India Insight

Room for experimentation at Delhi fashion week

(Any opinions expressed here are not those of Thomson Reuters)

The collection that designer duo Shantanu and Nikhil displayed at the Wills Lifestyle India Fashion Week in New Delhi last week had all the right elements: it was beautiful, it had lehengas and gowns, it looked regal, it looked vintage. It was an instant hit and a big “sold out” note adorned the door of their stall the very next day. Still, a guest remarked, “it didn’t do it for me.”

That’s the way it goes at fashion shows. Most established designers take the safer path, creating garments in their signature styles and adhering to what the world wants now. Few designers experiment or create avant-garde clothing or try something different than what the market knows it wants and would pay to get.

Take Anand Bhushan’s show, “Broken”. The audience looked confused. Did they like what he made? Maybe, but how many of them will buy it? His clothes were made of leather, plastic and acrylic, and he used copper binding. Some of the pieces were welded together. His skirts, gowns, crop tops and jackets were textured and edgy.

“My woman is completely different front the usual anarkali type, and she doesn’t wear all those kind of clothes.” Bhushan said.

A large part of the Indian fashion industry is bridal and traditional wear. And traditionally, Bollywood has set out fashion rules and trends. The tonnes of copied lehengas and saris in markets like Chandni Chowk in New Delhi are proof that customers want what Kareena Kapoor or Aishwarya Rai are wearing.

Fashion Week: The one to watch out for

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Models show Aneeth Arora creations on day four of the Wills Lifestyle India Fashion Week in New Delhi on Saturday, March 16, 2013. REUTERS/Arnika Thakur Models showcase Aneeth Arora creations on day four of the Wills Lifestyle India Fashion Week in New Delhi on Saturday, March 16, 2013. REUTERS/Arnika Thakur
A model shows an Aneeth Arora creation on day four of the Wills Lifestyle India Fashion Week in New Delhi on Saturday, March 16, 2013. REUTERS/Arnika Thakur A model shows a creation by Aneeth Arora on day four of the Wills Lifestyle India Fashion Week in New Delhi on Saturday, March 16, 2013. REUTERS/Arnika Thakur

 

Beautiful clothes aside, designer Aneeth Arora’s show was remarkable for its models — they seemed to be having fun on the runway. It almost seemed like Arora’s creations let them be their usual selves.

Fashionable comfort is perhaps what makes Arora’s designs stand out. Hers are the kind of clothes that don’t require you to tuck your tummy in, or sit in a certain posture and not slouch or worry about clothes getting dirty — all this while being fashionable. Alas! The kind of clothes you don’t find easily on the runway.

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

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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.

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