You know you are at a fashion week venue when designer Manish Malhotra gets mobbed by a bunch of students eager for selfies. At Jio Gardens in Mumbai, on Day one of the Summer-Resort edition of Lakme Fashion Week (LFW), the weather was noticeably warmer and so were the vibes. The day saw a line-up of summer collections that attempted to strike a balance between creativity and commerciality.
Pret Project –
Delhi-based couturier Varun Bahl returned to LFW after four years to launch his ready-to-wear line Varun Bahl Pret. A line of easy separates in light fabrics and summery colours, the debut collection saw Bahl take his trademark prospers and pare them down to the vacant essentials. So, while his signature florals made their presence felt in written, laser cut and applique styles, the pastel colour story of vintage pink, pale green, blue, grey and ivory remained in familiar territory too. Bahl presented meagerly embellished t-shirt neck tunics, smocked turtleneck blouses, laser-cut 3D floral applique shrugs, drop-waist dresses, gathered gharara pants and cropped culottes, however, his delicately appliqued signature bomber jackets were, by far, our favourites. Set to be priced between Rs 5,000 and Rs 25,000 we can see these flyaway, breezy styles flying off the shelves soon.
The experiential and experimental Studio space at LFW became the venue for an interesting #ArtMeetsFashion show wherever four designers given collections impressed by art, incorporating creative techniques to transform materials into canvas meant to present their points-of-view. Ajay Kumar Singh’s collection Aesthetic, that aimed to “explore the aesthetic of an aquatic body”, used narrative prints and projected pictures to form surreal underwater expertise. His trademark hyper prints were worked into stylish separates like cowled tunic shirts, trench coats, bombers and suits with nautical elements like stripes, anchors and ropes. helena Bajaj-Larsen given an abstract canvas and utilized numerous dyeing techniques to form gradations and brushstrokes. Tailored items like sharp jackets, jumpsuits, dresses and small pleated skirts added a touch of sophistication to the crimson, black and bronze-hued line. Yadvi Agarwal of Yavi, who debuted at the GenNext show last season, used a collage of Impressionist brushstrokes, textured thread embroidery and recycled patchwork items with Kantha embroidery to form a dreamy and whimsical line of smocks, jackets, cropped trousers and overlays. Ayushman Mitra of Bobo Calcutta presented his signature dash of saturated colour and mega prints derived from his artworks. Splashes of sequins and embroidery punctuated the digital print explosion on separates like ponchos, shorts, crop tops and tunics. though the designers let their imaginations run wild, they did reign in their creativity to produce concisely edited and commercial collections.
Adding an interesting sidebar to the inclusivity conversation was Muneeba Nadeem, an INIFD graduate from Kanpur, who, as a part of the institute’s “Launchpad” initiative at LFW, showcased a set of separates including hijabs, kaftans, tunics and chadors. making a case for modest fashion, albeit, in a stylish manner, it absolutely was a commendable first effort by Nadeem.