40 years of Ritu Kumar
The grand dame of fashion Ritu Kumar completed 40 years in the business in 2008. From a simple start in Calcutta with two printing tables and some blocks, the House of Ritu Kumar just grew and grew. To celebrate, she came back to where it all began for The Telegraph Weddings in September, and then went on to rock the ramp (picture left) at the HDIL India Couture Week later that month. Priyanka Chopra as the smashing showstopper shared the spotlight with yesteryear supermodels Anna Bredmeyer, Shyamoli Verma and Sonalika Oberoi, all of whom Ritu managed to bring back to the catwalk. The landmark was made even sweeter with the launch of her made-in-France perfume Tree of Life in October. And the Chevalier Des Arts et des Lettres award from the French government further made 2008 very special for me, Ritu told t2.
The shopping skyline in India hasnt been the same since August 2008. Thats when DLF Emporio, Asias finest luxury destination opened doors (picture below). Sprawled over 3.5 lakh sq ft in Vasant Kunj, this mall houses the worlds top design houses. Dior, Louis Vuitton, Gucci, Salvatore Ferragamo, Versace, Just Cavalli, Canalli, Kenzo, Paul Smith… the luxury list goes on and on. Giving the international biggies company are Indias crème designers: Tarun Tahiliani, Rohit Bal, Suneet Verma, Signature by Satya Paul and many more. If precious price tags arent your scene, try a bite at Café E on the malls ground floor during your next Delhi trip.
India celebrated haute couture as the country saw the debut of an India Couture Week, supported by Fashion Design Council of India in September this year. It was all about celebrating Indian crafts and kaarigari said everyone in unison. Eleven style stalwarts of the country including Rohit Bal, Manish Malhotra, Tarun Tahiliani and Calcuttas Anamika Khanna were invited to participate in the six-day fashion fest. Hosted in Grand Hyatt, Mumbai, it saw the best of the bling brigade from every camp of the country come together. On the left is a magical moment from Varun Bahls show.
Third Fashion Week
First there was one. December 2005 saw the split that gave birth to the second. July 2008 saw another break-up and the coming of a third, when, after a month of rumours, allegations, scandal and suspense, Sumeet Nair and Co announced Delhi Fashion Week at DLF Emporio. For good or bad, its too early to tell. But what one can say for sure is that 2008 made sure that the countrys fashion industry would never be the same again. Rival camps, divided buyers, testing loyalties… to heat up matters more, Delhi Fashion Weeks dates coincided with Wills Lifestyle India Fashion Week. More designs, much more drama…
Its been a happy 2008 for the citys style set. Here are some reasons we smiled:
A moment from The Telegraph Weddings. Picture by Pabitra Das
While the first half of the year was dull, the fashion action rose with the mercury in June. The first big event on the citys style calendar was on June 20 when drape master Tarun Tahiliani was invited by Ladies Study Group for a talk. And what a talk it was. From how to twist a sari to how not to fall for mass-tige (prestige for the masses), it was a lesson Calcutta needed to learn.
MAC gave Forum a new lease of life in August 2008. The international make-up giant that the world swears by came to Calcutta and has been buzzing since its first day in business on 8.8.2008. After the stores soft launch, make-up magician Mickey Contractor arrived for its formal opening and shared his top trade tips. Abhijit Chanda and Don have been manning MAC superbly since. The store also saw the launch of Cult of Cherry and Manish Aroras collections. The Calcuttans beauty box has not been the same since.
Lifestyle exhibition Cherry Orchard, also in the same month, went a step ahead to give Calcutta an unforgettable shopping experience. A quick fashion walk-through, hosted by Nina Manuel, showcased the seasons look and kickstarted a mini-shopping fest. The USP: Salvatore Ferragamo. The Italian luxury labels success in the city proved that Calcutta is ready for more.
August also saw the return of Bridal Asia to Calcutta after a gap of five years. Apart from many Calcutta labels, the marriage mart saw some emerging talent in fashion and jewellery.
The Telegraph Weddings, the one-stop matrimonial solution, took bridal bling to another level in September. The extravagant fashion show that was opened by Ritu Kumar and closed by Manish Malhotra was only a teaser to the shop-till-you-drop experience over three days.
November was as good as August when it came to fabulous fashion. The month began with a bang with Chivas Fashion Tour 2008. While Day One saw a Calcutta connection in Kiran Uttam Ghosh, Day Two belonged to Varun Bahl, Raghavendra Rathore and Shantanu & Nikhil.
November 6 was another important style date for the city. Some of the countrys best talent like Nitin Bal Chauhan, Anuj Sharma, Nachiket Barve and Samant Chauhan took centre-stage at Soho for a fashion show by Inner Wheel Club of Central Calcutta. Indias GeNext loved the taste of the city.
Stylefile 2008 at the Old Bungalow sealed the year. Sabyasachi Mukherjee, Anamika Khanna, Kiran Uttam Ghosh, Shantanu Goenka, Rohit Gandhi and Rahul Khanna, Pankaj Ahuja, Prashant Verma…. The best of the best were there.
Yves Saint Laurent died in June 2008. He was 71 and left behind a legendary legacy. His most famous fashion contributions like Le Smoking, the safari and many art-inspired collections will be remembered in fashion forever.
Valentino Garavani took a final bow from the catwalk in January this year as he presented his last haute couture collection in Paris. The Valentino reins were handed over to ex-Gucci girl Alessandra Facchinetti. His last collection comprised 74 pieces and was attended by who’s who of the style world.