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Sabya shining
A glimpse of sabyasachi’s show. Pictures by Pabitra das

Neela Aur Bagardandi emerged the two heroes of Day One of Lakme Fashion Week. Their creator Sabyasachi Mukherjee was a close third. The opening credits of Neela Aur Bagardandi Ki Kahaani introduced the lead roles — four new silhouettes — khadi tee, poshaak gilet, vizer dupatta and chotu sari. The show was more about Sabya the master stylist, than Sabya the master designer.

It all began with Nina Manuel walking down the ramp in a chotu sari, Swiss dotted pallu and long-sleeved blouse. The next 45-odd looks saw the easiest and breeziest separates come alive when played together. Dhoti pants, tube dresses (turned kurtas), gharara pants, asymmetrical skirts, trapeze tops, biker jackets, shrunken salwar pants… All in modest indigo and burgundy bagru prints, a splash of dasktari and kalamkari and some hand-painting.

We loved his little quirky details — gussets, bonnet dupattas and how sportswear lent itself to couture. We saw patchwork, mix-and-match sexy too — bare backs and lingerie-style clothes. Bandhni was replicated on some tops with French knots. There was some beadwork, stained glass detail, mirrors, borders but no bootis! The models wore wine lips, neat plaits, Goth nails and chunky silver jewellery with multiple wooden bangles.

There were two more models in the line-up but they sat in the audience — actresses Sonam Kapoor and Vidya Balan — dressed impeccably by Sabya himself. Sonam was in a black maxi dress with Swiss dotted sleeves and Vidya in a traditional jaamdani ivory sari and his signature brocade blouse. “I don’t believe in making actresses walk the runway. Everyone should do their job. Models are meant to walk and actresses are meant to make the front row look pretty!” said Sabya.

Earlier in the evening, Manish Malhotra presented a show sponsored by Skoda Superb. Unlike other sponsor shows that compel designers to compromise on their mood board, Manish showed his signature best to a full house made glam by Deepika Padukone, Asin, Sridevi, Anushka Sharma, Tabu and Nagarjuna. He showed saris (brights, champagnes and nudes, brights again) worn with skimpy crystal strap blouses, each sexier than the previous. He also showed some nice menswear, structured kurtas in jacquard, brocade and paisley, teamed with relaxed salwars. The next sequence showed a series of women’s kurtas. Sheers, ombres, panelled, asymmetric, teamed with lamé bustiers and leggings, these had a resort feel going. Manish then showed more menswear amidst a lehnga line. Some were cotton lehngas and others were full on bling bazaars. Tusshar Kapoor and Genelia D’Souza closed the show for him.

Earlier in the day, Sabyasachi met Dolce & Gabbana at Asmita Marwah’s show. The Hyderabad-based designer proved once more that she suffers from Sabya Syndrome! Not only was she too inspired by his Snail silhouettes (pinafores, smocks, tunics, trapeze, khadi saris…) she also picked the identical black and gold brocade he uses! Plaid — Dolce & Gabbana’s last season trump card was also seen through the show. Blouses, pants, churidars, headgear and skirts, the red checks appeared in every garment. We like her Telugu inscriptions on some clothes and the rosettes too that were thankfully more smart than pretty.

Abdul Halder who shared the show with her seemed to have stumbled upon LFW en route to Bridal Asia! It was really a nightmare from Bollywood circa 1960. Sonu Sood and a chirpy showstopper who no one seemed to recognise were the highlights of his line.

The day began on a pretty pink note as Barbie brought her birthday party down from New York’s Mercedes Benz Fashion Week to Mumbai’s Lakme Fashion Week. Titled All Doll’d Up, the first show of LFW saw designers including Neeta Lulla, Vikram Phadnis and Wendell Rodricks dressing up Barbie-styled models. Katrina Kaif came as Barbie sporting a Niksha Lulla creation that won a contest open to Indian designers. (Calcutta-based Arjun Agarwal and Vivek Kumar were also part of the line-up). The designers used everything from tulle, lamé, satin, brocade to fashion their creations. From creamy white to chocolatey brown, emerald green to signature fuchsia, Barbie had a wide colour palette to choose from but we’re not so sure whether she’d choose an outfit at all!


