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A good designer knows how to push boundaries and veteran like Anamika Khanna knows exactly that, the reason she is in Sonam Kapoor’s closet. Not defining her clothes within a certain eastern-western debate category, she attempts to explore what is at her disposal. The clothes that were to be showcased at a museum sadly had to have the change of venue. But all is not lost for good design and good clothes will and are good no matter where they are shown and that is what happened with Anamika Khanna.

With her love for Ivory and black, Khanna’s love for embroidered work was evident within the collection. Her usual attempt to blur the lines between couture and luxury pret are always interesting within her showcase that display such a variety and range that you cannot be but overwhelmed with the sheer sight of it. The silhouettes predominantly featured her signature style of hybrid silhouettes and shapes along with a few traditional ones thrown in for good measure. Jackets, boleros, dhoti pants, saris, shararas all and more was present at the showing that concluded the fashion week. Her love for draped silhouettes combined with embroidered details led to quite an interesting weight shifting effect, one that she plays off as her strength masterfully. Loved the contemporary jewellery pieces on some of the white dresses and particulary what was impressive was the collection had such a range even with a simple color palette.

Easy and versatile pieces, Khanna explores the roles of surface treatement by combining contemporary silhouettes with the use of traditional embroidery techniques – a signature that she is now more notoriously famous for. Cutting, deconstructing and re-constructing, Khanna had fun with fashion and it showed.

Such a sheer delight!!

*Images by Sagar Ahuja


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!!


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.


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.

The Color Rioters

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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.

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

On the neighbor’s turf

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Though we keep having designers of both countries showcasing at Bridal Asia, for the first time for a mainstream fashion week, designers from Pakistan were invited to showcase at the Lakme Fashion Week a/w 2014.

Sorry but I am tired of rizwan beyg showcasing similar collection. While I may like the use of truck art using it again and again in similar vein, wears off its novelty. For reviews on his previous showcasing go here or here of collections he showcased in PFDC sunsilk fashion weeks

Going the japanese way, Sania made her foray onto the mainstream Indian Fashion week through her signature prints inspired by the Japanese murals and paintings and culture with her ‘Sakura’ collection. While I did like some of the prints especially ones that included signature prints of Japanese mural style of drawings, and the cherry blossoms, the plot seemed to waiver as the collection progressed. Sania elicited a mixed response, I for one, have definitely seen her do better. Saw a few repititions, but overall Sania managed to put forward quite a chic collection that was styled well. Crop tops, slinky and bloused tunics and high waisted tailored pants (my fav ones), possibly the best of the three designers that showcased at the fashion week. While there were a few beaded, not so good, elements involved.. she did manage to pull it off quite well.

When you are showcasing at a prêt week, it just eludes me why would you want to showcase kaam-waale-joray that ventured into the shaadi territory. Zara Shahjahan in her attempt to present at the Lakme fashion week did just that. Her clothers aimed at being inspired from Lahore and its culture. Playing up with the elements of sheer, handworked details and vintage prints Zara Shahjahan’s collection was hardly anything that made an impact considering the line up she was amongst on day 1. The collection even for her own standards seemed a bit bridalesque rather than high end luxury. From ghararas and shararas to printed jumpsuits, tunics to straight pants and crop top she did present a range. A not that sorry but a sherwani-esque tunic with an extra flared sharara had no business being together if the fit was completely off .. a brilliant example of what tarun talihani did 5 years back.. or was it rohit bal.. and did it brilliantly. A major issue were the seams and finishings that needed attention ( I mean come on!!) .In palette of pastels, this was most likely an opportunity wasted on the designer’s part whom we all know has so much potential.

Wish Faiza Samee had shown at the fashion week.

