High chi on the catwalk
As the Lakme India Fashion Week edges closer, ANUJ KUMAR sneaks a peek at the plans of some well-known designer labels and finds traditional crafts catapulted into haute couture... .
CHI IS the word that you should add to your fashion idiolect if energy epitomises your style statement. The Ashima-Leena label is coming up with Chi - an orient fusion collection in the Lakme India Fashion Week (LIFW) to rev up the monotony of East meets West collections.
Leena Singh terms the collection as refreshing, a step beyond their famed traditional designs with immaculate embroidery and appliqué work. "We have used finest quality Chinese crepes and georgette and satins balanced with fine textured organza and silk", claims Leena.
The colour palette ranges from blue and turquoise to lime green, beige and gold, highlighting the Eastern appeal of the garments. Leena assures that while using asymmetric fronts and colours in the ensembles, care has been taken that the designs should be appropriate for every body type. The silhouettes have been borrowed from monks' cloaks, adding a Zen touch to the collection.
Ivory, zari, intricate embroidery and appliqué, which combine to form the duo's signature touch have found their place in Chi as well, but with a difference. For instance, appliqué is highlighted with miniature bamboos, and sombre patches of silk have been used to create a spice route mix. Swarovski and French knots play their usual part but they are skilfully juxtaposed with motifs.
Leena, who is on the board of the Fashion Design Council of India, describes the LIFW as a great step towards putting India on the fashion map of the world. "LIFW is a platform which has catapulted fashion into a serious business in India."
Look forward to July 23 when the duo will invigorate your looks.
ON THE same day, another Delhi based designer - Niki Mahajan, whose constant endeavour has been to nurture the umbilical relationship between the grassroots art and high fashion - is showcasing five lines to satiate your urge to be in vogue. So if there are structured coordinates with patterns in beige and shimmering silver on georgette and dupion fabric in the Geometrics line, there are saris with Indian motifs enhanced by mirrors in chiffons, knits and georgettes in Linear to raise your style axis. Lime is the aroma in Citrus, with Victorian floral printed patterns on tights and trousers.
"I have named the collection Bohemian for its largely gypsy look. Overall the collection, following the market trend, has a Western aroma with a whiff of Indian taste in the form of saris. But each sari has to pass through ten to twelve stages, which include thread work, embroidery, printing, mirror work before draping an hourglass figure," says Niki.
She considers the variety of prints in her work as her forte. "From hand block printing to vegetable dyes and customised tie-and-dye, I have used all on fabric which is principally georgette. For trousers I have used French dupion, because of its nice fall."
Regarding LIFW Niki believes that the fashion festival has generated awareness among the designers about the mammoth retail bazaar in India. "There is no point in searching for Western shores leaving the massive middle class market untapped."
Passionate about tapping a Western look on Indian soil, net a Niki outfit.
ANOTHER DESIGNER duo, Mona Lamba and Pali Sachdev are busy in celebrating life - the words that define their style avowal this LIFW. Sharing some information about their Monapali label, Mona says: "This time our collection has tribal influence with traditional Punjabi Phulkari and Bagh embroidery."
To create the tribal tang, the Kolkata-based team has used heavy mirror work, fine beads and ethnic embroidery, making fabric a non-issue for selection. Mona apprises that they are showcasing saris, kurtis, sarongs, salwars, skirts and shorts using a bright palette, with colours like red, green and silver to set the ramp on fire.
"Overall the look is fusion. We have created long skirts with less gheras, which are a neat departure from traditional lehengas, but the use of heavy embroidery, prints and embellishment keeps the conventional appeal intact."
She feels that the LIFW has made the designers realise the importance of marketing their work. "In the pursuit of creativity we tend to neglect the business element of the fashion industry." She supports hiring of agencies to market the designer creations, but as of now she has no concrete plans as far as her label is concerned.
Meanwhile, in a related development, Liberty Shoes Limited has added horsepower to the fashion bandwagon as the new associate sponsor of the Lakme India Fashion Week 2003. Liberty will be showcasing its international range of lifestyle products for this winter through an exclusive fashion show - "Liberty Revolution".
The fashion fever is soaring and the only remedy is to keep abreast with the latest.
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