Lakme Fashion week 2015

Calm and Collected

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Dhruv Kapoor
Going the minimal route, Dhruv Kapoor (not to be confused with DRVV.. this one is a Kapoor with Two O’s.. the Kal Ho na Ho confusion) with his offering went part sporty part unisex route, which came together quite cohesively. The collection played up with visual textures esp the snakeskin combined with sporty and masculine silhouettes that sort of was a uniquely interesting approach that I personally found intriguing. It would be interesting to see if he explores that facet of his aesthetics of combining two such poles apart elements within a minimal aesthetic and still make it work. One to watch out for!!

 

Huemn
The sporty luxe ones, Huemn’s color palette reminded me of Sibling’s menswear collection. With their usual sporty oversized aesthetics in place, this time around the designer duo of Huemn went a bit of a feminine route compared to their most recent previous outings. While the usual layered jackets were present, it was the gowns that were an unusual feature this time around. The collection also featured a multitude of suits, and played up with sheer elements within skirts, tops and dresses. But my favorite piece has to be the bleeding pocket long shirt that was just perfect and the sheer shirt with an oversized jacket.  The duo’s sneaker styling was done to perfection complimenting the clothing. While it was unusual to see the brand go in this direction it would have to be seen how their sporty chic philosophy evolves.

 

Love Birds
Oversized..check, sporty chic..check, Love Birds did everything that a sport influenced collection needed and boy even going down the expected route, they did good. Boxy and oversized silhouettes, clean tailoring and good palette at their disposal, it was to their credit that managed to produce a decent collection (it is really hard to mess up especially in terms of proportions within the oversized look). Also what was commendable was the interjection of stripes at intervals within to keep the collection from being monotonous and repititive of just a series of solid combos. Loved the drop crotch pants the designer herself was wearing as well I do like my bit of oversized and lose silhouette.

 

DRVV
Possibly the most chicest outing from DRVV that struck the perfect balance between commercial viability and runway presentation. DRVV’s collection MMXVpointIV – Collary was a multitude of chic looks that, one after the other, continued to impress. The collection had dresses, skirts, suits, shift dresses and what was interesting was how each one had a different makeup than others. Oscillating between greys and blacks, DRVV pretty much nailed the whole collection being minimal in approach yet lending the drama quotient on the ramp. Simple pieces yet effective approach, while some of the silhouettes went the similar route, others definitely made you sit up and take notice with their interesting shapes. It is probably the best one I have seen from him. Take a bow!!

 

Munkee See Munkee Do
Ok I have to admit!! the first time I heard the name, I though Oh no!! yet another Quirkbox but I was pleasantly surprised by the restrained approach the brand had and its sporty aesthetics that demanded a second look. Their collection seemed more to make a sort of statement towards gun control and unrest (something similar to Iman Ahmed last year) However it was interesting to see a younger take on the similar issue compared to a veteran. While there were a few odd pieces, the brand had its heart in the right place and that what came through. The gun prints and embroidery over structural and boxy silhouettes were cleverly played within the context. The approach was clean and the chic. Pastel as well as black and white hues dominated the collection. The styling was on point and thankfully they did not go overboard in an runway-drama attempt letting the clothes shine. A good outing

 

Square Loop
Possibly my favorite within the sporty luxe category because of the fact that designer made it all look so chic without going too boxy while keeping it sporty. A very hard balance to strike what was more impactful was the use of accessories. Playfully with smart backpacks and bags, the complimenting accessories definitely completed the collection as a whole rather than just being an add on. A clean palette of neutrals, Square Loop’s debut outing definitely was one of the pleasant surprises that I discovered while going through the fashion week. It was sporty chic probably at its best… reminded me of Huemn but the designer here seemed to have a distinct voice of her own which was different. It would be interesting to see in what direction will she steer the brand into.

 

Nikhil Thampi
Nikhil Thampi is just not yet ready to give up his love for metallics. While he did start off with a bit of pieces that resonated his works before the metallic became his ‘thing’, and got me a little worried there, he soon switched gears towards what he liked best. What I liked about him as a designer as to how far he is exploring within the similar metallic vibe with a multitude of different approaches towards clothing. The bralet-white pants look, the hot black pant suit, the oversized metallic jacket paired expertly with a pair of streamlined cigarette pants, an oversized big metallic parka inspired jacket, there were some very fun high moments within his presentation for which he definitely needs to be lauded for. The gowns… well he does have his clientele within the red carpet appearance making celebrities, but his other ones were much more fun. I found  the dangling earrings a wee bit distracting in some looks but the slick back hair was the perfect look that the collection needed for the clothes to shine.

