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Haute hues

Nida Mahmood gives her signature sari-jeans look a funky neon makeover

The bang-on trend this summer is a fearless love affair with neons. The fashion lookbooks of designers for Spring/ Summer 2012 are awash with a neon colour palette of luminous oranges, the hottest pinks, fluorescent lime greens, turmeric yellows and electric indigos. They are also a hit with the international designer fraternity including brands like Blumarine, D&G and Roksanda Ilincic.

Suffice to say: with a wardrobe splashed with these brazen glow-in-the-dark colours, you’ll not go unnoticed.

“Neons make way for that perfect pop in the middle of a sleepy afternoon. Fashion has to be about joy after all,” says designer Nachiket Barve whose client-list boasts of actors Aishwarya Rai, Sonam Kapoor and Sonali Bendre. Barve teams neons with sorbet colours in an ombre (double-shaded dyeing) effect.

In his collection titled The Lightness of Being, hot corals and tangerines, limes and sharp ceruleans (purplish-blue tones) walk hand-in-hand with shades like aqua, pistachio and watermelon (priced between Rs 2,200 and Rs 40,000). The collection features breezy jackets, dresses, tunics and asymmetric skirts with silver, shimmery motifs on georgettes, silks, chiffons and crepes.

Seasoned designer Kavita Bhartia has a very feminine collection, Kaleidoscope (Rs 4,000 and Rs 7,500) on offer for the sultry summer. Expect floral motifs in resham thread-work on tunics in acidic bursts of neon oranges, pinks and greens. “I’ve kept the thread-work restricted so that heavy embroideries don’t take away from the summery look,” says Bhartia.

Newbie designer Rajat Tangri’s New-Age, futuristic collection called Perihelion (pegged between Rs 15,000 and Rs 70,000) comes in distinct neon tones. The Australian-Indian has designed for actors Orlando Bloom, Kylie Minogue, Priyanka Chopra and Sushmita Sen.

Floral motifs in resham thread-work pair perfectly with neon shades in Kavita Bhartia’s creations

His key looks include solid lime green gowns, neon pink skinny pants with gunmetal hand-embroidery as embellishment. “The perihelion is the point in the orbit of a planet, asteroid or comet where it’s nearest to the sun. So, I’ve used neon chartreuse yellows, pinks and fluorescent greens, offsetting them with basic hues like creams, greys and blacks on Italian blended cotton, silk and stretch satin,” says Mumbai-based Tangri.

Nikasha Tawadey, who’s styling for actor Sonakshi Sinha in her upcoming film, Rowdy Rathore, uses neon gajari (carrot) colours. Inspired by Tawadey’s Calcutta roots, the collection titled Tumi, flaunts her boho chic sensibility with frills, breezy blouses and asymmetrical hemlines in khadi silk and chiffon.

If neon presents a different genre of dressing with its punk undertones, designer duo Shane and Falguni Peacock tweak it to subtle accents in their collection for the mature woman. They incorporate neon yellows through cutouts in their line (prices on request) of figure-hugging dresses, gowns and jumpsuits.

“We are not head-over-heels in love with solid blocks, so we’ve kept the look toned down,” points out Shane who along with his partner has now become a top choice for female pop divas — be it Katy Perry, Jennifer Lopez or Rihanna. They show their collections exclusively at the New York and London fashion weeks.

For more psychedelic hues, look no further than the lines of Nida Mahmood and Archana Kochhar. Both have borrowed elements from the colours of Rajasthan. Mahmood’s line, The Great Indian Bohemian Tamasha (Rs 4,000 upwards), showcases the puppet theatre of Rajasthan and she uses neons together with colour blocking. “For instance, I’ve contrasted a lime green shirt with turquoise embroidery,” she says.

Mahmood plays with acid greens, fuchsias, oranges, indigo blues and bright yellows on organic, mercerised voiles to twills, mulberry silks and taffetas.

Not in the neon comfort zone yet? Take a cue from Koch-har who insists that less is more when it comes to dressing up in neons. “An embroidery, a lipstick, an eyeshadow in neon colours — and you’ve got the look,” she adds.

Her collection, Kathputli Kathak, that takes off on the Rajasthan’s Kathputli dolls, flaunts neon electric blues, limes, pinks and yellows on beige, white and black backgrounds. Slashes of neons add to the jumpsuits, togas and asymmetrical floor-skimming tunics. Adds Kochhar: “I’ve even sewn letters from the Devanagari script in neon colours on boleros.”

Enough already? Then paint the town neon, if you dare.