Meet the Chennai brands that are representing the city at the Lakme Fashion Week Winter/Festive 2019
Issues of representation and inclusivity have found a voice on runways world over. It has sometimes been about body type, sometimes about race and ethnicity and closer home, about regionalism. Joining the global trend, the last few seasons of Lakme Fashion Weeks have seen city-based brands walk alongside industry biggies like Mumbai-based Gaurav Gupta, ace-couturier Manish Malhotra and designer duo Shantanu Nikhil among others. And this season it is no different. Three Chennai-based designers, who have been working years to put the city on the national fashion map will make their debut showcase at the St. Regis in Mumbai for the Lakme Fashion Week Winter/Festive 2019. From rallying behind the emerging streetwear trend to using experimental cuts on traditional garments, here’s all you need to know about their upcoming collections before they hit the ramp.
Born and raised into a family with a textile export business, Bandana Narula’s earliest tryst with fabric was at a very young age. Graduating with a Masters degree in Fashion Business – Marketing & Merchandising, the 31-year-old first started a boutique in 2014, before finding her niche in bespoke ethnic bridal wear. “My collections usually are replete with colour, texture and embroidery,” shares Bandana, whose eponymous brand has been a regular at the Chennai Couture Fashion Week. However, with the Winter/Festive collection, the designer has broadened horizons and is set to launch her first pret line, Dazva, that includes ensembles for the bride’s entourage. “For Dazva, we have stuck to a pastel colour palette of salmon pink, mint blues and greens, with slightly darker shades of mauve and purple. We have stayed away from heavy embellishments and used minimal self-hued sequins, tubes and belts.” Apart from the kali skirts, anarkalis and saris, the line will have lehengas with pleats and paired with boxy tops.
What to expect: An abundance of lightweight silks featuring inhouse chevron prints on ethnic silhouettes that allow ease of movement.
Kaveri Lalchand’s brand philosophy has always been trans-seasonal, easy-to-wear clothing. And the Chennai-based designer doesn’t like tagging them under the category of anti-fit silhouettes. “I prefer the term happy size. It is a concept I have embraced for years, where the fits and cuts are flattering to all body types,” says the designer. Known for her use of delicate French floral motifs and colours like cantaloupe green, pink lemonade and tangerine, Kaveri’s Festive '19 Collection, called Festive Dreams, doesn’t stray very far. Introducing linen knits along with chantilly lace and organza, the line uses dandelions, leaves and other floral motifs as gold stamps, laser cut applique and embroidery. As a part of her LFW debut, the designer has also roped in Shabana Azmi as the showstopper.
What to expect: Draped and layered dresses, ruffled scarves and wraps, flared pantaloons and flowing jackets.
For Brooklyn-based designers Shruti and Harsha Biswajit, the name Biskit is an intrinsic part of their Indian identity. Born and raised in Chennai, the siblings were much influenced by their parents, artist Shalini Biswajit and cartoonist Biswajit Balasubramanian, and launched their first artistic concept unisex clothing line in 2017. “The core identity of the brand revolves around comfort, functionality, and durability above all else,” says Harsha, taking a break from the fitting schedule ahead of his showcase that will take place together with other homegrown streetwear brands Gundi Studios, Jaywalking and Six5Six. “The term streetwear doesn’t appeal to us. These are labels that are added by the customer,” he says. Debuting 12 garments on the ramp, the line titled Spaced Out will include bomber jackets and shirts covered in space debris patterns, astronaut motifs on a white T-shirts, and circular patches of stars on tunic sleeves.
What to expect: White spacesuits with reflective strips and black denim jackets with a surrealist version of Indian astronaut Rakesh Sharma made from knit, cotton and cotton blends.