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The Color Rioters

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Candied
Hopping onto the technology bandwagon was the newly engaged Masaba for her latest collection ‘Sugar Plum’. Where most designers have been shying away from inviting bloggers and kin to the shows in order to delay the piracy of design, trust Masaba to take the road less travelled. She not only presented a candified collection but updated it live on instagram feed for millions of viewers to watch in the comfort of their own space. The collection harked back to the Masaba’s own colorful roots of her earlier collections with her signature bold prints in mini flared skirts, tiny cropped tops, printed piped shirts all in candy colours. While I wasn’t too sure of the Popsicle print used, the florescent triangle prints were my favorite. Also was the much more cutesy candy clutch carried by the showstopper Nargis. Another favorite was the long white shirt with the pants and a long dress with print and brown solid and a yellow turban (mimicking the sweet print itself). Some fun stuff but  Masaba we have seen you do better and you have raised the bar of expectations pretty high which you exceed everytime, but this one. But that’s ok..tomorrow is always another day.

Dilli 6
Quirkbox is one of those brands who do tend to sort of keep me on the edge as to what will they come up with next. Everytime they showcase, I go like they have exhausted all options, what next? and they do come up with something. This time around finding inspiration in the city of Delhi, Quirkbox tried to map the spirit of the colorful city onto the clothes within their own aesthetics. Vehicals, buildings and landmark things all made an appearance within the prints that were used within some fun silhouettes ranging from jackets and dresses to jumpsuits and shorts. What I liked about the fact was that the pieces could be taken off from any look and paired with another but essentially give off a similar vibe. The collection was pretty much seamless and each piece (not look) could be taken off and styled to any individualistic tastes. While I wasn’t too sure of the copter prints (they seemed a bit immature compared to rest of the much developed prints) Quirkbox even made it look good by pairing it with the colorful jacket of prints of a building which I absolutely loved.

Good boy gone bad
High on drama, Kunal Rawal’s one of the prominent things was an introduction of a reflective fabric that was used. Starting off as spunky menswear featuring badass prints blending into a much more eastern silhouettes with a dark and edgy look. Tees, Jackets, hoodies, drop crotch pants merged into Kurtas bandhgalas and sherwanis featuring in a multitude of prints, solids and embellished treatements. The geometric print vests were another major highlight of the show. While I was vary of one of the looks of a printed dhoti with a jacket, the designer brought a cool edgy vibe to the  desi menswear succeeding to a certain degree. Imagine a desi bad boy who is sophisticated and pays importance to his looks.

Meh!!
For a designer who has probably trend setted beach wear with his goan aesthetics in India, I was rather disappointed with the Wendell Rodrick’s latest offering. The same old color blocks, the bold colors, the beachy silhouettes, the designer could have designed this collection in his sleep. With his similar aesthetics, it was nothing like we have not seen from the designer in the past therefore I probably expected more from him than the usual fare. Anyone familiar with his work could tell it was him without batting an eyelid and not because of the design philosophy. It was more like Rodricks dejavu all over again!!

Strictly come Charming
Sharp tailoring, a bit of HSY moment with the Tee boys and a bit of Nauman Arfeen thrown in with interjection of womenswear within a menswear collection, Raghuvendra Rathode’s collection had its moments and roller coaster variations. While there were suits and sherwanis alike, the color palatte seem to fluctuate from pastels to sharper tones to finally ending a on a sophisticated palette. However one thing that could not be overlooked was the certain charm and the impeccable suave vibe the collection had for the modern man, almost an answer to Sabyasachi’s modern royal woman. While the interjection of womenswear seemed odd (why do designers do that!!) it did not take away from the whole collection, thankfully!! Simple, clean and very fuss free (not drama free), that is what worked in Rathode’s favor playing with different fabrics and exercising control over not going the usual embroidered route.

