Spotlight on India

Fashion Coterie highlights the work of designers from a different nation at each show. This month, seven Indiandesigners...

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WWD Coterie issue 09/10/2008

Fashion Coterie highlights the work of designers from a different nation at each show. This month, seven Indian designers, with backgrounds ranging from psychoanalyst to Saks Fifth Avenue, were handpicked to participate. Here, a look at the designers and their offerings.

This story first appeared in the September 10, 2008 issue of WWD.  Subscribe Today.


A self-taught designer and professionally trained psychoanalyst, Nikasha Tawadey made her debut in India in 2003 with her label, Nikasha. Now selling internationally on the racks at Selfridges in London and Macy’s in San Francisco, her aesthetic has been labeled as bohemian, vibrant and glam with a concentration on signature colorful prints and trendy silhouettes.

A native of Mumbai, Gayatri Khanna worked as a buyer at Saks Fifth Avenue in New York before starting Milaaya Embroideries in May 2000, where she worked on trims for houses such as Christian Dior, Escada and Balenciaga. Khanna still operates the embroidery firm out of offices in New York, Paris and Mumbai, and has added her own line of women’s and men’s loungewear and eveningwear. She also has a signature store, Gayatri, located in Mumbai.

Born in Rajasthan, Anuj Sharma has developed his craft working mainly with performance women’s wear in simple shapes and easy-to-understand designs. In addition to showing at the Fashion Coterie, Sharma has shown his collection in Japan and also at the Lakme Fashion Week in Mumbai. His line for Coterie will feature men’s shirting fabrics. “The shirts are not cut, but used entirely, draped in a way that it involves almost no stitching,” he said. “The garment beckons both the wearer and the onlooker to converse with it and discover the elements of a forgotten shirt.”

With loads of design experience behind him, Raakesh Agarvwal is now on his sixth collection. His women’s line already sells worldwide in specialty stores across India, the U.K. and the U.S., and he has plans in the works to launch an accessories line next year. Agarvwal is known for his mix of traditional Indianmade apparel with oldschool couture elements seen throughout his highly detailed pieces.

Anand Kabra has combined his education in fashion with his Indian heritage to create a signature collection. Influenced by domestic textiles, his collection for Coterie is defined by organic Indian textiles and traditional craft. The unifying theme of the collection is revival, which he evokes through ecofriendly practices and printing techniques such as drawing with a specialized pen using vegetable dyes.

Narendra Kumar brings his experiences as fashion editor at Elle in India and professor at the National Institute of Fashion Technology in Mumbai to his own line of women’s and  men’s apparel. Based on modern cuts and handcrafted, woven fabrics, Kumar already sells his collections in his three stores in India as well as in specialty stores in the U.S., Canada, Dubai and Hong Kong.

Based in Mumbai, Nachiket Barve has worked with Michael Kors at Celine in Paris as well as with India-based designers Abu Jani and Sandeep Khosla. He launched his own label at Lakme Fashion Week in March 2007 and has become known for his innovative use of Indian textiles and techniques in a contemporary way. Barve’s garments are understated and comfortable yet luxurious. The label retails at highend designer boutiques in India such as Bombay Electric, Aza, Moon River, Amethyst and Evoluzione.

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