A Fine Balance

From the unconventional to the stylistically sharp,Day 2 and 3 of LFW saw younger talents steal the show yet again.

Written by Kimi Dangor | Published: August 27, 2013 3:40 am

For an event whose defining credo is “redefining the future of fashion”,Lakme Fashion Week (LFW) seems to have got the formula right,on most counts. While a dearth of big-ticket designer names may still prevent it from becoming the country’s premier fashion trade event,its rapidly growing roster of debutantes and fledgling designers has kept the flag flying season after season. The winter/festive 2013 edition of LFW has been no different. The GenNext segment has crossed the milestone of launching over 100 design proteges since its inception in 2006,and a clutch of newbie designers are displaying their prêt preparedness with promising collections.

On Day 2,accessory designer Nitya Arora of Valliyan showed her zeal for experimentation with a line inspired by the 1920s Art Deco movement. Her collection was all about statement pieces — chokers,neckpieces,long chains,danglers,bracelets,anklets,rings and brooches. Having used crystal,mother of pearl inlays,pearls as well as semi-precious stones and copper,brass and gold plating,Arora’s creations scored high on versatility. Other than a gold-plated body ornament,which the show opened with,and a bow pendant on a pearls-and-gold chain,it was the floral motifs and the star burst that formed the highlights of her show.

Arora,however,wasn’t the only accessory designer who made an impression. Culling inspiration from Indian goddesses,Shilpa Chavan’s accessories — big,bold headpieces that accompanied nathnis (nose-rings) — pushed the boundaries of tradition. Ditto for her clothes. As part of her collection “Grey Matter”,the designer drew a parallel between the sari and the lungi as she dressed male and female models in chequered silk saris. Veering towards androgyny,she paired these saris with men’s shirts. She also reconstructed the katori choli silhouette,presenting it in a shirt format. Wearability may have been a concern,but then experimentation has always been the cornerstone of the designer-cum-installation artist’s work philosophy.

And while experimentation may require a degree of fearlessness,keeping it simple isn’t always easy. “The simpler things are,the more difficult they are to perfect,” said Sailex Ngairangbam,whose collection was inspired by the Far-East with cherry blossoms galore. Sharp silhouettes such as silk crepe wrap dresses,jumpsuits,silk satin pencil skirts and blouses,trench coats and fitted trousers walked the ramp in four distinct colour groups — peacock blue,fuchsia,purple and scarlet. Sprinkled with bead work,badla embroidery and sequins in minimal doses,the collection hinted at a dressed-up winter.

As for the Day 3 line-up,the two shows that truly stood out — DRVV by Dhruv Kapur and Nupur Kanoi — had both skillfully used zipper detailing,but were otherwise a study in contrasts. While DRVV showcased an all-black line of stark silhouettes in a collection titled “Half Alive”,Kanoi’s Eccentricity Tour exhibited a colour palette that ranged from deep reds and browns to a rich sapphire in softer fabrics.

In essence too,DRVV was all about straight lines and clever construction. From a white one-collar half shirt and a satin-lapelled blazer with an Angora scarf collar,to a tube jumpsuit and a one-shoulder gown with side button closure,DRVV kept it austere and inventive,with the zip-trim theme extending to even footwear,in places.

Kanoi,on the other hand,presented a line where the detailing was definitive and transitions between colour stories were smooth. Intricate Kutchi thread embroidery,ribbon applique,pinstripe and crewel embroidery and some superb zipper detailing married biker jackets,gilets,maxi kurtas,ponchos and jumpsuits. With this technically well-executed collection,Kanoi can finally leave allegations of being “inspired” by mentor Anamika Khanna firmly in the past.

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