by Anjori Grover Vasesi
29-August-2018 | 13 mins read
From August 22nd to 26th, the Indian fashion industry, including micro influencers and artists, were occupied with the largest celebration of fashion within the Indian subcontinent.
Lakmé Fashion Week is a bi-annual fashion extravaganza that hosts its Summer Resort season in February and its Winter Festive season in August. The recently concluded Winter Festive 2018 season saw designers becoming more responsive towards what the consumer is demanding, thereby creating more wearable fashion, rather than just avant-garde iterations intended to create a hype.
The collections are more soulful, tangible and genuine – keeping in mind the socio-economic scenario triggered due to the mega demonetization haul that shook the country. The price tags have come down – yes, but fashion and art have always played an important role in lifting spirits and providing hope in trying times spanning centuries… society has always found its safe haven amongst creative expression.
So, not writing off eccentric, larger-than-life concepts completely, the event saw a tilt towards tasteful fashion that promises to be as it was on the ramp, so off it. The business proved to reflect the local philosophy, which had many exultant International buyers applauding the ripening of Indian fashion talent.
But as is the case during any such event, a few names outshine the others owing to their ability to comprehend external factors and judiciously deploy them within their creative framework to present collections that are not only commercially viable, but also high on self-expression, ingenuity and conceptualization techniques.
A wave of optimistic vibes could be felt through the trends showcased by the designers, such as utilitarian, multi-functionality, oriental references, mix and match prints, traditional tie and dye, bohemian silhouettes, among others…
Here are the seven major collections by designers worth keeping under a radar, which provided novelty and excitement during the Lakmé Fashion Week Winter Festive 2018:
What: A long distance affair
Who: Nupur Kanoi
Taking references from the lush green vineyards and sunsets by the bays of Cape Town, designer Nupur Kanoi presented her Winter Festive 2018 collection that scored high on Indian fusion wear.
Whimsical embroidered motifs were brought to life by vibrant embellishments of intricate glass beadwork used to suggest an effect of optical illusion. Geometric floral patterns were fused with native botanical prints over androgynous silhouettes in a luxe line up of fabrics.
Details such as the bandhani technique, scallops, the inclusion of velvet, kimono style references paired with sharp tailoring and conventional fits mark this collection as a fast seller for the approaching festive season.
What: Contemporary, multi-functional menswear
Who: Kunal Rawal
The mastermind behind one of the most popular young menswear labels in the country, which does not shy away from taking huge leaps charting unknown territory, Kunal Rawal, presented his latest line of contemporary, experimental and multi-functional menswear at LFW W/F 2018.
Rawal has come a long way since he first turned heads at his 2007 Gen Next debut, where his progressive take on traditional fashion made him fill a gap in the market for urban Indian men. His experiments with sherwanis, kurtas, bundi sets, bandhgalas and waistcoats accentuated using techniques such as French knots, 3D appliqué, pleating and metallic detailing, have earned him much respect within the fraternity.
Clean lines, uncomplicated structures and a palpable mix of casual cool delineate Rawal’s Winter Festive collection which explores laser cut fabrics, mock suede, and linen as the base through many styles. The merging of the ambiguous textures of sheer and denim strike on an innovative approach undertaken by the designer to keep things fresh.
The collection boasts of interesting mix and match pieces such as lapel-less jackets and sherwanis, patchwork badges that fall in line with the global trend of street wear aesthetics, contrast piping over the trousers, an angular play of hems and two-tone trousers.
What: Structure meets surface manipulation and form
Who: Amit Aggarwal
Amit Aggarwal’s path-breaking crafting techniques and futuristic design aesthetics, are synonymous with his eponymous label. Known for his use of unconventional textiles in conjunction with industrial materials for a structural blend, Amit incorporated the use of his all-time staple polymer strips and metallic laces.
The conceptual framework of the collection featured angular lines over opaque constructions that climaxed to generate soft waves and abstract linear forms of theatrical and highly constructed eveningwear.
