The edgy, thought-provoking opener of a show by designer Anamika Khanna was the perfect beginning to the latest joint edition of the FDCI x Lakme Fashion Week, that kickstarted on March 16.
The union of two giants is something the Indian fashion fraternity had been waiting for, for more than 15 years. Kolkata-based Khanna presented a crisp, almost four-minute-long showcase that made it clear that she is the reigning high priestess of Indian fashion. She created the perfect fashion film, with a beginning, a middle and an end.
“My collection is a collaboration of art and textile and will be an homage to the fact that what is created will perish one day. What is left behind is the legacy, and what matters most is what you do with it,” said Khanna.
With a video of paparazzi and glittering cameras playing on loop in the background, we saw models walk up in Khanna’s creations, which blended art and textile. Khanna is known to blend sharp western silhouettes with intricate Indian handiwork. The result is an off-shoulder asymmetrical tunic; a bralette and loose pants paired with a antifit cloak; a self-patterned white sherwani paired with a black shirt and trousers; and a dress with a thigh-high slit, topped off with a floor-length cape – all bearing intricate, highly-detailed cutwork, tassels and minute detailing, making every garment a work of art.
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Clothes aside, Khanna also took us, and by proxy the fashion fraternity, back to the drawing board. The show started off with three models clad in white, and their attire being hand-painted by visual artists Deepak Kumar Saw, Smriti Lekha Gogoi and Amlan Dutta. Towards the end, the paint was washed away by rain. We have seen rain before on the traditional ramp, in 2012, at the Milan fashion Week, during Burberry Prorsum Finale, and there was the torrential downpour that set off the Christian Dior’s 2019 Cruise collection.
Khanna, staying true to her original ‘transient, temporary’ theme, had everything – the models, the art and the clothes vanish and evaporate into thin air. All of it very evocative of the ‘ashes to ashes, dust to dust’ theme from the Bible. And if we want to hone in more of a pop culture reference, we can’t miss out on the scene from Avengers: Infinity War, where super evil villain Thanos snaps his fingers and half the humanity disintegrates.
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Khanna just doesn’t wow us with her creative flair, she also makes us ponder on the connections with the metaphysical and also breaks the myth that fashion is only about the superficial. It all might be transient, temporary, but it also leaves behind a legacy that impacts many things.
Khanna’s show brought back the high drama and flair that was missing for the last year. While the ramp and front-row shenanigans might take some time to resume, the high-energy presentation by Khanna is enough, for now, to sustain us, till we can get back to the normalcy of a physical show.