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Lakme Fashion Week’s finale designer Namrata Joshipura is turning out to be the most significant designer of our times.

Written by Namrata Zakaria |
March 20, 2013 3:00:29 am

Lakme Fashion Week’s finale designer Namrata Joshipura is turning out to be the most significant designer of our times.

Each season,Mumbai’s Lakme Fashion Week (LFW) struggles to select a finale designer. The edicts are simple: it has to be a name that’s celebrated enough to draw in a paparazzi-friendly crowd (simply because none of the young ‘uns who showcase here can),or they need to be from New Delhi (since barely any clothes-smiths from the Capital present in Mumbai).

Last season,LFW had two superbly talented labels for their finale: a print-loving sack-making newbie Kallol Dutta and the texture-teasing husband-wife duo from New Delhi,Pankaj and Nidhi. Neither labels have much celebrity cred,so this was refreshing and expectedly newsworthy.

This season,a perfect balance has been struck with Namrata Joshipura. Her name checks all boxes: is from the Capital,is uber talented and is the current darling of the Bollywood red-carpet. Kareena Kapoor,Deepika Padukone,Nargis Fakhri and Parineeti Chopra are some of the many who have dressed in Joshipura’s famous sequined frocks for public appearances.

Joshipura’s label is less than a decade old in India. She first presented a collection at the Lakme India Fashion Week (when it was one fabulous entity) in 2005. It was just a handful of years after Sabyasachi had shot us through the head with his version of anti-fashion: women in glasses,faded fabric,mismatched prints,and everyone was eagerly waiting for the next big story to emerge.

Fresh from New York City,along came Joshipura. She made clothes that would’ve lured Sarah Jessica Parker and her gal pals in Sex and the City,also the name of Joshipura’s debut line. There were blacks and whites,nudes,and leather. And all of it was sourced and made in India. It was insanely chic,and perfectly seamed together. We knew the girl was on to a good thing.

In a sea of me-too design styles where vernacular handicraft,motifs and ethnicity became the pursuit of almost every revival-seeking designer,Joshipura stuck to her guns. She kept her aesthetic close to her heart and always in focus. Where is the India,she was often asked. In the technique,she coolly replied.

“Indian” did not only mean “ethnic”. Joshipura’s newer collections tried to instill that in our collective sensibilities as she turned out shift dresses in flat sequins,cotton blouses with aari paisleys and bang-on-trend sheers with high-waist panties. She used Indian embroidery techniques in a modern language and made that her insignia.

It is ironical when you consider the lady hails from Gujarat,a state renowned for its fabric and printing craftsmanship. But it’s her father’s postings in various cities (he was in the Indian Army) that made the girl seek a wardrobe that could travel everywhere with her. When she married and moved to the megapolis of New York,her global aesthetic was only refined.

Unlike most Indian designers,she wants to sell to the urban Indian and not a just handful of foreigners in famous fashion boutiques of the West. She’s already made her label famous in American department stores such as Neiman Marcus,Henri Bendel and the lovely Bergdorf Goodman.

You could say she’s been there,done that and got the T-shirt. And if the T-shirt is to be the uniform of the world,let’s have ours with Joshipura’s spangles on it.

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