Popping it
Ah! the veterans.. Pankaj and Nidhi have this thing about them. Everytime anyone tries to slot them in, they come up with something that is essentially them within aesthetic and design philosophy but removed from their last outing. This time around for spring, while their collection featured signature applique and cutwork, the silhouette seemed much more relaxed than usual. Furthermore was the use of pastels in powder blues and mint greens to poppy tones of corals, limes and neon yellows. What was also interesting was that, as far as I have seen their work, this was the first time the designer duo dabbled in black and white bold graphic prints though it wasn’t far from their aesthetic nature of how to go about it. Presenting an interesting mix of things with graphics, pastels and poppy colors, the collection’s range seemed to have something for everyone. Dresses, seperates, jackets all made an appearance within familiar and interesting silhouettes that were perfect for summers. While it lacked the usual ‘punch’ that is usually associated with them in terms of contrasting elements, I think there was a conscious effort on their part to move away from their usual self.

*Images by Sagar Ahuja and House of Masaba

The Organics

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While I do have a certain affinity towards an organic and deconstructed sensibility, seeing it over and over and over again so much so that it dilutes the whole charm of it, is rather a turn off. While some of them did go the usual route, some definitely stood out.

Vaishali done better
A big part of me had a deja vu of sorts seeing this collection, possibly because of the use of organic fabrics that was very similar in language compared to Vaishali S. However Ujjawal in his possible debut outing, did a much better capsule that showed restraint and control with a distinct voice that is going to be interesting to see how it evolves. Like most debuts who go for this sort of fabric, Ujjawal too opted for a blue and grey palatte, nothing surprising, but what he did with them was rather commendable. The loose silhouette espescially some interesting menswear, especially the slouched suits and some crossover womenswear options it is his silhouette that oscillates between masculinity and femininity that is worth the interest. A couple of bit oversized pieces did seem odd amongst a much more relaxed but controlled outing but it is to be seen how he comes back with a full fledged and his second collection.

 

So Not the Drama
Ikai’s designer Ragini Ahuja has her distinctions clear. Marching to her own tune and with her quite the interestingly part unisex, part modern power women collection last time, this one was a much more feminine outing. Gathering inspiration from Japanese culture, Ragini’s latest outing steered clear from all the cliches and stereotypes that are associated with Japanese interpretations within fashion shows. No geisha references, no buns not even kimonos, no literal interpretations. Polka dots woven in and mixed and matched with prints was inspired by local women’s knack of mixing prints. Playing with textures, appliqued flowers and frayed hems made an appearance in the collection. With motifs like paper cranes, rising sun and hand fans were done in Japanese Shashiko stitching. Going the non literal way, Ragini’s colections exuded a certain oriental charm that wasn’t overdone fusing perfectly within the easy separates that she presented.

 

Great were-Expectations
Ah! The expectations I had from ILK after their last outing of hand holding men prints!! Shattered.. As brilliant as the last collection was, this one was as much confused palette of different sensibilities. The collection was a mish mash of 3 different things that did not sort of come together… the sketchy floral print, the 3d embroidery and the text print. While some of them worked as complete but individual pieces, my favorites being the black and white sari and the peachy text printed ensemble, the whole presentation lacked a certain cohesiveness in terms of prints. The collection did have some fun use of sheer and the textured 3d embroidery was impressive but it lacked the charm that impressed us with their debut outing

 

Blue is the Warmest Color
[Ka].[Sha] debut outing, like Ujjawal consisted of elements that this ‘organic group’ has sort of a signature developed within. The anti fit silhouette, use of hand woven/ handwoven looking fabric and cottons, blue, woven elements has become synonymous with this sort of outing, still waiting to see how far this anti fit deconstruction can be taken further by Indian designers without going too much into a Miyake territory. The collection by [Ka].[Sha] checked all the points and the common threads that run through the organics but she interjected the collection with accents of reddish orange and pale mustards. What I liked about the collection was the overlap of prints within a certain anti fit silhouettes and how she smartly played up the accents within the whole look. A balance within always catches attention. While I felt the spaced out print was rather a bit kids nightwear, the rest of the prints and fabric techniques could have been explored much more. The blue suit, the big tie and dye ensemble with orange scarves, now those were two fab statement pieces that stood out in this collection. Brownie points for fun footwear.

