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RAMP IT UP - At the fashion week in Delhi

PAYAL PRATAP

Payal, wife of Rajesh Pratap Singh, made her ramp debut on Day One of WIFW. She took inspiration from the desert of Kutch. Models sprang up from within the audience as the Coldplay track Every Tear is a Waterfall blasted in the background. The silhouettes — very non-dramatic and matter-of-fact yet far from boring. Prints, cross-stitch roses and vivid colours brought alive these “modern village silhouettes”. Faves include her ghagra pants, gilets and tops with lots of waist ruffles. Wooden cuffs and leather sandals added the finishing touches. When Sapna Kumar closed the show with a cute peplum top, lehnga and skinny leather belt, you knew that Mrs Pratap was here to stay.

ANAND KABRA

The white blouse, a spring-summer 2013 trend around the globe, made its first Indian appearance at Anand Kabra, who opened Day One along with Payal Pratap. Kabra showed Taramati. The line began with some crisp colour blocking on shirt-style kurtas. Asymmetrical hemlines, a slash here and a slit there, dramatic keyhole-backs and thigh-high slits dominated a sexy silhouette story that was desi in soul but still somehow bordered on the edgy. The Hyderabad-based designer’s prints revolved around fragmented mosaic and inlay tiles. We love his new kurta — it’s super short or super long with dipped hemlines, and is worn with super-wide palazzo pants or sarong skirts or ombre salwar pants. His sari came pre-pleated, almost pants-like. The young brides will lap it up in a heartbeat.

ATSU SEKHOSE

The ministry of textiles presented a show by Nagaland-origin designer Atsu Sekhose on Day One. Atsu, a WIFW regular for the past few years, has slowly and steadily managed to build a brand of easy-breezy pieces that are high on wearability and this show, where he looked homeward for inspiration, was no different.
“I wanted to do a collection that’s not just textile-based and heavy shawl-like. It had to be wearable in every part of the world, it had to be modern, contemporary ready-to-wear,” Atsu told t2 post-show.
When you see his muga silk trenchcoat, you know what he means. It’s quite an epitome of modernity, so cool and contemporary.
The designer aimed to combine all the tribes from the Northeast by unifying their techniques, weaves and motifs. “It signifies unity. I wanted to bring it all together,” he said. Light silks and cottons were fashioned into clutter-less separates and dresses. Pencil skirts, blouses, pants, sheaths and, later towards the end, longer column silhouettes like maxis and gowns were touched by the Northeast vibe. “This show is very special because of the home connection. I do hope it boosts the region,” he signed off.

WENDELL RODRICKS

“Geev me one, just one oreegeenaal blouse. Or you zon’t go home. Vous avez compris?” Wendell’s Parisian teacher Rose Guiret shouts on page 92 of The Green Room, the Goan designer’s memoir. When Wendell sent out Ocean Oriente, his spring-summer 2013 collection, in the evening of Day One, you couldn’t help but think of Rose. So much ‘oreegeenaality’, so much character, so much Wendell. An imaginary nautical journey from Goa to Shanghai via the Malacca Strait and Macau in the 18th century set the backdrop for this summery look. The show opened with a shocker. Jesse Randhawa in a shimmery sequinned bikini top and kashti (picture above). Never before has such shine and bling been seen at Wendell Rodricks, but that was just a teaser because the rest of the show — split into three parts — quickly went back to the Wendell we know. His silhouettes were signature — bias and more bias tops, sarong skirts, organza wraps, scoop-front tunics, pleated pants.... The colours were yummy sorbet shades, some satiny champagne and lots of ivory and white for both men and women. The last sequence went longer and leaner and finally the showstoppers arrived — Chinese cheongsam gowns. After all, the journey this summer did culminate in Shanghai!

DEV R NIL

Dev R Nil’s Lost and Found was a breezy line of comfortable and roomy silhouettes — featuring a melange of prints from cute little hearts to cuter Baa Baa black sheep — on Day Two of WIFW. The label seems to have made a deliberate shift to separates but the designers insist the dress is not dead. Not yet. The show, as a result, had a happy marriage of maxi dresses on the one hand and tunic tops worn with trousers on the other. And skirts. Lots and lots of them.
A noticeable element was the abundant matchy-matchy. They say it comes from the mindset of menswear, to make things sort of in a set. Other international trends have also been nodded to. Cropped tops, like bustier blouses, and many a jumpsuit.
The hero of the show was organza. The boys have a soft corner for it, no wonder the wispy wonder always manages to creep its way into all their collections. “It’s drapey and fluid yet has a beautiful structure, quite like the DNA of our label — a balance of fluidity with form,” Dev and Nil told t2.
Colour-wise, things began on a sober note — ivory and cream, and then a pop of fuchsia before moving on to leafy greens and sorbet oranges. Their sweetheart necklines — more promiscuous and less prissy, nevertheless very pretty — need a special mention.
PS: In love with their cute hearts. Two thumb impressions come together to make a heart. Aww.

RAJESH PRATAP SINGH

The trilogy of broken spine, wolfpack and catharsis was a whopper from minimalist maestro Rajesh Pratap Singh. His spring-summer 2013 look was avant-garde and edgy, and not just by ‘Raju’ standards! Spiky studs on stockings. Heavy metal sheath dresses with rocker-punk shoulder details, hot shorts worn with a black blazer, some prints and finally slinky draped dresses in gold. Texture was the trump card and the story went from basket-like textures (especially on the spine — quite chilling!) to overall texture. The finale was reserved for flapper-style dresses, plastic fringes flapping about in all-white. Elaborate hairdos and statement lips (with or without glitter) went with these impeccably constructed outfits. But that’s a given when it’s a Rajesh Pratap Singh show.

MANISH MALHOTRA AND THE DRAMA IN HIS DESIGN DNA

Manish Malhotra

Trust Manish Malhotra to add some filmi masala to a rather star-starved fashion week. On Night Two of WIFW, Bollywood’s favourite designer had ‘it’ girl and current pataka Parineeti Chopra (in a navy lehnga, one-shoulder braid and her sweet smile, picture left) walk for him. That was the heroine. The other hero of the collection was the cause, since the collection was based on chikankari, hand-done by the girls of the NGO Mijwan, many of whom Manish has adopted over the last couple of years. The show opened with Shabana Azmi (above) talking about her pet project Mijwan and the charity set up by her late father Kaifi Azmi.
“The show is less dramatic this time, more pret,” said the designer before the show. But when it’s Manish, drama just comes as part of the package. He might say it’s watered down but how can you possibly water down the glamour factor when it’s so embedded in the design DNA. So when the models (boys and girls) came in, crisply, the walk might have been straight and quick (hands “beautifully limp” by the side) the clothes were anything but straight and simple. They had the volume, the flowy fabrics, the sexy sheers, the teasing backs and above everything, the drama.
The silhouettes took an old-world turn. The cholis were more modest — arms and belly covered, there were some sharara pants, lots of layered kurtas, a few Anarkalis and a sole sari. Virgin-white chikankari was glammed up with a pop of coral, a dash of olive and an occasional splash of canary yellow. The boys wore bandhgalas, simple and subdued. His menswear just gets better every season.
Everything said and done, the ultimate test of any show is the buzz and energy it generates. And like always, the MM show was electric. And like always, house-full too.

Text: Shradha Agarwal