This season also marks the designer’s foray into the menswear category which featured skinny trousers with cropped hems. Looking into feminine themes, the pieces flaunt fierce silhouettes, which enhance body curves. Generously slashed up side slits in evening dresses, moulded sari gowns, well-tailored structured jackets in an arctic and pearl white, granite silver grey and radiant black colourway, make up the collection.
It is imperative to mention the inclusion of metallic Phulkari embroidered technique done using recycled plastic and metal over a few ensembles that emerged as a key detail from the designer this season.
What: Experimental art fused fashion
Who: Kallol Datta
Labelled as the untamed and unconventional maverick of the Indian fashion scene, Kallol Datta made it clear since the very beginning that he was here to make a statement—and not be meek about it.
Another alumni of the Gen Next 2007 batch, Dutta sees fashion design as a form of storytelling, in which he artfully uses textiles and techniques to showcase his point of view and opinions on social issues and intimate feelings that carry a deep message. This is conveyed to the outside world through his interactive collection displays.
For his Winter Festive 2018 collection, Datta delved into not only interaction with humans and fabrics, but also explored arenas of sound, books, images and messages leaving the power of interpretation with his audience.
Dubbed “Volume 1 Issue 2”, the collection saw a departure from regular mundane motifs to incorporate motif patterns such as faces, mating snails, safety pins and other eccentric patterns instead. An expert at pattern making and implausible construction techniques, Datta is known for his signature circular pattern cutting methods which found their way into his hijab-inspired silhouettes accentuated with cowl detailing.
The collection features ten ensembles created from cotton and which can easily pass off as silk or crinkled paper creations; three 35mm analogue prints in warm, cool and neutral tones, respectively; and 2 analogue dialogues recited stories with the help of instant photographs.
What: Body positivity & inclusive fashion
Who: Size is just a number for Narendra Kumar
Narendra Kumar partnered with aLL- the plus size store for his Winter Festive 2018 assortment at Lakmé Fashion Week 2018. Dubbed ‘Never Hyde’, the collection celebrates various nuances of the Indian body type, urging people to feel confident in their own skin and proud of what they wear.
On-trend whimsical prints in a vivid burst of colours, chic silhouettes and the incorporation of shimmering sequins over denim and bomber jackets, hoodies, joggers, cold-shoulder tops, jumpsuits and blazers, lent a mix of glam and street wear aesthetics to the urban assortment.
Heavily influenced by modern athleisure, the collection experimented with a wide array of materials and surface finishes including, interlock knit, jacquard, Terry wool, Looper knit, Moss crêpe and cotton linen.
The standout pieces to have caught our attention were the T-shirts printed with photos of iconic curvy women from past eras.
‘half Full CURVE” by Rixi and Tinka Bhatia
The second season of the half Full Curve collection comes as a welcome twist for the body-positive consumer.
Inspired by the orient, the collection asserts a heavy depiction of far-East motif patterns over luxe Japanese textiles. Fluid silhouettes juxtaposed traditional Indian sensibilities to appeal to a universal buyer base that varies across sizes and body shapes.
Techniques such as beading, intricate floral embroidery, patchwork detailing, and figure flattering gathered robes, layered shifts, kimono blouses, and poncho tops emerged as the key takeaways from the collection.
What: Wild Wild West
Who: Label Ritu Kumar
A veteran with a strong value proposition that has set her apart from the rest and still kept her relevant to the consumer of today, Ritu Kumar presented her Winter Festive 2018 collection for ‘Label Ritu Kumar’ at Lakmé Fashion Week.
Kumar went high on influences borrowed from Native American life complete with the rustic charm of the Inca civilization. She went ahead to incorporate it with the verve and vigour of the Wild West as well, to churn out a collection high on bohemia.
Leather braiding and clean metal accents appeared on the ensembles rich in prints that featured the tribal art works of the regions. Fabrics such as chiffons, cottons, silks and soft crêpes lent fluidity to the garments and highlighted the female body form.
Asymmetric maxis, sparkling capelets, mini smocks, kimono style minis and off-shoulder smocked-waists, kaftans, and corduroy dungarees with printed shirt, tiny shrug were accentuated with tassels, fringes and embroidered patterns.