The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Sehwag sparkles on fashion's freaky day out

New Delhi, April 21: The Lakme India Fashion Week (LIFW) 2005 opened on a rather sober note yesterday, but the mood was much more high-voltage on Day Two.

And not just on the ramp. While the going on the catwalk got hotter with every passing show, off it, an appearance by cricketer Virender Sehwag readied the pitch for some more star shower.

Sehwag stole the limelight in the afternoon when he paid a visit to hand out mobile phones to seven designers who put together a sparkling show for the cellphone company in the evening. More cricketing stars dazzled on the fashion field with Mohammed Kaif and Irfan Pathan, along with Sehwag again, making their presence felt on the ramp in the evening.

The celeb brigade, however, was not restricted to the cricketers, as Indian Idol Abhijit Sawant lent his voice to the mobile phone show, while posing for a designer shoot during the day.

On the fashion front, the day was packed with more and more of gypsy skirts and voluminous clothing that one got to see on the first day, but the ambience on the ramp made all the difference.

'The usual drama that one sees at LIFW is a little toned down this year. And I understand that the event is becoming much more professional and strictly business. I guess with so many international buyers around, the designers are concentrating just on the clothes. But it feels good to see some madness on the ramp, which livens up the show. Today, some of the shows had that element of fun,' felt Bollywood actor Ayub Khan, who sat through select shows while looking after wife Niharika Khan's jewellery stall most of the time.

While Suneet Verma, who opened the day, chose to stick to the just-business format with his feminine, international collection called Sex and the City, it took the next designer on the block ' Ranna Gill ' to infuse some fun into the proceedings. The unique opening lighting set the mood for the show, which then saw the models doing a jig on the ramp while showing off the 'tongue-in-cheek glamourous' clothes. At the end of the fast-paced catwalk, the models paraded straight down from the ramp into the audience gallery livening up the action.

'I always want my shows to be entertainment for my audience. Rather than just showing the clothes, I want to show them a story, a dream, with a certain amount of romance in the ambience,' smiled Gill.

The fun continued in Rohit Gandhi and Rahul Khanna's gorgeous show later in the day. The catwalkers, with their foreheads painted in a blue-green hue and body covered with grey see-through fabric to evoke a 'dead feel', often broke the monotony with their wacky gestures.

The high point of the day's drama, however, presented itself in designer duo Ashish and Smita Soni's show titled Sounds of Silence. The spring-summer 2006 collection unveiled itself on a ramp fenced with twigs, with sounds of birds chirping and water gurgling in the background. The models, with their pale faces and hair wearing a frozen look ' plaits wrapped in cellophane ' catwalked in slow motion throughout the show. The sense of serenity and peace, that was in sync with the black, white and brown voluminous retro clothes, went down well with the audience, till the action on the ramp dragged on a bit too much.

'The fashion week is not just about making and selling clothes, we have to take it to a higher level. We have worked a lot on the look of the sets, the make-up, hair, music and choreography. Our collection is inspired by a book of photographs by Yoshimitsu Naga Saka, featuring some Buddhist monasteries. We tried to recreate that sense of serenity on the ramp,' said Ashish.

Sunil Sethi, buying agent for international brands including Selfridges, felt the 'serene' show was 'a welcome relief from the fast action and riot of colours on the ramp'. 'I just loved Ashish and Smita Soni's show. There was a lot of ambience in it and it was very soothing for the eyes, too,' he said.

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