While the Western perception of this country’s attire might be something along the lines of a sari state of affairs, here it’s the opposite case, with fashion designers often being derided as too influenced by ideas from Paris, Milan and New York.
There is no doubt designers here are plugged into the international runway circuit when Anjana Bhargav sends out a series of vests made up of scalloped patches (channeling Balenciaga’s take on Kaisik Wong) or Priyadarshini Rao features a group of ribbon-trimmed pastel peasant dresses reminiscent of Marc Jacobs. That doesn’t mean there weren’t original ideas, too, but the designer community here is hypercritical to the point that it takes itself a little too seriously.
Following a chorus of complaints from the models, the designers themselves and even a sponsor as the shows were just beginning ("They’re mediocre, absolutely mediocre," sniffed Kingfisher beer czar Vijay Mallya), Harmeet Bajaj, chair of the department of fashion communication at the National Institute of Fashion Technology, came to their defense in an editorial in the Times of India, writing, "Even if some of our designers are browsing through Vogue, Collezioni and Officiel for design ideas and adapting these to suit their customers, there is creativity and an understanding of fashion involved. In the collections we have seen over the past few days, we have seen glimpses of YSL, Gucci, Prada, Vivienne Westwood and Issey Miyake —?but most of these have been modified for the customer near home."
Even though some references were cut too close to the originals, it was the globally minded designers who eventually broke new barriers for the Indian team. Sabyasachi Mukherjee, a relatively unknown 26-year-old NIFT graduate from Calcutta, designs a two-year-old collection under the Sabyasachi label and stunned his competitors when, instead of showing a rainbow of saris, he presented an edited collection of layered sportswear — wrap skirts, cropped jackets and simple blazers over jodhpurs. Mukherjee had taken his grandmother’s garish, floral print saris from the Forties and distressed them with acid sprays and cigarettes, then reembroidered them with colored threads in a cross-hatch pattern to create a dull, vintage tone on the fabric that resembled a Chanel tweed, putting a total of 18 fabrics in the collection, including linen, silk georgette, brocade and wool."We’ve used a lot of old Indian textiles and converted them to look more international," Mukherjee said. "I made this collection, keeping in mind an international buyer. I was inspired by these gypsies who travel to India—nomadic tribes and prostitutes. I asked myself, ‘How would a well-read French woman, an artist, want to dress to travel globally?’"
The answer was a somewhat bookish swami, wearing a multistriped raffia skirt that was perfect to unroll as a beach towel in Goa. It was sarong, it was right. Anamika Khanna, also from Calcutta, similarly modified traditional Indian silhouettes with a tailored fit, such as a bright treatment of trousers with a leaf motif at the hem and a red brocade coat cut as sharp as a military jacket.
Ranna Gill and Malini Ramani, two young women who were raised on the nightlife of Delhi and New York, separately presented party-inspired clothes that, while they turned off an older element of Indian society, resulted in the most active demand for their collections at an exhibition hall after their shows.
Gill studied at the Fashion Institute of Technology and worked for a year in women’s design at Ralph Lauren before launching her label, Ranna, in New Dehli in 1996.
Gill’s folksy peasant camisoles were presented in a variety of animal prints, inspired by Marrakech, Mombasa and Madrid, she said. "It may be too much for you, all this color," she said. "But for us, it looks like jewelry. For us, it’s everyday."
Ramani, whose sister Gitanjali was recently named director of communications at DKNY in New York, used to run three nightclubs in Dehli until a murder took place at an underground spot she operated in Qutub Colonnade in 1999. Having studied fashion merchandising and buying at FIT, she decided to switch careers and open a design studio there, creating an imaginary character named "InDiva," who is the inspiration for her rock ’n’ roll collections. "All my styles are something I would wear," said the 32-year-old Ramani, wearing wraparound sunglasses and a zebra print cowboy hat over skintight jeans trimmed with leather fringe. "If I wouldn’t wear it, why would anybody else want to?"Some of Ramani’s creations would take a lot of courage to pull off in Indian society, outside the protected veil of the catwalk. But her rhinestone GOA-buckle belt and sequined chiffon kurtas were just opaque enough for modest girls to pull off when meeting the in-laws, as long as they’re from a lower caste.
Luxury handbag resale company @rebagofficial is planning to sell a rare collectible for $70,000: the @hermes White Crocodile Himalayan Birkin. The exclusive Birkin sold for about $100,000 in 2008, when @davidbeckham bought one for his wife @victoriabeckham to add to her collection. Read more about the rare Birkin on WWD.com #wwdaccessories
With her costume pearl necklace and what-you-see-is-what-you-get style, Barbara Bush, who died Tuesday at age 92, was a straight-shooter from start to finish.
Born Barbara Pierce in New York City, Bush served as the 37th first lady, as well as the country’s second lady from 1981 to 1989. In addition to being part of the longest presidential marriage — 73 years — Bush also had the unlikely distinction of having one son, George W., become the 43rd president and another son, Jeb, run unsuccessfully in 2016. Having served as second lady during the Reagan administration’s two terms and lived all over the world during her own husband’s ascending political career, Barbara Bush made it clear that literacy — not fashion — was her priority. Read more from Rosemary Feitelberg’s obituary on the late First Lady in WWD.com, link in bio. #barbarabush #wwdnews
Western and ’90s trends have influenced denim for fall 2018. Think raw, dark and coated jeans mixed with bold prints and tough leather. #trendtuesdays #wwdfashion (Styled by @thealexbadia;📷: @ryanplett)
@denimdaysfestival, which initially launched in Amsterdam in 2014 and has since expanded to New York, is heading to Nashville for the very first time. The two-day festival, which will take place in November, will feature brand activations, hands-on workshops by artisans and denim mills, a vintage market, live entertainment, and local food and drinks. Get all the details on WWD.com. #wwdnews #wwdfashion
Later this month, the popular “Diana: Her Fashion Story” exhibit will be reopening. @historicroyalpalaces, the charity that manages @kensingtonroyal, has been working towards adding new, never-before-seen garments to the exhibit, including this dress created by Gianni Versace for a fund-raising dinner at the Museum of Natural History in Chicago. The exhibit will reopen on April 26 at Kensington Palace @wwdfashion
“Our family has always been engaged and interested in the world around us. [My brothers and I] were always encouraged to have our own opinion at a young age, which is not always something a child is asked — especially to have an opinion with reasoning behind it,” said @yarashahidi on becoming an activist. We caught up with the 18 year old last week, where she talked about her road to acting, how “Black-ish” led her to start conversations about identity and more. Head to WWD.com to read what she had to say #wwdeye (📷: @chelsealaurenla)