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The people, events and design alliances that made 2014 a fashionable year

Written by Kimi Dangor |
December 29, 2014 1:14:31 am
Models walking in creations by designer Rohit Bal at the finale of Wills Lifestyle India Fashion Week’s Spring-Summer 2015, held in Delhi Models walking in creations by designer Rohit Bal at the finale of Wills Lifestyle India Fashion Week’s Spring-Summer 2015, held in Delhi

Collabrate became the new buzzword, designers dipped their toes into the churning waters of the World Wide Web, e-commerce portals gave us access to international labels and sustainability picked up more fashion traction. The year 2014 not only became Indian fashion’s year of garnering global acclaim, but also saw a subtle shift in sensibility where the hallmark of luxury shifted from a highly coveted monogrammed bag to a finely handwoven Kanjeevaram sari, and khadi became the epitome of cool in its “Denim India made” avatar. Here are the designers who made 2014 a memorable year for Indian fashion:

A Rewarding Year

Resortwear guru, revivalist, activist and author — Wendell Rodricks wears many hats with great aplomb, but this year, he added a few titles and honours that went beyond the descriptive. The Goa-based designer was not only conferred the Padma Shri by President Pranab Mukherjee, in recognition of his contribution to the arts, he was also bestowed the prestigious Chevalier de l’Ordre des Arts et Lettres (Knight in the National Order of Arts and Letters) by the French Minister of Culture and Communications, Aurélie Fillipetti. An additional honour by the Akhil Bharatiya Konkani Parishad and the title of Rainbow Warrior by the Kashish Film Festival made 2014 an extraordinary year for Rodricks.

Prime Postion

The short-sleeved Modi kurta become synonymous with our Prime Minister, but the dapper dresser chose to call on Mumbai-based menswear specialist Troy Costa to furnish his wardrobe for his most high-profile international jaunt yet, his visit to the US. While the reticent designer is unwilling to furnish details, Costa is rumoured to have created stylish bandhgalas, trim vests, even hand-stitched shoes for Narendra Modi. Power dressing at its best.

Store Front

Ogaan, one of India’s leading multi-designer stores, turned 25, and industry stalwarts celebrated in style. To commemorate the occasion, Kavita Bhartia of Ogaan invited designers who were a significant part of the store’s journey, to create a limited-edition collection for an exhibition titled OGAAN X 25 showcased at their Hauz Khas store in Delhi. Apart from designers such as Tarun Tahiliani, Anamika Khanna, Sonam Dubal, Rajesh Pratap Singh and Aneeth Arora of Pero, who sold their first collections at Ogaan, other notable participants of this one-of-a-kind show were Abraham & Thakore, Gaurav Jai Gupta, Namrata Joshipura, Savio Jon and Bodice by Ruchika Sachdev. A silver jubilee, indeed.

Twin Success

When it came to collaborations, 2014 saw quite a few interesting ones — between designers and web portals (Rohit Bal for Jabong), designers and labels (Anupamaa for Ekaya), filmmakers and high-street brands (Karan Johar for Vero Moda) and even between two artistic forces. For his Spring-Summer 2015 collection, Tarun Tahiliani drew inspiration, quite literally, from the works of
the Singh Twins, London-based artist siblings Amrit and Rabindra, renowned for reviving the art of miniature painting and juxtaposing it with modern iconography. Tahiliani, who’s always been partial to prints, translated their detailed artworks into digital prints that adorned stylish separates for both women and men. The colours were bright, the print placements were precise and the collaboration between fashion and art was a runway success.

Exhibit G

A decade into design, Gaurav Gupta is not only a force to reckon with in Indian fashion, but also an emerging global presence. This year saw him dress fashionistas on international red carpets, roll out an affordable collection for Jabong, launch a flagship store in Mumbai and celebrate his 10th year in fashion with a unique art show. “Paradigm Shift”, a medley of fashion and art, co-curated by Gupta and Delhi Art Gallery’s Kishore Singh, documented the designer’s journey so far. Installations, wall text, interactive screens, video projections and iconic pieces from Gupta’s various collections gave viewers a peek into the story behind the man and his brand.

French Kiss

He is a Paris Fashion Week regular now and even owns an apartment in the city of lights, having lived there since his stint as creative director at Paco Rabanne. So it was only fitting that Manish Arora opened a flagship store in the French capital. Located between the Jardin des Tuileries and Rue Saint-Honore, the psychedelic style haven is an embodiment of Arora’s zany fashion and will further consolidate his position as a global designer par excellence.

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