The new Anamika Khanna woman is severe in style, yet she is empathetic. She is not out there to prove a point.” — Anamika Khanna.
Sorry Anamika. An AK woman proves many points. First, that she has great taste. Second, that she has great taste. And third, that she has great taste.
Thursday night in breezy Delhi, fashion store Evoluzione hosted an off-site showing for Anamika Khanna, followed by Delhi designer Gaurav Gupta. Everyone had a front row seat, on either side of the long-winding dining table — all-white — classically set to welcome sparkling or red wine, whatever you prefer. Beautiful hors d’oeuvre dotted the table, alongside delicate floral arrangements. And occasionally, a pigeon took flight overhead. The ramp stretched across three rooms, and somewhere at the tables sat the stunning Sonam Kapoor, wearing AK, of course.
The chhan-chhan of payal set the stage for the couture collection; earlier last week, the designer had called it her “love song to India”.
“This is where it originates, people might think it’s Western but look at the gota — it’s so Indian. If you look at this silhouette carefully, it’s like the bandhgala,” Anamika had said, showing some of the samples to t2.
As always her moodboard is royal India. The resultant collection is also truly India. A modern India, a mesmerising India and such a magical India. Was it a peplum or a ghagra choli? Was it a dhoti or a lungi? It was probably everything combined, or none at all, just new somethings created in AK’s hands.
The colour story began with muted and mono. Slowly, other colours crept in. A one-off red, a blue and a new colour that has joined the AK family — it’s a pretty pastel — between a salmon pink and an old rose. As usual the garments had a old-meets-new thing going. Traditional Indian in terms of embroideries (there’s a lot of gota work this time) and international silhouettes.
The hero of the night was the cape — sometimes it came diaphanous, sometimes heavy metal, sometimes stone-encrusted. The other hero was the sari drape — everyone from Sonam to the models made it their own, giving it that sexy one-shoulder vibe.
The new embroidery entrants were beads. Her signature lace embroidery was also modified. “We are experimenting as usual,” Anamika had said last week during a preview. Ha! Such an understatement.
|Sonam Kapoor in Anamika Khanna at the show
So the 30-odd looks (she likes it crisp and edited) that walked down the winding aisles of Evoluzione were all experimental, bordering on edgy, in a very nice, wearable way. Wearable being the buzz word, even in a couture show. Here’s why: “Just because it’s couture, it doesn’t mean we will go overboard and show larger-than-life things. It’s neat and clean because I am in the mood to clean up my act. I also want to show the grandeur and the opulence but in a simple manner — it’s a paradox. This is a result of overtiredness of excess that we have got used to in this country. At the same time, it is important to not forget our culture and heritage of craft, it is essential to cut it down. I’m in that zen space.”
Yes, zen does go very well with the Anamika Khanna school of style.
Why Gaurav Gupta is the iphone of fashion!
If the idea of getting draped (read entangled) in Indian wear stresses you out, don’t worry because Gaurav Gupta is there. Now all that stands between you and the yards of desi drama is a zip.
Gaurav Gupta sent out his couture collection at Evoluzione after a quick dance drama, a palate-cleanser you might call it, after Anamika Khanna.
We would like to compare this young Delhi designer to the iPhone of fashion. The re-writer of rules. The game-changer of the ramp. On Thursday night, his sculpted saris got more sexy if that was even possible. So when he had told us to “expect the unexpected. We are getting younger and sexier. It’s dramatic, it’s a colour burst”, he wasn’t exaggerating.
The label didn’t just get sexier, it also became more powerful. From ivory to neon pink and desi orange, the show covered every colour in between, including his stunning champagne and gunmetal. Pre-pleating, goddess draping, tulle, Chantilly lace, Baroque textures... all came together to add more cutting-edge drama to the Gaurav Gupta signature styles. “What makes us special is that we are in our own genre. It’s a strong signature and we have no references.”
This year they also showed many kurtas and fun lehngas, from fluorescent to fiery colours. The modern Indian bride will be spoilt for choice. Thankfully she has a sangeet and a
bachelorette do and a reception and a shaadi to dress for.