 

The Love Hate Relationship
Sailex is one of those brands that has a distinct voice, one that is very necessary, but one that personally doesn’t sit or rather sort of challenges my sense of aesthetics as a designer. And that is a good thing. You don’t have to please everyone, but rather have a distinct voice, that will find an audience of its own. I may not like it but the thing is, it is not bad. The part laid back, part beachy and part nightwear vibe of the collection had me on the fence if I like it or not. I like the few menswear pieces, the printed pants, the cherry blossom jackets and all. The dresses, the swimwear, the layering over those silk swimwear, have seen the brand do it so many times it can probably do that in sleep. The dresses while they lack a certain ‘innovative-ness’ they had the retail and cohesive to the collection card working for them. So it is a pretty much the love hate relationship that I have with Sailex that causes me to try to look things from a different angle.

 

Same Same but Different
Vaishali S while goes for her usual comfort zone of using organic and handwoven cottons and fabrics with an aesthetic to match, it is to her credit that she tries to experiment within what she has as her signature. While she is known to go overboard with her ensembles dousing them with layers and layers of fabrics, I was pleasantly surprised to see a certain minimalism at play within dresses, jackets, tops and separates. While the saris seemed all the same, the contemporary take of shift and easy dresses was rather commendable. While her drapery did make its appearance, it was though in small doses rather than going the whole 9 yards (pun totally intended). Oscillating her palette around greys, blues, whites and madder – albiet a very organic one, I was surprised to see magenta thrown infor a good measure in a few pieces… interesting choice. Layering, another feature that comes to her, was also evident within the ensembles playing with the textures and visuals of solids and sheer.

* Images by Sagar Ahuja

Bohemian Luxury

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Do yourself a favor and just look at the collection…

There is a reason I am a fan of Sabyasachi’s much more contemporary looks and interpretations and Sabyasachi’s pret line Sabyasachi by Sabyasachi is a testament to that why. This people is what looks like a retro boho chic collection done right to pitch perfection looks like. Sabyasachi opened the Lakme fashion week with a bang that only he can. The scale, the setting at the mill and the disco laser lights all contributed to a somewhat an epic saga to the seventies.

The boho luxe collection was one of the best I have seen from the man and one can see why. The striped crop tops, the floral prints, the full skirts, the jumpsuits,even the menswear all came together for a seventies collection that paid ode to the bollywood queens of seventies Parveen Babi and Zeenat aman. The slinky sequined dresses, the floaty boho dresses, print-on-print flared pants and shirts, crystallized louche tunics, the bling was definitely on a high note playing tribute to the nightclubs and party scene of the seventies. The leather belts with lion motif on saris and dresses, the retro shades, the slick back hair, the collection that was styled to perfection also threw in a couple of sporty references within with numbered dresses that surprisingly did not look out of place (and reminded me of Tom Ford). The print on print menswear was one I have been lusting after since last season and this year he amped up the quotient with suits, bandhgalas, waistcoats worn over print on print churidar and tunic (I have tried that but not with the same prints). Many (read each) piece was bang on nailed perfectly and added to the whole colllection be it the basic seperates of the whole dress. One of the black dresses with red lining and paired up with printed pants, the gold shoes and accenting shoes on men, the mint green sequined dress are definitely worth the mention. The half and half pants, the fiery red floral pieces all just were literally effing good. Though I hated the slipper effect on men but just a minor glitch. Aiming at the younger audience, this has to be Sabyasachi’s most commercial pret collection ever.

While I still do miss the artsy Sabya from the heydays of his Frida Kahlo sensibilities, (it is still there), fashion ultimately is a business and he has grown as a designer by leaps and bounds becoming a movement towards textiles within his own right. While this collection is more closer to his earlier works than his traditional couture endeavors, one would definitely make comparasions. But obviously the evolution is going to spill over to the artsy him but the amalgamation of the two is what was presented here. Even within his va va voom glam outing there is a certain quirk of sensibilities that does shine through (more so than his recent outings) and that is what I was so happy about!! the return of the earlier Sabyasachi.

And even more why I love the collection, check out the Harpers Bazaar Shoot by Tarun Khiwal

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*Show Images by Sagar Ahuja