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Since 1st March, 1999
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New star rises from east

New Delhi, April 23: The Lakme India Fashion Week (LIFW) catapulted Calcutta boy Sabyasachi Mukherjee to instant fame, making him a star almost overnight.

Three years down the line, the India Fashion Week threw up yet another star of style. And this time, too, it's a 24-year-old amateur from the east who walked away with rave reviews from all quarters.

For Shahzad Kalim ' winner of Star One's reality show Lakme Fashion House who earned the opportunity of an internship with Donatella Versace in Milan ' it was a dream to showcase at the fashion week.

As luck would have it, this year's LIFW became the first professional fashion show for the young lad from Patna.

Day four of the fashion extravaganza saw the young designer unveiling his collection before an almost packed house. 'Mine was the first show at 10 in the morning and I am very happy to see that Delhi woke up for my collection. Expectations were quite high and I am glad that I could live up to it,' said the beaming designer.

Style honchos like Tarun Tahiliani, Wendell Rodricks and Narendra Kumar were among those cheering the debutant on and the buyers' row was fairly full, with Saks Fifth Avenue fashion director Michael Fink being the cynosure of all eyes.

Titled Brazen Bollywood Meets Rodeo Drive, the collection wedded Hollywood Rodeo culture to Bollywood kitsch.

Put together in two weeks at a budget of Rs 2.5 lakh, the 30-ensemble collection was sponsored by Lakme.

A riot of colours in chiffon and georgette combined with brocades, laces, satins and velvets shaped the stringy tops, bustiers, churi pants, short skirts and hot pants. Stones, floral and paisley prints, sequins and ethnic edging adorned the overtly sexy clothes. Asymmetrical hemlines and innovative sleeves added the creative edge.

The accessories were wacky all the way ' from colourful strips worn as headgear to huge bags to even whips and a saxophone.

'Since this is my first collection, I wanted to do something totally bizarre. I just let my creativity flow without thinking much of the buyers,' admitted Shahzad.

But despite the liberal dose of 'creativity', the collection did not compromise on wearability.

The balance between 'creativity and commercialism' is what made the debutant's designs special, felt Wendell Rodricks. 'I just loved Shahzad's collection'. He being an absolute fresher, I was a bit sceptical that he would get carried away by his creativity, but I am amazed at his sense of balance.'

Designer Narendra Kumar, under whom Shahzad had done his first internship after graduating from the National Institute of Fashion Technology, described the collection as amazingly 'confident'.

'He was always driven by the passion to be big in the fashion world and that's what has brought him here. But I am surprised that he didn't showcase any of his men's clothes, he is just brilliant at it,' Kumar gushed.

Praises kept flowing in from every direction. Designer Sandeep Khosla predicted a long and successful innings for the new kid on the ramp. 'He has done an incredible job and he is a promising talent. I am sure he will have a fabulous future after his Milan stint,' smiled Khosla.

After the wacky, it was time for vintage.

The filmi flavour lingered in the next show as designer Manish Arora played out high drama on the ramp.

A melange of elements drawn from 18th century costumes of kings and queens, Indian paintings, traditional crafts and Cine Blitz covers of seventies' Bollywood gave shape to the rather theatrical clothes.

The audience lapped up the set, lighting, make-up, music and, of course, the riot of colours Arora unleashed.

The melodrama on the ramp mellowed as Calcutta's Kiran Uttam Ghosh presented her collection called All That Jazz. Models lazed on coffee tables, reading newspapers and brushing up their make-up.

Layers and layers of embroidery, prints, patchwork and texturing in linen, georgette and tweed formed the jackets, tops, churi pants, sarongs and skirts.

The palette was a mix of subdued shades of mustard, dirty pink, ivory and brighter hues of turquoise, lime green and orange. A lot of interesting drapes dominated the line, with a range in pleated tussar standing out.

If Ghosh set the mood for sophistication, Raghavendra Rathore did not disturb it.

Both his collection and the no-frills presentation embodied the classy touch Rathore is famous for. 'My collection is inspired by the spectacular riches carted away by Timur the Lame to Samarkhand after his invasion of the northern princely states of India,' he said.

'The motifs and styling of my collection is based on the decorative uniforms of the battalions, the objects d'art-laden caravans and the jewellery of the rulers,' the designer added.

The colours in his collection were black, combined with brown, white and cream.

Structured and fitted jackets, slim pants, skirts, tops, kurtas, shirts, sherwanis and suits shaped the silhouettes.

Bollywood was back in the evening, and with a bang, as Anuradha Vakil's show unveiled a rather special model. Actor Shabana Azmi sashayed down the ramp in a navy blue sari and walked away with the limelight.

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