Peplum, ruffles, fascinators: Delhi Fashion Week, not the Royal Ascot

October 9, 2012

It is not often that Indian designers do evening gowns and dresses without using any Indian elements. Designer duo Gauri and Nainika are two of the few who do.

Their show on day four of the Wills Lifestyle India Fashion Week in Delhi could as well have been a day at the races, with bold ruffles, mermaid cuts, pencil dresses, flares, slits and peplum.

“In England, you have the Royal Ascot, so we started out with that as out inspiration, but we wanted to use more of white,” Nainika said.

The monochrome collection with cream and ivory gowns, dresses and jumpsuits, had a hint of old Hollywood, but with a contemporary twist. The duo’s designs draw inspiration from Audrey Hepburn, Grace Kelly and Hollywood romantic films.

“We have always loved Cecil Beaton’s work. When he designed these outfits for ‘My Fair Lady’, he did this black-and-white collection,” said Nainika. “We have always loved that since we were kids.”

“It is day wear so it is white, something that is very refreshing,” said Gauri. Gauri and Nainika designs have been worn by Bipasha Basu and Kareena Kapoor, and have been spotted at Cannes on Aishwarya Rai and Minisha Lamba.

While Gauri and Nainika’s models walked under a dramatic spotlight, designer Aneeth Arora’s models tossed back flower bouquets at the audience. They looked like travellers on a sunny day, the kind who shop at vintage stores, pick flowers and probably keep a journal.

Her collection was simple, pleasant and very wearable. There were frocks, peasant tops, tiny dresses worn with distressed denims, vintage denim jackets worn over dresses and styled with striped bags and flowers. And all worn with ballerinas.

Arora, who designed some pieces for the cast of Mira Nair’s “The Reluctant Fundamentalist,” is known for the use of organic fabric. Her clothes said exactly what her label does, “Pero” – “to wear” in Marwari.

History and Moroccan inspirations made appearances on Monday. Designer Vineet Bahl’s collection was inspired by his stay at The Royal Mansour luxury hotel in Marrakech.

Drawing from the whirling dervishes, the collection featured voluminous anarkali-style kurtas worn over vintage lace churidars. The designer used Indian handlooms embellished in gold metal thread embroidery.

“I think the idea of Indian wear comes out very beautifully if you have a lot of layers,” he said.

Designer Malini Ramani, with her quirky sensibilities, was quite a hit with the audience. The collection, which featured kaftans, swimwear, maxis and jumpsuits, had Indian block prints paired with African bead work, motifs from Mexico, threads from Syria and shells from Tibet.

“It’s a combination of cultures from all over the world, it had something from everywhere, from India, from Africa, from Morocco, from Mexico,” said the designer, known for her hippie-inspired designs.

The collection, priced between 8,000 and 30,000 rupees, was meant for the “fun” woman, she said… “Somebody who likes to embrace their culture, but yet likes to look feminine and sexy and have fun. … It’s not for girls who are, like, wearing little black dresses.”

Here’s some advice that she gave: “Never throw out your animal prints as they always come back. Don’t even throw out your bell bottoms. Even that comes back.”

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