The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Hushed tones & glamour galore on fruity finale

New Delhi, May 4: Clearly, everyone is having a lot of Saks at fashion week. Visit any designer’s stall and you will be greeted with the announcement — made in suitably hushed, reverential tones — that “Saks was just here”.

The designer will then proceed to tell you that Michael Fink, the fashion director of the store, showed interest in several lines and will be sending his buyers to do business at a later stage. Of course, if Saks were to stock the number of Indian designers it is said to have identified, it wouldn’t have space to stock anything else. But hey, why let logistics get in the way of a good story'

And stories there are aplenty at fashion week. Some talk in conspiratorial whispers about how two big designers have virtually hijacked the Fashion Design Council of India (FDCI) and make all the major decisions, while Vinod Kaul, its executive director, is relegated to the background.

Some of the younger designers complain in muted tones about how they had to suffer the indignation of having to audition before a jury, though they had proved themselves at previous fashion weeks. Others crib that they didn’t get solo shows unlike their less-deserving colleagues. And then there are those who bitch about their fellow designers in newspaper interviews or damn them with faint praise on television.

But all of that was forgotten in the excitement generated by the Lakme finale show, which brought the curtain down on India Fashion Week. The hottest ticket in town saw Delhi’s socialites pulling out all the stops when it came to over-the-top glamour — so much so they even put Mumbai’s glamour brigade to shame. But even they couldn’t quite match up to the spectacle put up on the ramp. The theme was Lakme’s Fruit Shock range of make-up, which was interpreted by three different designers in their own distinctive ways.

Anshu Arora Sen began with a collection titled “Pop”. Built around such candy colours as pink and green, the clothes made the most of little girl chic with simply-cut dresses, asymmetrical skirts and flat sandals worn with coloured tights. The baby-doll look was carried further by the use of ribbons as accessories, and bubble-gum pink found use in elasticised sleeves that extended from the arm of one model to the other.

A model displays an outfit from Anshu Arora Sen’s Pop collection. (AFP)

Aki Narula’s collection was titled “Crush” and in keeping with the name, the designer used a lot of crushed, crinkled and distressed fabrics, ragged edges and tie-and-dye printing to make his design statement. Narula used everything from cotton scarves in the distinctive weave and colours of Assam to a colourful strain of tweed. There was a strong influence of sportswear in the collection which had a laid-back, easy feel to it.

Anamika Khanna was asked to work on the theme of Burst, which she interpreted as a flurry of creative energy in an overwhelming mix of fabric treatments and colours. Using rough cotton like markeen (usually used as packing material), coarse cotton net, and even gamchhas, Khanna used stitching to texturise the fabric and then bleached, dyed, printed and over-printed to give a distinctive feel to her clothes. “I wanted to create a relaxed traveller’s theme. These are clothes for the woman who puts things together without trying too hard.”

Show over, it was time for the designers to let their hair down, which they duly did at a party hosted by Lakme. No, there was no champagne — the preferred tipple of the fashion set — on offer, but copious quantities of wine were consumed till the wee hours of the morning. And for once, even the models didn’t stick to bottled water.

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