While the pre-pandemic editions of Lakmé Fashion Week were held in Mumbai, last week’s event — FDCI X Lakmé Fashion Week — was held in New Delhi and was a joint effort with the Fashion Design Council of India. The week kicked off with a stunning display of designer Rahul Mishra’s The Enchanted Garden at the Embassy of Italy on Wednesday, and concluded with a fashion presentation of the collection, Earthbound, by Falguni Shane Peacock on Sunday. From eco-conscious fabrics and seasonless clothing to upcycled garments and heritage crafts, the collections spotlighted causes close to the designers’ hearts, be it Roma Agarwal’s Jharoka which championed chikankari and mukaish work or Ashish N Soni’s Change Has Different Faces, which was inspired by the changes the world has experienced in the past two years. Designers such as Manish Malhotra, Varun Bahl and Eshaa Amiin weigh in on the biggest trends from the runways…
Manish Malhotra showcased Diffuse, a bridge-to-luxury line of separates, sweatshirts, jackets and more. Talking about the new line he says, “It’s a new segment, and a new vocabulary. The formal silhouettes join forces with youth-centric celebrations with eclectic gender-fluid editions of sweatshirts and zipper jackets. There are also blazer sets and overcoats. The line primarily features distinct geometric patterns and eccentric prints peppered with metallic details. And of course, my signature elements like sequins, metallics, feathers, fringes, tassels and mirrors.”
Turn back the clock
The label Nirmooha’s Prreeti Jaiin Nainutia presented her collection Ancienne, a vintage-inspired array of embroidered cropped jackets, scalloped minis with a moulded bodice, halterneck gowns, bralettes paired with suits, kaftans and saris. “The biggest trend this season is the re-emergence of Y2K fashion. We are re-living some iconic fashion moments from the early 2000s, such as embellished crop tops, wide leg pants and grunge prints. Think cult hit, Euphoria. In my collection, I have incorporated ’90s staples with a contemporary twist, from tweed minis and fish scale sequins to heavy duty embroidery,” she shares.
Eshaa Amiin unveiled her collection Deconstructed Geometry, a celebration of vibrant prints on denim. “Right now, ’90s trends, in terms of silhouettes and patterns, are quite popular. However there’s one big difference... this time the classic styles are reinvented in oversized, relaxed and loud colours. Some of the most important trends are bubble dresses, voluminous tops, cutouts, hoodies under blazers, cropped cardigans, mesh T-shirts, puffed sleeeves and boiler suits. Keeping this in mind we have incorporated bold and bright colours, geometric prints and denim patchwork. The fits are relaxed and oversized,” she tells us.
Keeping it classic
Shruti Sancheti’s Alchemy is a line that is inspired by the designer’s idea of ‘home’ and features easy separates made from Maheshwari cotton, silk, raw silk and Chanderi. “The biggest trend after the pandemic is timeless slow fashion which is season fluid, sustainable and versatile. After the traumatic two years, the consumer is looking for clothes with understated opulence and restrained luxury and which can be used in multiple ways. Indigenous craft and unsurpassed legacy of Indian textiles and weaves are in focus, and unethical fashion is gradually dying. We have worked to revive three different types of ancient embroideries like ektaar which is a laborious single thread Mughal technique. We have also attempted to revive danka embroidery,” she says.
Designer duo Pankaj and Nidhi were moved by the beauty of Marbella, the town on the Spanish coastline. The collection, also named Marbella, features floral artwork on tulle and twill, apart from hand cut and thread-edged organza petals. “Florals for summer — it’s become almost like a motif or a symbol for beauty and is overdone. It’s a challenge for the designer to use a motif which has been done a lot but interpret it differently and beautifully while being in sync with their design ethos. In our new collection, we’ve tried to draw our own prints keeping our signature Pankaj & Nidhi style intact, for instance there are a lot of geometric prints in the patterning and the collection is bold and dramatic,” says Nidhi.
Rahul Mishra, who opened the week, once again found inspiration in nature for his collection The Enchanted Garden. “Nature will always be the biggest inspiration for me. I have studied design in Italy and nature co-exists with the architecture there, so in a lot of ways, nature also conserves the history of Italy. What I take away from my personal experiences and memories, finds its way into our collections, be it tiny wildflowers, clouds in a blue sky, and landscapes. In this collection, I have delved deeper into the study of botany and florals, as well as entire landscapes, playing with scale and texture,” says Rahul.
Quintessential by Varun Bahl was an ode to the queens of India, and used upcycled embroidery and unusual silhouettes. “This season is big on plunging necklines, new and modern takes on traditional bridal lehengas, and the use of sustainable fabrics and materials. A lot of these trends are incorporated in Quintessential, our SS ’22 collection. We have long jackets made with upcycled embroidery and patchwork, denim lehengas with plunging necklines, and even bra tops and ripped denim with traditional veils,” he explains.
Raise the volume
Samant Chauhan, whose signature collection took cues from the colours one sees after a spell of rain, says, “A few of the trends that I have noticed this year are voluminous silhouettes and white for Autumn/Winter. We have used volume to exaggerate our outfits to create more drama and make the garments more comfortable and wearable. Also we used white in our collection to balance all the black elements.”