DIVERSITY is being invited to the party; inclusion is being asked to dance,” goes a famous quote by inclusion strategist Verna Myers, doing the rounds of social media these days. In an era when thinking audiences are questioning the relevance of vanity-fuelled and celebrity-driven fashion shows, a few designers at Lakme Fashion Week (LFW) Summer/Resort 2019 sought to widen the circumference of the charmed circle and have a more democratic dialogue. Over the weekend, the LFW venue at Jio Gardens saw statuesque models walk the ramp with Bollywood showstoppers, sportspersons, influencers and “real” people from different walks of life. Here’s our pick of people moments and trends:
Fashion’s fascination with “real” people isn’t newfound. Yet when a cross-section of noteworthy voices in the fraternity add to the inclusivity chorus, one sits up and listens. International Woolmark Prize winner Ruchika Sachdeva of Bodice presented her first runway show post her victory and the highly anticipated show didn’t disappoint with the clothes or the conversations that it sparked. Sponsor Reebok Sole Fury’s motto “Split From the Pack” might’ve been the starting point, but Sachdeva’s pick of “challengers” of different shape, size and sexual orientation made the show interesting. With a motley mix that included actors like Jim Sarbh, Kalki Koechlin and Tillotama Shome, photographer Anushka Menon, musician Geetu Hinduja, stylist Ekta Rajani, chef Pablo Naranjo Agular, cancer survivor Tahira Kashyap and designer Sumiran Kabir Sharma, among others, Sachdeva made a strong case for egalitarian fashion. The line-up of 40 everyday people from various professions was a perfect brand fit for the designer, who has made Normcore clothing her calling and used the LFW platform to launch her menswear line.
Her trademark pleats, sharp tailoring, understated silhouettes, and striking colours made this collection of wardrobe basics far from basic. Elsewhere, Rina Singh of Eka chose theatre artists, bloggers, singers, athletes, and surfers — including the likes of wrestler Geeta Phogat, actor Sayani Gupta and chef Sarah Todd — to present her summer line, lending the collection an instant relatability and realness. A continuation of her series ’Lived in’, which documents the unique lives of the women who wear Eka, Singh says she makes clothes meant to be worn in real life by real women. “In today’s time and age, following stereotypes of shape and size is regressive. I don’t design for the red carpet and glitterati, so this was more reason for me to stand by something I strongly believe in,” says Singh.
Designer Narendra Kumar’s collaboration with Alcis Sports was not only about the RElan GreenGold fabric used, made from recycled plastic PET bottles, but also about making stylish sportswear available to all. Among the lithe models dressed in sportswear and athleisure were a selection of influencers and plus-sized models. Also, bringing his non-conformist point of view to the ramp was Sumiran Kabir Sharma of Anaam, a big proponent of genderless fashion. The designer tied up with Rangsutra, a community-owned craft company, to present a gender-fluid tie-dye collection. Boys wore cowled dresses and saris, and showstoppers – hairstylist Sapna Bhavnani and Kabir Chaudhary – exchanged garments on the ramp to display the versatility of Sharma’s clothes.
Finale designers Shantanu and Nikhil Mehra staged a spectacle at Sophia College for Women on Sunday night, closing the week with showstopper and Lakme brand ambassador Kareena Kapoor Khan wearing an understated yet feminine black column gown with criss-cross leather detailing on the bodice. The rest of their collection titled ’Recruit’ followed their ’anti-trend’ and inclusive philosophy and presented their modern Indian warrior woman.
Reds, blacks and hints of metallic met in a collection where power shoulders, military jackets, draped kurtas and billowing capes were teamed with epaulettes, architectural lines and leather harness belts and accessories – striking a delicate balance between the feminine and the masculine. Menswear designer Kunal Rawal ’Future Past’ too inserted some womenswear pieces in his collection. Having recently dressed close friends Sonam Kapoor and Mira Rajput Kapoor, Rawal extended the androgyny vibe to his LFW collection too. Female models donned hooded vests, striped kurtas, over-shirts and slim pants — all within Rawal’s tailored trajectory.
Playing to the fashion week gallery with all his mega-watt charm was Ranveer Singh, who staked a claim on the ramp at Raghavendra Rathore’s show alongside the showstoppers Jhanvi Kapoor and Anil Kapoor on Saturday. The Gully Boy star not only walked and performed for LoveGen’s collection inspired by his forthcoming film, but also proceeded to hold court in the Jio Garden quadrangle with a live rap rendition, belting out his hit Apna