MUMBAI — Lakme Fashion Week opened here Friday filled with energy and a focus on cleaner, younger designs.
“The designs seem to be far more vibrant and youthful,” observed designer Vaishali Shadangule, who has a stand in the exhibition area and is showing on the runway Sunday.
This was a sentiment echoed several times over, as designers expressed their enthusiasm and plans to invest in exhibition space at the next event.
Some things remained the same: a high Bollywood quotient with well-known film stars walking the runway and creating a furor among the photographers, as well as film industry names sitting in the front row.
“Fashion in India is making a clear statement,” observed Anjana Sharma, director of fashion at IMG Reliance, which organizes the event. “While the silhouettes are clearly global, there is a strong invest in Indian fabrics, textures and inspiration.”
The change in the approach to the business of fashion is also obvious. Vikram Raizada, who was earlier vice president and head of fashion at IMG Fashion and has been watching the industry closely, observed that one of the biggest changes in terms of fashion is that it has spread beyond the major metropolitan areas into smaller cities, where it is not only followed intently but also enjoys strong sales. Raizada is now executive director of marketing, retail and business development at Tara Jewels, Ltd.
“I wouldn’t say the industry has exploded,” he said, “but I will say it is growing extremely fast, and this has to do with the design, the retail, the willingness to spend, and will continue in the next few years.”
Standout shows on the first day included Khushali Kumar, who played with metallic surfaces on fabrics. She visualized a princess, and these came with beads and sequins. But adding delicacy were very fine metal chains and softly billowing chiffons and net and appliqué tulles.
Kumar sells to more than 75 stores, including more than 50 in the U.S. as well as in the U.K., France and the Middle East. She was showing at Lakme Fashion Week for the first time. “I’ve concentrated on two concepts,” she said. “The fitted, very short dress and the other very feminine, flowing dress.”
Drashta Sarvaiya, whose silhouettes had a hint of butterflies with detailing and metal beads, commented, “My designs are for the woman who is very confident but extremely feminine. My outfits are very structured and yet have a flow. Draping is a subject I’ve been working on for a long time.” Australian-Indian designer Rajat K. Tangri showed a red carpet collection called “Perihelion” in a color palette that ranged from neons to blacks in fabrics such as Italian blended cotton, silk and stretch satin.
Among the shows at the Talent Box in the Source area, where newer designers get to showcase their work, the collection by Sapna Bhavnani and Sukriti Grover combined the stylized costumes of the kathakali dance and the structure and form of the Victorian era. The finale by James Ferreira brought out the sari gown for women and some unusual styles for men that were vibrant and casual, done in tie- dyed linen.