The moment the first tinkling of anklets wafted in the air along with a woman’s laughter fading in and fading out and Arabic rap in the venue set up at DLF Emporio, one knew there will be ample drama to rivet fashion audiences who made an appearance despite clogged Delhi streets. The finale show on Day Four of BMW India Bridal Week by JJ Valaya was expected to be sparkling and the designer didn’t disappoint. Just after the golden chandeliers lit up, the designer delivered a collection journeying the Moroccan timeline in a variety of fabrics including crepe, dupion, georgettes and velvets with dabka and zardozi work. His colour palette ranged from red, blue, mauve and pink to metallic and neutral tones. Like all other times, everything was cut and sewn skillfully, with not a stitch out of line. But, while most of the clothes — lehengas paired with long bandhgalas, anarkalis, saris, achkans paired with short jackets for men — looked gorgeous (it was still a JJ Valaya show), they echoed his previous collections. Only this time they were shown in the garb of a story of nautch girls and the culture of music and dance in the country paired with Moroccan influences. Actor Shraddha Kapoor walked the runway without heels (she pulled a muscle while shooting) as the showstopper in a blazing yellow and unimpressive sari paired with a short jacket.
Just before Valaya took to the stage with a show that delivered plenty of commercial viability, the earlier show by Meera and Muzaffar Ali, saw the designers stick to their age-old approach. Sugary pastels and glossy neutrals were embellished with zardozi, pearl-work and chikankaari on layered shararas, saris and anarkalis. It was interesting to see chiffons merge with brocades and velvets in the duo’s clothes. But while we enjoyed the kaleidoscope of textures, it was also a predictable collection that showcased nothing exceptionally out of the box. Another big flaw was that showstopper Pernia Qureshi’s purple gharara, which seemed to have been created for regular tall models. If it was supposed to be the way it was — a farshi gharara — the audience needed to see that. Qureshi collected all the pleats together, lifted them and walked with much difficulty. She clearly looked uncomfortable.
However, what bound the two shows together were some fine permutations and combinations of threadwork. Both designers seemed to have cut down on bling a little as compared to their earlier shows and focused more on embroidery and handiwork. While Valaya used Fez embroidery, with highly graphic and geometric designs, Meera and Muzaffar used delicate chikankari. They also combined intricate threadwork with silverwork to enhance the chikankari.