MUMBAI, India — Lakmé Fashion Week ended on Sunday, exhibiting a greater international mix as well as stronger Western influence on silhouettes, on a rousing note of celebration after five days of feting fabric, embroidery, weddingwear in both couture and ready-to-wear, as well as some notable exchanges of international design on the ramp. These included the launch of Australian designer duo Pamela Easton and Lydia Pearson, as well as a stronger Western influence on silhouettes by young and emerging designers.
The winter-festive edition of the fashion week had another enduring trend — the palazzo pant, a common theme for designers both young and established. Although the style has been a favorite on the runway for more than 18 months — Bollywood actress Kareena Kapoor sported the style at Namrata Joshipura’s show in the summer of 2013 — this time, the palazzo made its entry in different styes, fabrics and combinations.
At least half of the collections on show stemmed from or were inspired by the bridal market as designers abandoned earlier claims that the sector was not a major focus. As a result there was no holding back on heavy embroidery, gold-edged sequins and varieties of full-length lehengas (traditional skirts), long coats, palazzos and the dhoti saris for the more experimental.
As always, Bollywood seized the fashion moment: Sunday saw a Bollywood fashion influx with actresses walking the runway: Priyanka Chopra for designer Varun Bahl; Bipasha Basu and Dia Mirza for Vikram Phadnis; Malaika Arora Khan for Sonaakshi Raaj, and Kareena Kapoor, the face of Lakmé the beauty brand, for the grand finale by Manish Malhotra.
Although the week started out on a note of trepidation — and confusion — with the new location at the Palladium hotel, there was a note of adrenalin infused by this change amongst the complaints that the venue needed better signage and information booths. Spread over two floors of the hotel, the designer booths at the exhibition were accessible via an elevator ride rather than the long walk in the previous location of the Grand Hyatt.
This time, the booths were broken down by category — established designers had their own area — making it easier for buyers to sort through which ones they planned to visit. But as younger designers said gloomily, it ensured that they had only half the traffic.
Buyers, largely from the Middle East and Indian markets, observed that they found several collections noteworthy, including those from designers Neha Agarwal and Urvashi Joneja. A definitive change over the last few years, according to several buyers, was in pricing, which has gone up substantially, prompting them to be more selective in their purchases.
The debut of the 25-year-old Australian label Easton Pearson at the shows was watched keenly by many retailers and brand heads since it was its first foray into the Indian market. Easton and Pearson, who have stores in Sydney and Brisbane and retail across the world, showcased their collection made up of light, natural fabrics and a lot of embroidery and sequins.
Asked if it was odd showing their designs at Lakmé Fashion Week since their fabrics are created in India and a lot of embroidery is done here as well, Pearson replied honestly, “We’ve asked ourselves that many times. But our perspective is a little bit different. When you bring something from outside and you haven’t grown up with it, you see things differently. Also the history of our brand is Western, European clothing. It’s not that we think that we’re better than Indian designers, we think they are fantastic. And we’re not trying to compete on the same platform. There is such a rich history of surface decoration here. The difference is that we have a Western cut, and our surface decoration is Western-influenced, using Indian techniques. So we are accessing the resources here but the ideas are definitely European. Although it’s new and different, its something that people understand already because they’re used to looking at decorative clothing. But time will tell.”
Easton added that the market in India had been changing dramatically. “We’ve watched the Indian retail market change and over six years ago we thought that India had started to embrace Western clothing, and mix much more of Western garments into their wardrobe, and back then we thought that there was perhaps an opportunity for us to sell here. But now, we believe there is really an opening for a Western-style brand. And because our garments are colorful, made of natural fibers, it seems quite realistic that there could be a market here for us,” she said.
