Designer Alert!

The recently concluded Lakme Fashion Week in Mumbai was a grand affair, what with the best of India’s established and upcoming designers showcasing beautiful attires with much elan. Kavita Shyam picks a few designers with whom we indulged in a quick chat on their collection and more on their fashionable fare…

Showcasing at Lakme Fashion Week, do you feel more in connect with the event now:
This is my first year showcasing at Lakme Fashion Week and I feel blessed to have had such a wonderful opportunity to present my creations to the public.

 Your spring summer collection:  ‘Tri – Faceted’ is a collection of evening dresses and separates inspired by the geometric lines & architecture of the famed self taught Japanese Architect Tadao Ando. It is commonly said about erstwhile truck driver and boxer “Ando’s architectural style is said to create a haiku effect, emphasizing nothingness and empty space to represent the beauty of simplicity.” I have taken on the challenging task of translating some of those ideas into designing accouterments.

I have used geometry to generate minimalist lines, bold forms and subtle textures; teaming the basic contours with colour blocking in rich, bold and vibrant shades contrasted with greys and blacks.

Lakme has a pre-required statement that you have to follow, but as a designer do you prefer finding a muse, an inspiration and then working around it or designs are a free flowing process: I spend my free time researching, reading and photographing different things. My inspiration for a collection is usually something that I have come across that fascinates and excites me. When inspiration for the next collection strikes, I almost immediately start visualizing what the clothes will look like. Then I delve deeper into the subject, research some more and then begin sketching. It is a very organic process and often I go back and forth between research and design. But yes, to answer your question, I do find it extremely important to look at something to inspire my design. It helps add a new dimension to each collection and gives a narrative to the design process.

You doing anything with this collection that is different from what you usually like to do: The last collection I did was an entirely black and white collection. This collection is a play on color and has a completely new colour palette to it.

Fabrics, styles, cuts, embellishments, colors, you have used for the collection. Also you predictions for the season: This season I worked with three color palettes – starting with bright orange and fuchsia, then going into deeper cobalt blue and violet and a dramatic shift into moodier charcoal grey and black. Since this is primarily an evening wear collection, I have used a variety of silks – ranging from locally available hand woven silks to refined chinese silk twills and silk georgettes. Geometric cutouts are an element that is echoed through most of the collection. You will see them in both subtle and exaggerated forms. Since its Summer I kept the embellishments to a bare minimum using geometric beadwork in some key pieces and focused on fabric texturing for my remaining pieces.

Where is the ‘Veda Raheja’ woman vacationing this summer: I would picture a ‘Veda Raheja’ woman vacationing somewhere in the Mediterranean belt or relaxing in a luxurious resort.

Is there a particular ritual, superstition that you follow right before your show! Like perhaps you like to have a biryani or Pepperoni Pizza before the show: The day of the show is generally so chaotic, however I make sure that I have 2 minutes of this time to breathe and relax myself before going out there.

A clotheshorse according to you and the show-stopper for your collection: This could be any of the above as long as she brings her personality to the clothes. It is key that the design aesthetic of the brand is in sync with the personality of its muse. Monica Dogra, the muse and show- stopper for this season is spunky, edgy, and has effortless style.

Inspiration for your latest collection: The inspirations for my collections are invariably different genres of art and architecture.

What’s next for you: For now I am working towards getting this collection into stores. Then it will be time to work on the Autumn- Winter collection and I also hope to do a menswear line soon.

5 minutes with designer Anushka Khanna
You’re showcasing at Lakme Fashion Week, do you feel more in connect with the event now:

Lakme Fashion Week is one of the most reputed fashion weeks in our country. This is my fourth season with LFW and their team has always supported me throughout my growth as a designer.

Your spring summer collection: My latest collection is called ‘Boom Boom Bloom’. The idea of clothes that can be trans-seasonal was one of the inspirations behind these designs. I wanted to create a collection that can be worn through the entire year and not anchor to one particular season.

Lakme has a pre-required statement that you have to follow, but as a designer do you prefer finding a muse, an inspiration and then working around it or designs are a free flowing process: Every season has a different thought process behind the inspirations. In the past I have collaborated with artists to create whole collections. This year i was inspired by a photograph of my mother in the Seventies, this really set off the idea of dark, almost moody florals. I’ve taken that motif through print and embellishment.

Are you doing anything with this collection that is different from what you usually like to do: Boom Boom Bloom is a blend of floral and abstract that come together to create a unique look. I have definitely tried to evolve as a designer but have maintained my signature strengths of embellishments, bead work and classic silhouettes.

Fabrics, styles, cuts, embelishments, colours, you have used for the collection: For this collection the colours I have predominantly used are Burgandy, Olive, Burnt Orange, Gold Lame etc. Embellishments like beadwork, threadwork, cutwork and sequin detailing complete the looks. Floral motifs & prints and metallic influence are predicted to rule this season

Where is the ‘Anushka Khanna’ woman vacationing this summer: The French Riviera or Monaco would be the ideal destination for vacationing this summer

Is there a particular ritual, not necessarily religious or superstitious, that you follow right before your show? Like perhaps you like to have a biryani, dal chawal or Pepperoni Pizza before the show: I dont have a ritual in particular but i do like to spend a lot of time with my family and close friends as this helps calm me down right before my show.