The world descended on the Mumbai stage for day two of LFW

Naomi Campbell. These two words describe Day Two of Lakme Fashion Week best. The international supermodel known far and wide for her temper and tantrums was very well-behaved in Mumbai. Not only did she not lose her cool, she also won everyone’s hearts. She wore saris, said sweet things and above everything used her charity Fashion for Relief to raise money for 26/11 victims.

It was a goose-flesh moment when Naomi kick-started the star-studded Mai Mumbai Fashion For Relief show. Dressed in a red Vikram Phadnis creation, she opened the 45 minutes of fabulous fashion. International biggies like Dolce & Gabbana, Givenchy, Donna Karan, Roberto Cavalli, Versace, Yves Saint Laurent, Matthew Williamson and Louis Vuitton got together with national names like Anamika Khanna, Rajesh Pratap Singh, Rohit Bal, Wendell Rodricks, Ritu Kumar, Raghavendra Rathore and Sabyasachi Mukherjee to showcase a garment each that would then go on auction on eBay to raise money for Citizens for Justice And Peace that would in turn help the victims of 26/11. All of Mumbai seemed to have descended on the show, either to watch or walk the ramp. The front row was dominated by Preity Zinta who giggled and cheered through it all.

After Naomi, it was Vikram Chatwal’s turn on the ramp (whose hotel company presented the show and who, by the way, has put on oodles of weight since Honeymoon Travels Pvt Ltd!). The star shower had begun. Arjun Rampal walked with wife Meher and Gregory David Roberts (author of Shantaram) came in with his wife. Some of the hottest men in the country — Farhan Akhtar (in Raghavendra Rathore), Kunal Kapoor (also in Raghavendra Rathore), Rahul Bose (in Nari) and Milind Soman (in Madhu Jain) — strutted their stuff too. Current and past supermodels Ujjwala Raut (in YSL) and Madhu Sapre (in Donna Karan) and socialites Feroz Gujral (Emanuel Ungaro) and Queenie Dhody (Zac Posen) were also seen. Deepika Padukone (in Carolina Herrera) made a perfect picture.

Naomi appeared twice more — first in a black Sabya sari and lastly with the final line-up when everyone came in Mai Mumbai T-shirts.

PS: What seemed like a fun show on the surface actually came with its share of BP-raising moments. Show director Anu Ahuja was overheard telling friends: “It was madness. She couldn’t decide what she wanted to wear till last minute!” It’s only when she appeared on the ramp could they tell who she wore so they could flash the name of the designer on the screen.

PPS: Naomi appeared for a post-show press conference in a dazzling red sari also from Sabya’s bridal collection. Mai Calcutta anyone?

After Mai Mumbai it was finally Narendra Kumar’s turn to showcase his menswear line after more than a one-hour delay. His show began dramatically with Kangana Ranaut in a velvet blazer, white satin bow shirt and pinstriped wide-legged trousers and ended with her in a black and white cocktail gown. Between her two appearances there were lots of slick and sleek silhouettes for men, peppered quite generously with some evening wear for women. The colour palette was restricted the good ol’ classics black and white but that was the only restriction. From the geek chic look to the sexy and suave, Nari’s men looked h--t.

Jackets (cabin jackets, bandhgala or tux inspired, shawl collars…) worn with skinny pants was the order of his line-up. Nari’s use of heavy and light wool knits indicated that LFW has finally woken up to the fall-winter season! It is to be noted that it took the last show of the second day for any warm clothes to appear! There was the occasional denim and velvet and also the one-off waistcoat and trenchcoat. We love the cute bow ties, studded belts and studious black glasses. The detailing was graphic. The pants had satin finishes. Cutaways, emblem appliqué, pintucks and pleating were the design detail mainstays.

Nari’s front row was as energetic as his catwalk. Farhan Akhtar and Kunal Kapoor couldn’t stop grooving to the live music that accompanied the fashion. Others on the row included Malaika and husband Arbaaz and Rahul Khanna and Rahul Bose.

The rest of Day Two was thanda thanda because all the red-hot action was reserved for the night. Krishna Mehta’s menswear collection saw Cyrus Broacha, Boman Irani and Kunal Khemu appear together on the ramp.

Shradha Agarwal
Pictures by Pabitra Das

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