On Thursday, the focus of the event was on Indian fabrics in a theme adopted and sponsored by the Ministry of Textiles. “This is a step forward,” said Saket Dhankar, head of IMG Reliance, organizers of the show along with beauty brand Lakmé. More than a dozen designers showcased their creativity while letting the fabric take center stage. These included designs by Soumitra Mondal and Vaishali S., while Sanjay Garg, known for his label Raw Mango, made his debut with his signature line.
The Jabong stage featured younger designers, which is the focus of Lakmé Fashion Week. Interesting designers to watch out for included Sreejith Jeevan and Armaan Aiman.
@fearofgod and @maxfieldla have teamed up on a pop-up installation. The store, located in the gallery space across from Maxfield’s Melrose Ave location, is the site of the brand’s House of God pop-up in which Fear of God founder @jerrylorenzo has created a church-inspired installation. A dozen vintage church pews sit in front of an LED screen playing 90s gospel singers in an effort to re-create an environment akin to a Southern Baptist Church, Lorenzo explained. Read more about the pop-up on WWD.com #wwdfashion (📷: Jennifer Johnson)
Known for his sleek, sophisticated American glamour, Norman Norell is the subject of an upcoming exhibition at @fitnyc. “Norell: Dean of American Fashion,” which runs from February 9 through April 14, will feature approximately 100 ensembles and accessories. His best work is exemplified by the designer’s glittering “mermaid” gowns frosted with thousands of hand-sewn sequins – like the one pictured. (📷: William Helburn) #wwdfashion
For pre-fall 2018, @balmain didn’t let go of the glitz. A crystal embroidered baseball jacket priced at around $40,000 hangs in the “couture” section of the brand’s first men’s pre-collection. Sporting the words “Balmain Army” across the back, the item took around two months to make. “When it was completed, it was like Christmas, it was like, ‘It’s done, it’s exactly what I wanted,’” said Balmain’s creative director @olivier_rousteing during a tour of the collection in a Paris showroom on Monday. #wwdfashion
Eighty degree temperatures and outdoor installations at the annual Art Basel Miami Beach called for bright, elevated beachwear. See more street style pictures on WWD.com. #theyarewearing #ABMB (📷: @lifeinreverie)
Following September’s emotional tribute to her brother Gianni, Donatella Versace wanted to bring the spring show’s deep sense of intimacy to her @versace_official pre-fall collection. Donatella found inspiration in Versace Palazzo in Milan and from Gianni’s opulent apartment. Archival patterns and new motifs were splashed on silk shirtdresses and fitted jersey frocks. See the rest of the photos on WWD.com. #wwdfashion
Demna Gvasalia continues to shake up the Paris fashion calendar — and experiment with new runway timetables for his @vetements_official brand. WWD has learned that Vetements plans to stage its next coed show for the fall 2018 season on January 19 during Men’s Fashion Week in the French capital. Details about the timing and venue have not been confirmed — stay tuned on WWD.com to catch the latest. #wwdnews (📷: @giovanni_giannoni_photo)
@zacposen's go-to holiday gift? Cookies! "I'll usually bake cookies and send them as a gift," said the designer, who recently released his cookbook "Cooking With Zac: Recipes from Rustic to Refined." Get the recipe for his Brown Butter-Chocolate Chip Cookies via link in bio 🍪🍪🍪 #wwdeye #cookingwithzac
For @monsemaison’s pre-fall 2018 collection, Fernando Garcia and Laura Kim honed in on the brand’s many signatures — men’s wear, which was tweaked and feminized through deconstruction, proportion play and lots of bare shoulders. See the rest of the photos on WWD.com #wwdfashion (📷: George Chinese)
On Friday night, @yohjiyamamotoofficial received the Design for Asia Lifetime Achievement Award in Hong Kong. The 75-year-old designer has been celebrated for many years and is best known for his dark and avant-garde tailoring. “In my long career, in design, architecture, [I’ve been to] so many parties, this is the very first time that I have such a warm feeling, I really appreciate this,” Yamamoto said. #wwdfashion (📷: @dominiquemaitre)