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Skirts make must-have cut
- Message from ramp: Last year's sensation grows into a necessity

New Delhi, April 20: If Lakme India Fashion Week 2004 brought skirts back in the limelight and flagged off one of the most powerful trends of recent times, Day One of the 2005 edition declared that the garment is here to stay much longer than expected.

Skirts in every shape and size ' crinkled, layered, flared, gathered, pleated, straight knee-lengths, pencils and minis ' ruled the ramp in almost all the women's lines showcased today.

The annual spectacle started off with the grand lady of Indian style ' Ritu Kumar ' unveiling a fresh and young collection of pr't separates.

A glitzy line from Rina Dhaka came next, with husband-wife duo Nandita Basu and Abhishek Gupta following on her heels. The dessert was as sumptuous with Bollywood's star designer Rocky S serving up a riot of colours.

Kumar opened her show with a lavish line of white flouncy, layered skirts in handloom cotton, moved on to crinkled ones in 'Punjabi' hues and long solid colour ones teamed with jewelled tees, finishing off with a line of floral layered chiffon skirts paired with ponchos and peasant tops.

The designer pronounced the skirt as the 'must-have' of the moment in an Indian woman's wardrobe.

'Skirts are absolute musts for any Indian woman's wardrobe right now and along with it one must possess some funky tees and a variety of odhnis that can be used in various ways. I want to show the world how Indian traditional weaves and printing techniques can be used to adorn this international garment,' she said.

Sunil Sethi, a buying agent for stores such as Selfridges, forecast 'loads and loads of skirts' on the ramp throughout the week. 'There will be skirts, skirts and more skirts throughout the fashion week. That's what every young woman wants to wear now. In fact, that's what the global market demands right now and the Indian designers have got the pulse right,' he said.

If the garment mostly touched the ankle in Kumar's collection, Dhaka cut them short at the knee.

The Delhi-based designer flaunted a versatile collection of skirts, with styles ranging from flared minis, flowing strips of chiffons to layered knee-lengths and short pencils. The fabrics used for her out-and-out western line included chiffons, chamoise satin, Bangalore silk and mesh lycra.

The tilt towards the shrinking length of the attire was iterated by Basu's line, which presented knee-length skirts in different forms, including in leather.

But the best was saved for the last as Rocky S swamped the ramp with his collection of jewelled minis and ornate knee-length chiffon skirts with ruffled edges.

Capri was the other piece of women's lowers seen rubbing knees with the skirt. Both garments were visible as much on the ramp as off it even as Delhi's glitterati turned up in their summer casual bests.

Lots of embellished denim three-quarters and fitted formal ones made appearances in Dhaka's line, while loose-fitting ones with drawstring ends found place in Kumar's collection and Basu presented a range of structured and fitted capris.

Rocky S stole the show here too, with his collection of loose-fitting peddle-pushers in ethnic fabrics and vibrant hues of fuschia, blue and reds.

While capris are billed to be big for the next one year, the slim tapered fits and neat cuts that were seen aplenty in the trousers, even in Gupta's men's wear line, promises to give the boot-legs and flares a run for their money pretty soon.

While trend-spotting continued throughout the day, a minor disappointment for the audience was the lack of drama on the ramp.

No models chewing bread loaves on the ramp, none evoking the funeral mood with their heads wrapped in black shrouds. No choreographic drama, no over-the-top accessorisation and no shock value in the clothes either.

Sethi traced the 'lack of drama' to the 'serious attitude of the designers'.

'There is indeed less drama on the ramp this time, only the music accompanying the Rocky S show livened up the ambience quite a bit. I think the lighting is to blame to a certain extent. Also, the designers are very focused and they mean serious business. That's the reason for the no-frills attitude,' he said.

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