*Image credits: The LFW Team

Woven Stories

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Now I have always been a fan of ‘raw mango’ owing to their use of weaves in unusually traditional way that strikes a perfect balance. For this reason, Sanjay Garg’s show was the one I was looking quite forward too and he pleasantly surprised me for all the right reasons. The use of metallics with unusual sharp tones might not be everyone’s cup of tea (certainly not mine) but it worked in its own way. My favourites would have to be the panelled metallic woven dresses as well as the subtle whites and offwhites combined with metallics in a very relaxed sixties silhouette that worked for me. However there were also floorlengths, contemporary take on choli-gharara with traditional textiles and straighter tunics. The bright pinks, purples and greens played off with metallics in a fun way without resorting the whole thing to the earthy approach towards craft that we are used to seeing. The collection was a weaving justified in a modern day regal setting. Combining the raw appeal with the glam outlook Sanjay Garg balanced the woven craft with contemporary stunning outlook.

For anyone who knows me knows my love for handwoven textiles and Gaurang hits the spot pretty much. Using weaves in bright sharp colors, Gaurang strung them together in a very eastern silhouetted collection. Working with Indian textiles has been his forte and this collection was no different. Combining contrasts and solids, Gaurang worked with a sharp array of colors. With minimal embroidery, he focused more on the weaves in dopattas and Sarees with a combination of solids. A wise move considering how fun those weaves were! While with such sharp colors, there is always a fear of going overboard in the ‘tacky’ territory but Gaurang maintains that balance. Keeping the silhouettes simple, though he did a bit over exaggerate a few of them, he produced a cohesive presentation. The rich weaves in rich colors were complimented with an interesting tassled detail that was present throughout the collection.

The earthy Anavila was everything that you would want from a show that is rooted in traditional woven textiles. Saris with earthy appeal, a rustic presentation in terms of styling and a clean non fussy show, the brand did it all. The collection of cotton and silk saris within an earthen palette was as rustic as is it could get. To top it all they were perfectly complimented by organic jewellery pieces in wooden and metallics. Keeping it simple, the designer played with geomentric motifs within weaves to produce a collection that might be lacklustre for many. Sans any glam, even Konkona made for a perfect showstopper with her earthy Bengali appeal (celebs are you noting how brand should be an extension of your personal style), the collection hit the right chords amongst those who understand the art of woven fabric.

With a modern day Indian woven aesthetic, Gaurav Jai Gupta Akaaro might seemed shy away from the regular ‘Indian-ness’ of the weaves. His global design approach lends him to experiment with the woven craft in a very contemporary way. The result is earthy approaches in simple silhouettes, letting the weaves shine without any drama. While one would like to see something more from Akaaro, someone like me just cannot get enough of the woven fabric. To his credit he almost brings the weaves within his silhouettes in a sort of Indian power dressing with streamlined fronts played up with interesting fabric. Using silks and cotton yarns in simple geometric forms, his play of material with a bit of an unsual color palette scored major brownie points in his presentation. I was not too keen on those clunky shoes though…could have had a better alternative.

The quirky Debashri takes on the delicate Jamdani onto wool for her HOOKED presentation for AW 14. The fish and hook motifs were fun and taking a traditional cotton weave and experimenting with it for a younger audience always draws applause from me (only if done well). Combining luxury and comfort that only rich handwoven textiles can offer, Debashri manages to achieve, by no means a easy feat, of being traditional and contemporary at the same time. Playing with traditional textiles is always a double edged sword and especially with technique and to come out trumps with it is no mean feat (the last I heard Rahul Mishra doing it successfully).Within a winter color palette, the pieces consisted of ‘Woollen knit choli under a choir boy cape, front tie-up pants, boxy printed coat, over-lapping waist cropped pants, loose square kurta and a draw string gathered pleated skirt, knitted one-shoulder cover, a printed poncho and one-shoulder long sleeve creation.’ These silhouettes rendered with the weaving intervention made for a collection that made me want to have certain pieces done up in menswear for myself… ah the wishes of the heart… Definitely keeping a lookout on what she comes up with next coz she definitely got me excited about her design philosophy.

*Image credits: The LFW Team