MUMBAI, India — The five-day Lakmé Fashion Week kicks off here on Friday with 86 designers and several new initiatives.
In its 13th year, the IMG-Reliance venture that co-hosts with beauty firm Lakmé Lever has injected a greater digital element and added more ways to bring attention to the young designers LFW is known to foster.
“Our endeavor has been to demonstrate the intention to take the fashion industry forward on the path of growth,” said Anjana Sharma, director, fashion, of IMG Reliance.
The organizers also have expanded the experiment of a daylong focus on Indian textiles and crafts. Curated again by designer Krishna Mehta, the event will be held this Sunday. There will be an award for the designer who best incorporates Indian weaves and craftsmanship in their collection.
“The Indian textile day will show a huge array of Indian textiles that I have crafted with my own sensibilities in contemporary fashion,” observed Anita Dongre, a Mumbai-based designer who has grown her retail presence across the country in the last few years and who is one of the designers who will do the final show on Sunday.
Of course, fashion week means party time as well and the opening-night party on Thursday started off with a bang. Mumbai Fashion Week parties are famous for appearances by Bollywood stars, as are the runway shows and front-row guests. But the parties are also notorious for the timings kept by Mumbaikars. Although invitations are often listed for 9 p.m., people only start trickling in past midnight.
Despite the party atmosphere at fashion week, which has grown more relaxed in the last few seasons — it is about resort and festivewear after all — the focus is still sharply on business. Buyers are mainly from India and the Middle East, while executives from retailers in the U.S. and Europe attend sporadically.
“Lakmé is geared toward the moment, it’s closer to the season for which we design and is more retail-oriented. My collection at Lakmé shown this week will be in my stores by October,” said Dongre.
Wendell Rodricks, a Goa-based designer, has the same concept. “I think LFW has become a reservoir of new Indian talent and Wills India Fashion Week is about senior, established brand names. There is room for both to exist alongside each other,” he said.
One collection expected to attract attention is Rodricks’ as he presents his first Indianized collection. “Garments are mixed together to look like Indian clothes, but in actual fact they are Western wearable international pieces. For the first time I have played stylist alongside designer,” Rodricks told WWD. “This is all based on the Indian timeless classics like the sari, dhoti, kurta and abstract concepts of zero, infinity and Indian geometry.”
A few regulars are missing from the show schedule this time, including Rohit Bal and Narendra Kumar. Several of those who will not make it observe that it’s about giving other designers a chance, and also about preparing better in the midst of the slew of fashion weeks that have come about in India.
Bangalore Fashion Week, for instance, just concluded last week — July 26 to 29 — and is in its seventh season. Sajad Mahajan, cofounder and director of Dream Merchants, organizers of Bangalore Fashion Week, said, “The concept of fashion is building. People love to spend their money on style.”
Bangalore is in southern India and one of the bigger metro cities that has had fast retail growth and is a prime target for global brands.
At the event last week, customized music was composed for each designer’s show by the organizers, adding a unique slant. Their Web site, bfwlabels.com, also shows and markets the latest looks from the runway.
In yet another fashion show shuffle, @elleryland is moving its show in sync with the Paris couture calendar — though the brand is still keeping one foot on the city’s ready-to-wear schedule. Their runway show in January will coincide with the launch of a new strategy: designing two main collections each year instead of four, which will then be released in four drops. “As we all know, the system needs to change. We need to show sooner to give time back to artisans and designers to do what they do best — create,” said founder Kym Ellery. #wwdnews #wwdfashion (📷: @kukukuba)
@maxmara’s classic 101801 coat was the cornerstone of its pre-fall 2018 collection. The design team expanded the traditional double-breasted, kimono-sleeved style into a trapeze coat, lean belted styles and a peacoat and presented them in monochromatic looks – like the camel one pictured here. #wwdfashion #prefall18 (📷: George Chinsee)
The @cfda has shifted the dates of #NYFW, with Men’s showing on February 5 through February 7, and Women’s will directly follow, running from February 8 through 14. The preliminary schedule will be released on the CFDA’s web site in the next few days, but Mark Beckham, VP of marketing for the CFDA, revealed that @rafsimons will be back to close the men’s-specific part of the week with a show on February 7 #wwdfashion (📷: Kelly Taub)
@ferragamo is introducing a new space dedicated to the development of women’s and men’s leather good samples. The laboratory, which is created eco-friendly materials and designed to reduce the environmental impact of the manufacturing processes, will allow the company to expand its accessories offering through traditional artisanal approaches. #wwdfashion (📷: @aitorrosasphoto)
How does a “regular, degular, schmegular” girl from the Bronx, N.Y., become a Grammy-nominated artist with a certified platinum record in less than a year? Call it the @iamcardib come up. The 25-year-old has become a musical sensation, and the fashion world is taking note. “If I could describe her style I would say drama. She’s really into the dramatics,” says Cardi B’s stylist @kollincarter. See how Carter styles her bold and out there looks with the link in bio. #wwdfashion
“There is no formula. There is no guideline. I can watch Ted Talks all day, but there is no one who can advise me on exactly what it is I should be doing,” said @ronniefieg, CEO of @kith, in an interview with WWD’s @ariahughes at the brand’s new SoHo office in Manhattan. Head to WWD.com to see how Fieg went from hanging out in shoe stockrooms at 13 to building his own business. #wwdfashion (📷: @weston.wells)
@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