A clotheshorse according to you and your show-stopper: I did not have a celebrity showstopper for my collection. My finale garment is something i concentrated on, it was a orange one shoulder gown with heavy embellishments and beadwork.

What has been the inspiration for your latest collection: The inspiration for my latest collection Boom Boom Bloom was some of my mothers old photographs. As soon as i had seen those i knew i wanted to do florals this season but in darker tones.

5 minutes with designer Nikhil Thampi
You’re showcasing at Lakme Fashion Week, do you feel more in connect with the event now: Yes, definitely. This has been my fifth year with Lakme Fashion Week and the feeling is absolutely wonderful.

So what’s your spring summer collection about: My spring summer collection depicts the power of the sexes and their freedom to uninhibited expression. The two main key elements used are the zip detailing and rose gold metallic flowers.

Lakme has a pre-required statement that you have to follow, but as designer do you prefer finding a muse, an inspiration and then working around it or designs are a free flowing processI generally work with an inspiration and follow a particular theme. However, I firmly believe that fashion should be a free flowing process.

Are you doing anything with this collection that is different from what you usually like to do: I always work towards surprising my audiences by presenting them with different collections at any given point of time. Through our label we try to provide both men and women with a wardrobe filled with variety.

Fabrics, styles, cuts, embellishments, colors, you have used for the collection: With regard to colours, it is definitely pastels all the way. Colours such as rose pinks, dusty nudes and purple orchids are a good prediction for this season. Also, boyfriend trousers and shirts on women are something to look out for!

Where is the ‘Nikhil Thampi’ woman vacationing this summer: Some place breezy and bright; maybe the mountains or shuttling her way through the busy lanes of a fashion city.

Is there a particular ritual, not necessarily religious or superstitious, that you follow right before your show: Before anything important in my life, I religiously seek the blessings of my late grandparents. This is something that I have always done and will continue to do in the future.

A clotheshorse according to you and your show-stopper: As pioneers of fashion, we tend to always keep fashion for us in the forefront. In spite of being the ‘Bollywood Boy’, I would love to see celebrities come down in support during my fashion shows.

The inspiration for your latest collection: The collection was an amalgamation of new-age, urbane sophistication highlighting elements to depict a woman’s personalities. ‘Love & let love’ was the thought that dominates this compilation and traced the transition of an individual breaking free from the shackles of social acceptance and showcasing their true identities.

What’s next for you: The next step will include expansion of the brand, going international (fingers crossed) and cool, interesting collaborations.

5 minutes with designer Anita Dongre
You’re showcasing at Lakme Fashion Week, do you feel more in connect with the event now: I’ve been showcasing at Lakme Fashion Week for a couple of years now and it surely stands as one of the most promising platforms for designers and a brewing ground for creativity, fashion and innovation. Each year is so much more progressive than the previous one- so many new designers, so much more talent, sustainable fashion being brought to the fore-front, fashion going digital- its not just about only showcasing your collection on the ramp.

So what’s your spring summer collection about: My Lakme Fashion Week collection is a celebration of the glorious cotton weaves of Varanasi. Its a tribute to the rich Indian culture and textiles. Elegant and understated, the collection is an eclectic melange of pret separates matched with couture elements for a boho luxury feel. The beautiful application of this simple fabric through a variety of patterned waves and light embroideries injects an element of freshness in the collection. I have consciously stayed away from heavy embellishments or embroidery for a simple elegant summer look. Even the color palette has a surreal vintage charm with hues of old rose, powder blues, buttercup yellows and lots of white seen in the collection

Lakme has a pre-required statement that you have to follow, but as a designer do you prefer finding a muse, an inspiration and then working around it or designs are a free flowing process: My muse has always been the modern independent urban woman. She’s progressive in her thought process yet very Indian at heart. She seeks a blend of functionality and fantasy in her fashion choices and is super confident in her skin. There is true beauty in a woman who believes in herself and has the determination to turn her dreams into reality- that’s my muse!

Are you doing anything with this collection that is different from what you usually like to do: As I mentioned, I’ve kept the LFW collection very contemporary chic highlighted with cotton weaves of Varanasi. The fact that its understated and elegant yet so chic is what sets it apart. It resonates with the beliefs and ideologies of a modern Indian woman. Beauty in simplicity.

Fabrics, styles, cuts, embelishments, colours, you have used for the collection: Tonal embroidery and subtle bead-work lend charm to the collection. As I said, no heavy embellishments or embroidery. Silhouettes move from straight cuts to flares with geometric patterns as a key element in the collection. A very refreshing summer friendly color palette has been used- Old rose, powder blues, yellows and whites dominate a collection of column gowns, flared pants, crop tops, voluminous skirts etc

Where is the ‘Anita Dongre’ woman vacationing this summer: She’s most likely to be romancing the beauty of Europe this summer.

