|Sunday, May 9, 2004|
At this year’s LIFW, the spotlight was on Jesus-inspired robes and gypsy skirts and tops, writes Vimla Patil.
THE Lakme India Fashion Week (LIFW) seems to have brought out the worst in some of India’s eminent designers. Why else should fashion concern itself with eerie concepts like ‘After death’ or ‘The Resurrection of the Lord’? Or for that matter with the costumes of India’s gypsy communities? Yes, some of the most written-about haute couture collections for Fall-Winter 2005 featured such themes.
Take the collection of Shantanu and Nikhil Mehra. Making ‘Divine innocence’ their theme, this duo showcased 40 garments reflecting spiritual moods. "We glorify a woman’s innocent appeal," is how they described their ensembles. "The collection we present conjures images of the ‘great event’ leading to the redemption of mankind with the arrival of Christ in this world."
"The human body has often been referred to as the crown of God’s creation. We are using contemporary styling, the colours of divinity--- dusky antique gold and amber--and attractive silhouettes to recreate the Biblical era. The layered skirts and dresses, to be worn with short jackets, backless tops and cowl-neck tops, have all been decorated with metallic accessories, like coins resembling those in the Biblical age," they say. The fabrics used are antique rayon, Victorian silk, wool with dyed effects and chiffon.
Interesting jewellery has been created to depict the freedom of spirit which came after Christ’s crucifixion.
The other look which swept this year’s LIFW is Pria Kataria Puri’s ‘Gypsy glamour’ that celebrated the free life of India’s gypsy communities. "My collection focuses on the feminine mystique," says Pria, "We are back to the 1950s’ glamour with rich embroidery on exotic colours, like smoky topaz, deep coral, scarlet, pomegranate, olive and rich chocolate`85The look depends upon excellently draped skirts paired with fitted jackets to emphasise the sensuality of the feminine form."
Most designers at this event agreed that the future of India’s fashion industry depended largely on the pret lines it can market. Unlike the past, when designers catered only to high-end customers, today most of them produce clothes which can be sold at fashion stores and are available to upper middle-class buyers. "The Indian pret market is growing by 35 per cent each year," the designers say.
Many international designers and fashion house buyers are now coming to India to source good collections. The quantum of readymade or pret clothes production is getting bigger every month. Pret will rule the Indian fashion scene for the years to come and the business will grow from 35 per cent to 50 per cent in the next two years. Accessories like bags, belts and jewellery will be India’s vibrant contribution to the world fashion scene, they feel.