Ritu Kumar, Manish Malhotra, Payal Pratap and others weigh in on the hottest trends from the FDCI x Lakme Fashion Week
This pandemic has proven that nothing unites like crisis. In a first in 15 years, Lakmé Fashion Week and Fashion Design Council of India (FDCI) came together to host the seasonless FDCI x Lakmé Fashion Week, a six-day ‘phygital’ event that was a combination of virtual and physical shows. “The partnership between FDCI and LFW to present the first phygital showcase is a milestone moment for the Indian fashion industry. Their nimbleness in adapting to changing times coupled with the support of both the teams enabled us to present our vision to audiences across the globe,” says the legendary Ritu Kumar. Pankaj Ahuja of Pankaj and Nidhi agrees. “(This is) a much-needed cohesive platform — unified with the energy of two powerhouses of Indian fashion, sending a message of solidarity, unity and co-peration between all stakeholders. (It’s) a great message for everyone watching and following Indian fashion,” he says. As always, innovation, sustainability, gender fluidity, handloom and craft were at the centre of the collections. Apart from Ritu and Pankaj & Nidhi, celebrated names like Manish Malhotra, Masaba, Payal Pratap and Anamika Khanna showcased their latest work, which was invariably focused on adapting to changing times, from lighter, pared down lehengas and dresses to brighter, multi-hued pieces to serve as an antidote to grim and bleak times. We take a look at the biggest trends from the fashion week...
A significant trend to arise out of the fashion week was the uninhibited use of colour. Every collection from Pankaj & Nidhi’s Kaleido to Suneet Varma’s 50 Shades of Happiness, Cocccon’s Purn Vritt and Bodice’s Ready Set Play saw the use of a bold and multi-hued palette. Was this a response to pandemic? Ruchika Sachdeva of Bodice thinks so. “I wanted to experiment with colours, something we haven’t explored a lot before. It came naturally to me amidst the sombreness as I kept going back to colours for some cheer and joy,” she explains.
Gauri & Nainika, Anamika Khanna and Payal Singhal all found inspiration in flowers. While Gauri & Nainika’s collection was a result of the siblings’ quarantine spent admiring their mother’s garden, Anamika’s Timeless The World was based on emotion. “This collection is more about emotion than just clothes. Going through the pandemic, a lot of us have faced emotional turbulence and a lot of us have thought about why and how we do things. We were looking for a sense of permanence. While creating it, I was imagining a 24- to 25-year-old who found her grandmother’s trunk, didn’t want to throw them out but use them in some way,” shares Anamika, who opened the fashion week. Payal Singhal’s Kismet, an Indian take on luxury athleisure, too used her signature florals in addition to Aztec and ikat prints.
Payal Pratap brought a feminine edge to somber plaid by teaming it with hand-embroidered flowers, sequins and cross-stitch motifs, and we see this becoming a popular trend. Payal’s colour palette leaned toward autumnal hues such as plum, purple, navy, fuchsia, ruby, petrol, coffee, auburn, and ochre, while silhouettes ranged from maxis, wraps and sari dresses to longline jackets. “Print on print and handloom on print make interesting individualistic pairings and give the wearer great versatility,” explains Payal, adding, “At the very beginning of the pandemic, we had decided that we would be there to support our karigars through this phase of our professional journeys. I cherish the skill set they bring and have tried to nurture this through the various indigenous hand-crafted techniques I’ve used in this collection.”
All eyes were on Manish Malhotra at the fashion week, and he did not disappoint. As expected, he served up glamour and drama with his clothes with a special focus on metallics — from the silver-blue number worn by showstopper Kiara Advani to the fit and flare all-gold gown which was worn by actress and model Deepti Gujral. “The primary line of inspiration is from the old world repertoire—the embroidery in particular. Everyone knows my fondness for deft embroidery, intricate and ornate designs. However, I’ve given my own take to the collection, which is influenced by contemporary times. I wanted to bring together a new composition that is balanced in its heterogeneous elements,” shares Manish.
OUT OF A FAIRYTALE
Geisha Designs’ Sweet Reminiscences comprised ethereal gowns. The colour palette veered from ivory and blush to shades of ginger and Champagne, while the fabric used was a mix of chiffon, georgette, Chantilly and organza. Another designer who dressed models in elegant, fairytale gowns was Samant Chauhan. Despite a monochromatic palette, the pieces captured the concept beautifully, through the use of florals, shimmer and light, flowing fabrics.
Decolletage-baring dresses, tops and blouses were the order of the day, but that is the case every season. A noticeable trend this time around was crossover necklines. Samant Chauhan’s collection, New Born, had a stunning black crossover neckline midi dress with silver sequins and intricate hand-embroidery, and Shantanu and Nikhil’s line featured a rust brown bra-top, which was paired with a black lace jacket and bicycle shorts. “We have experimented with silhouettes and really taken the millennial-spunk philosophy that’s at the core of the brand and made it much younger and edgier,” explains Shantanu Mehra.
Both Masaba Gupta and Arpita Mehta made a case for bra tops in their fun, summer-friendly collections. Masaba’s line, featuring her signature prints, was geared towards ‘escapists by nature’, and Arpita made a lasting impression with her free-flowing easy silhouettes, abstract prints and a colour palette comprising soothing ocean-inspired colours.
SLEEVE FOR YOU
We saw innovation in spades this season not just in the way the shows were presented, but in the clothes themselves. A lot of attention was given to sleeves. There were oversized, dramatic options from sustainable labels Cocccon and P.E.L.L.A, while Suneet Verma played with pleats and ruffles, and Limerick, whose collection used Pichwai prints, presented jackets and tunics with large kimono sleeves.
Three-dimensional flowers and architectural shapes were seen in the collections of Gauri & Nainika and Nitin Bal Chauhan. The former created 3D tulle flowers, which were placed at the waist of a number of gowns, while the latter highlighted the pitfalls of social media in a show titled Faux Amis / False Friends by employing abstract shapes made from 3D embroidery.