Is there a particular ritual, not necessarily religious or superstitious, that you follow right before your show: Say a little prayer.

A clotheshorse according for you and who is your showstopper: Dia Mirza was the showstopper for my LFW Varanasi Weaves collection. I have always admired Dia as a person- shes a keen philanthropist and a supporter of sustainable energy and fashion- Dia reinforces the values of an Anita Dongre woman- a woman whose beauty lies in her strength and determination, her ability to dream and her desire to soar.

What has been the inspiration for your latest collection: Rajasthan has been a strong inspirational force for me. I spent my growing up years there and am utterly fascinated with the splendor of their architecture, the colorful and rich heritage, the busy bazaars, the women …everything about that place inspires me.

What’s next for you: Am currently preparing for my show at Wills India Fashion Week in Delhi on 30th March , where i’ll be showcasing my Autumn Winter collection ” An Urban Folk Tale”

5 minutes with designer Urvashi Joneja
You’re showcasing at Lakme Fashion Week, do you feel more in connect with the event now:
Lakme Fashion week is a great platform for new designers. And it’s an amazingly well coordinated and well organized event which makes it even better for me.

Your spring summer collection:

The collection termed “Unchained” took its inspiration from finding beauty in constriction, and freedom from restrictions and rules. In particular, the collection draws its inspiration from the extreme and prohibitive societal and cultural practices that have defined beauty, such as the “Lotus feet” (Chinese foot binding). Form draping, deconstruction and creative patternmaking are key components that have lent to the silhouettes of this collection. Yards of fabric have been twisted precariously to make rope that has been used as an embellishment, while unique textures and leather cutwork also add to the detailing on the garments. The result is a look that is modern and unrestrictive.

Lakme has a pre-required statement that you have to follow, but generally do you, as a designer prefer finding a muse, an inspiration and then working around it or do you think design should be a free flowing process: Design, for me, is a free flowing process, and what I start out with is hardly reminiscent of what I end up with. It is about growing everyday, as a designer, with the inspiration and interpreting it in a new and better way. As for a muse, I think every real and strong woman, be it on the street, in a magazine, or in the media, serves as an inspiration for me. Their stories serve as an inspiration.

Is the collection different from what you usually like to do: I have experimented with textures and fabric more in this collection, and I have loved my process of design evolution.

 Fabrics, styles, cuts, embelishments, colours, you have used for the collection. Also you predictions for the season: I have used contrasting fabrics like georgettes, chanderis, raw silk and duppion silk. The color story is mainly black and white with shades of orchid and metallics thrown in. I think the monochrome color story is big this season.

Where is the ‘Urvashi Joneja” woman vacationing this summer: In a quaint location be it in India or abroad. Close to nature.

Is there a particular ritual, not necessarily religious or superstitious, that you follow right before your show: Lots of coffee, lots!

Clotheshorse according to you and your show-stopper: I did not have a showstopper.

What’s next for you: An exciting new collection and a new season, and taking the current collection forward. I am exploring a lot of new ideas with fabrics that I am looking forward to, for the new season.

5 minutes with designer Sonaakshi Raaj
Showcasing at Lakme Fashion Week, do you feel more in connect with the event now:
Absolutely, this is my third season with them. I have seen immense growth, had great response and it sure is an amazing platform.

Your spring summer collection:  It’s feminine, for the woman of today. Its inspired from the Broadway fashion in terms of the look, cuts, detailing, the cutout backs etc.

Lakme has a pre-required statement that you have to follow, but as a designer do you prefer finding a muse, an inspiration and then working around it or designs are a free flowing process: Design is vital and all other things are secondary which follow.

Anything differnt with this collection than what you usually do: Each collection is an extension of what I like to wear, my style. Here we have newer drapes in sari gowns, cuts, use of sheer and embroidery.

Fabrics, styles, cuts, embellishments, colors, you have used for the collection. Also you predictions for the season: Fluid fabrics, satin, georgettes, sheer, tulles in spring, fresh hues. Colours like moss green, aqua green, corals, turquoise will be seen. Intricate detailing with beads and thread, stone, appliqué work are a big on my designs. This season will see a lot of bustiers with sari-gowns or high waisted skirts or zippers on sari-gowns.

Where is the ‘Veda Raheja’ woman vacationing this summer: At the destination weddings in Bali or Istanbul.

A clotheshorse according to you and the show-stopper for your collection: All the girls are superb. I love Deepika and Sonam. My show stopper Prachi Desai is a friend, she is feminine and young.

Inspiration for your latest collection: Anything dramatic, young and fun.

What’s next for you: Lots in the pipeline. Wait and watch! 

So here’s how the fashion designers envelop you in their stylish folds.