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Collections Shimmer on Lakmé Runways

The five days of Lakmé Fashion Week emphasized femininity in the summer and resort collections on show.

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MUMBAI, India — The five days of Lakmé Fashion Week emphasized femininity in the summer and resort collections on show.

This story first appeared in the March 19, 2014 issue of WWD.  Subscribe Today.

This was not necessarily with the heavy embellishments that often characterize Indian design — although there was some of that, too — but rather with net, swirling gowns, unexpected windows of skin through the use of transparent fabrics and a lot of demure coverage.

There were the metallics, too, like the burnished gold of Gaurav Gupta’s collection. Gupta worked with U.K.-based Indian accessory designer Mawi, who showcased her line in India for the first time with the chunky jewelry adding to the Egyptian theme of the show, which was called “Memphire.” Togas and saris, jumpsuits and gowns in metallic jersey were complemented by gold ribbed collars, pendants and chunky jeweled collars.

This was the first time Mawi has shown in India. “I think the market in India is changing along with the people’s lifestyles and there seems to be a far greater desire for international themes. People’s perception about jewelry is part of the change as well,” she said.

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Rajesh Pratap Singh also focused on metallics in his show, the last one of Lakmé Fashion Week, which closed Sunday. Accentuated by mirrors on the runway, the clean silhouettes that Singh is known for shimmered. Fabrics created for the show included weaves of silver and stainless steel, and silk and linen, all based around the them “Illusion.”

That was also the name of the new makeup line launched during the shows by Lakmé, the homegrown beauty brand from Hindustan Unilever, and one of the organizers of the event along with IMG Reliance Pvt. Ltd.

“This is the trend of the season and our new launch. It is young and edgy,” Purnima Lamba, head of innovations at Lakmé, said.

Indian companies remained a focus of the five days of shows, which included a textile day on Friday during which traditional weaves, appliqués and embroidery techniques from different parts of India appeared on the runway in collections by the likes of Anita Dongre and Krishna Mehta.

However, the focus on textiles was not limited to one day alone — the opening show of Lakmé Fashion Week was by Sreejith Jeevan, who has studied textiles at the National Institute of Design in Ahmedabad and École Nationale Supérieure des Arts Décoratifs in Paris. He presented a collection of clean, simple cuts with fabrics focused on words he used often, such as “cool” and “breathable.”

Even as designers emphasized Indian textiles and heritage, more Western styles continued to proliferate on the runways as in Narendra Kumar’s collection of structured tops and pencil pants. Inspired by the work of artist Franz Kline, the line held a different kind of femininity — with sharp tailoring, pleats and detailing that combined with the prints to add elegance. He also showcased a collection for men.

Designers said they continued to be as busy with buyers coming by — including a larger number than ever from e-commerce sites and, as before, from the Middle East. The number of fashion retailers from across India continues to grow, they said.

“I’ve been real busy,” said Aartivijay Gupta, whose prints told a story of miniature Indian paintings. “I think each designer is seeing a different bunch of buyers.”

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