Delhi and one from Mumbai. Well let me just spell it out – my bet is on Mumbai based designer Rahul Mishra to win the FDCI Vogue Fashion Fund. I have reasons to believe so! Rahul Mishra has recently inked a deal with Westside, the retail partner of Vogue Fashion Fund in India.
Pankaj & Nidhi have been keeping their creative juices flowing season after season and hence coming out with beautiful collections. For A/W 2012. I loved the pixelated effect and the geometric and floral motifs created by felt cut outs and appliquéd on the garments. The perforated leather skirts and tops too were innovatively interesting. It is only after reading the press note I learned that the duo used art-form from Poland – ‘Wycinanki’ , which is an art of paper-cut designs to create those hand-cut felt shapes appliquéd on the garments. Interesting research. The collection is veryyy colourful so I feel that might deter some non-adventurous fashionistas.
Abraham & Thakore yet again showed simple is beautiful. The motifs of peacocks and trees in a naïf style added to the innocent beauty of the clothes. Also the way a traditional embellishment form – the mirror work was used by the duo that it muted the bling factor and gave an entirely modern appeal to the garments.
Sanchita Ajjampur’s style is grunge-glam. I know it sounds like an oxymoron but the way she plays with textures, her eclectic layering sense, the treatment of the fabrics and the prints make the ensembles look casually grunge yet the silhouette and the styles are so chic that the ultimate result is glamorous.
Rahul Mishra did a fine collection but I wish he takes a break from Chanderi and the pretty frocks he creates with them. They are very nice but give me a sense of déjà-vu. He used jersey this time and some fitted shapes, that I simply adored but this novelties were a miniscule part of his collection. Same with Kallol Datta. Evolution of designer’s style always impresses. Kallol Datta was getting slotted for ‘dark’ looks but this time his collection was little less ‘dark’ and had hint of colour on those black dresses. Loved the shawl-draped dresses and the constructed pieces.
Meera Ali did a collection that was very different from the usual Kotwara collection by the husband-wife duo of Meera and Muzaffar Ali. It was truly a fall-winter collection that was very modern in style. The ample use of wool in creating dresses with deft texturisation using nips and tucks. I was particularly impressed by the jackets and the slim trousers. Overall it was a truly prêt collection with classic style details.
JJ Valaya was perfect for finale presentation that requires an ample dose of grandeur. Valaya’s all white ensembles were fabulous. I can best describe it as classy chic. He showed how a minimally embellished skirts paired with constructed tops and jackets can look glamorous. The printed maxi-dresses were beautiful and his trousseau range had the right dose of bling and oh those intricate embroidery work make them look rich.
Young designers who show promise are Aneeth Arora, Rimzim Dadu and Jenjum Gadi. These designers have great understanding of global trends, are busting with creativity and are constantly experimenting with shapes and silhouettes to present a fresh look every season. I am sure they will flourish in future.
The Spring/Summer 2012 Edition of Wills Lifestyle India Fashion Week (WIFW) concluded on the 12th of October 2011. It’s a week since then and I was working on the list of ‘My Top Ten Collections from WIFW SS 2012’. After much deliberation I drew up my list of Top 10 Collections ( 4 of which I had earlier posted about) at WIFW SS 2012. The names appear in no particular order:
Nandita Basu: I primarily like the contouring of the seeming simple looking but complex silhouettes by paneling work. The way Nandita adapted the flavours of Rajasthan in a modern way was also applaudable.
Rajesh Pratap Singh: As I had already mentioned, the textiles were simply beautiful. Pratap’s colours for the collection were also very summery and his use of Ikat prints in a very modernised form was something that might give Ikat a new lease of life. The motifs – Dragonflies and Butterflies, the layered shirtdresses, saris with waistcoats and the combination of grey with Tangerine Orange and Candy Pink were few factors that made the collection look awesome.
Sanchita Ajjampur’s Art Deco bikinis and swimsuits made a bold opening of her show. But it was the wide legged chiffon pants; chiffon gowns with unfinished hems and the innovative Sari T-Shirts that made me like the collection.
Namrata Joshipura moved away from the shiny sequined look and showcased some fine embellishments using metal and plastic beads. I loved the goddess draped dresses and skirts, the Shirt-dresses textured with floral and diamond motifs and the spiky shorts.
Pankaj & Nidhi: This coy duo comes out with a drastically new look every season and that is no mean achievement as per me. For their spring/summer 2012 collection Pankaj and Nidhi painstakingly textured the garments using intricate scallops, interwoven cutwork, folds and lattice work that also convinced me that the duo have perfected the art of Origami. The Vinyl Appliqué work and the ‘Light-Bulb’ Motif were so refreshing. It’s not only the texturisation that wins, even their styles which were essentially very contemporary and the construction of the garments were admirable.
Rahul Mishra: His forte is textile, a department where he does plenty of research and that sure did pay off. For spring/summer 2012 Rahul Mishra used lot of Tulle, Silk Organza and some Silk Chiffon and exploited the sheerness of these fabrics to the hilt to create a subtle sensual look. The simple shifts, shirt-dresses, long flowy dresses and the Trench dresses were embellished with embroidered flowers, leaves and diamonds but what stood out was the placement of these embroideries. Even the gradation of colours he used heightened the garment’s look.
Rohit Gandhi & Rahul Kanna: This designer duo is getting better with time. For me anybody who can make a jumpsuit or a kaftan (two Items that I abhor) look nice instantly wins my appreciation. But that’s not the only reason I loved their spring/summer 2012 collection. Sticking to their signature monochromatic colours with occasional burst of orange and red, Rohit and Rahul too juxtaposed the sheer with the opaque deftly. Yes the experimentation with the lapels and collars resulted in some great styles but then what excited me more were those cascading strings or horizontal tassels, the tasseled bustier & shrugs, the fish-scale sequin work, the embellishment with interlocking safety-pins and other metal bits. Mind you, those embellishments were on delicate voiles, organza and tulles and must have required great precision. And last but not the least, Rohit and Rahul’s each and every garment looks perfectly tailored and finished.
Raakesh Agarvwal: What is this fad for ‘designer’ spellings for names? Anyway I was happy to see some structured ensembles amongst his usual draped styles by Raakesh Agarvwal in his Spring/Summer 2012 (Raakesh however preferred to call it Resort Wear) collection. Loved the laser cutwork detailing on dresses and also the laces appliquéd on them. The geometric ‘Dori’ detailing was fine too and yes the hooded kaftan is ideal for Resort Wear.
Malini Ramani: I felt it was a very Rajasthan inspired collection of Malini Ramani. The monochromatic sequence was reminiscent of the traditional look the Kalbeliya dancers, the minis, the bell-bottoms and gowns with colourful mirror-work on them is a typical Rajasthani gypsy look and the sequence in graded hues of Indigo took me back to Jodhpur where from the Mehrangarh Fort when you look down all you see are blue-washed houses. It was a fabulous fusion of vibrant Indian elements on contemporary styles.
Samant Chauhan: True to his roots, Samant used Bhagalpuri Tussar silk this time with sheer Tulle and gave a touch of subdued ornate look with Zari work and Zardozi embroidery to create some great looking ensembles. Loved the wrapped around dresses in “Angarkha’ style and the lehenga styled long skirt paired with an ornate jacket.