The Telegraph
Wednesday , September 12 , 2012
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Strike A Pose For Our Fashion Week

Signature Premier Fashion Week Kolkata will kick-start by saluting weavers — the real heroes. Traditional weaves made fashionable lies at the core of Paromita Banerjee’s Story of Weaves. “Why I got on board is because our brand is known for handloom and the way we treat handloom fabrics,” says Paromita. Starting with different kind of drapes, essentially saris from various weavers, Paromita will bring in her handloom-based “constructed pieces” — her “best-selling styles from five-six fashion weeks put together”. The silhouettes will be “simple and effective”. Expect wraps, skirts, bandhgalas, kurtas, dhoti pants, tunics, capes and jackets. Weaves from across India include Tangail, tussore, Dhakai, khadi, jamdani, Chanderi, Pochampally and ikat. The surprise element — Paromita will be fusing two or three different kinds of weaves in one silhouette. Complementing the mood will be the rustic music. “I will most probably put three to four folklores together,” says Paromita.

Satarupa in Monapali. Picture by Rasbehari Das

Monapali will send out a line that celebrates their eclectic fusion line. The design details include their signature use of lace, crochet, appliqué, thread work mixed with bold prints and graphic patterns. The silhouette story is fluid, lots of easy drapes and a dash of handlooms to “add the avant-garde touch to the wearable collection”. Colours are vibrant — plenty of blue, pink, turquoise, blue and brown balanced with beige and black. “The collection is quintessentially Monapali as it plays with an unconventional mix of silhouettes and mediums, be it textures, textiles, prints or embroidery,” say the designer duo.

Dijana in Agnimitra Paul. Picture by Pabitra Das; Hair and make-up: Abhijit Chanda

For her fashion week debut in the city, with Signature Premier Fashion Week Kolkata, Agnimitra Paul has zeroed in on Madhubani art. “This art form of Bihar has primarily remained restricted to wall-hangings. I thought of playing around with it,” says Agnimitra, who in the past has worked with Kalamkari and kantha. She will be putting together a collection of 20 pieces. Besides saris, the range will have long skirts, tunics, gowns, jackets, jumpsuits, cropped tops and different kinds of pants. “This mix and match of western silhouettes and Indian textiles seems very interesting to me. With these silhouettes, I can reach out to the western market too,” she says.

Hand-painted on matka and khadi by a group of women artists from Bihar, she will be also be combining these fabrics with Gadwal, Dhakai, crepes and georgettes. The colourboard will be a combination of the bright and the basic. You will get blacks as well as canary yellows. Folk music from Bihar remixed is what Agnimitra is planning to make the models catwalk to. And helping her out in this department is DJ Akash. As for a showstopper, expect “somebody different”! Her parting words? “This is a cause to support the artisans, especially these women who have to balance hearth and work, an extremely tough thing to do.”

Bibi Russell will be back in Calcutta after three years, a city that the Bangladeshi designer calls home. “I am excited to show here again and I will not disappoint!” she tells t2 over the phone from Bangladesh. This time Bibi, who put the pedestrian gamchha on the global ramp, will present an all-cotton collection. “It is a tribute to the crafts people,” she says. “Simple and affordable” is her mantra. Festive-hued saris, tunics and different kinds of pants in taant and khadi will be put on the ramp. Sandals, bags and bangles fashioned out of recyled matter and “rickshaw art”-inspired pieces are the highlights as is the lilting music of Lalan Fakir and Shah Abdul Karim. Will she give her trademark gamchha a miss this time? “Definitely not!” she says.

Tejas Gandhi says his label, founded 12 years ago, is for the red carpet. “I work with dramatic drapes and exaggerated volumes in fine fabrics,” he says. Dresses and gowns make his range.

Farheen Bushra Rahman had a dream to make it big in fashion. A London College of Fashion product, she launched her label NISA Apparels in the UK, with a store at Kensington retailing dresses, jackets, cocktail dresses and gowns. “British women love Indian embroidery but they don’t get a chance to wear it much!” says Farheen. In 2010, Farheen returned to Calcutta and started Fbr.Inc that will showcase Be Jewelled at FWK.

NIFT graduate Ankit mehta will show Maya. “Maya is me — unknown to everyone. My designs are new to the city. Maya will show people what my creations are all about!” he says. What to expect? Ethnic wear, tunics, jackets and suits in bright colours and interesting cuts.

Swati Agarwal Couture makes its FWK debut with The Ruling Goddess. “This collection is all about luxury and royalty,” says Swati, a School of Fashion Technology graduate who has worked with Tarun Tahiliani. Zardozi, French knots and resham are the highlights. Corsets, draped gowns, maxis, palazzos, lehngas and Anarkalis make the mix.

Bunon, Soumitra Mondal’s summer 2012 collection, has been extended to a winter line for Fashion Week Kolkata. The collection that was unveiled at Lakme Fashion Week in March was received well, both critically and commercially, and is now being tweaked to suit the festive season. The designer who specialises in weaves has spun a style story with jamdani and khadi in golden brown and baby pink. The spotlight will be on the kurta and its variations. French knots will dominate the 35-40 pieces that will take the ramp. “The feel of the collection is very calm and pure. We want to celebrate simplicity,” says Soumitra.


Neyha Banka by Neha Banka has a “surprise” in store for us. “Starting from the name, to the theme, to the inspiration!” Expect dresses, leggings, maxis, jackets and tunics.


Sandeep Mukherjee draws inspiration from khadi — its texture and finish. His dream? Dressing celebrities from Bollywood and Tollywood!


Abhishek Dutta

While location-scouting for his off-site show at the Signature Premier Fashion Week Kolkata, Abhishek Dutta was thinking “hatke”. “I wanted something radically different,” he says. That’s when the idea of turning the Priya cinema hall into a fashion show venue struck him. “This concept hasn’t been done by anyone in India,” he smiles. NVD Solar presents Abhishek Dutta will be the last showing of Day One. And the designer is leaving no stone unturned to finish with a bang.

The ambience will be integral to the collection. “With standalone theatres dying a slow death, Priya almost has a heritage feel and that complements my collection,” says Abhishek. The ramp will get a straight-out-of-the-screen feel with a wooden polish in keeping with the Priya stage; the models will parade through the aisles as well. “The audience will actually feel the garments,” says the designer. You can expect “lots of drama” with Abhishek planning to screen abstract short films for a backdrop. The invites will be designed on the lines of a film ticket and there will be live music by two different sets of musicians.

A western line and a fusion range are what Abhishek will send out. While his latest collection from Lakme Fashion Week will make his western segment, you will get to see a brand-new fusion collection. Expect lehnga dresses and long jackets. The colour palette will be an extension of the western line with midnight blues, purples and black. “Ivory will also come in,” adds Abhishek, who is yet to finalise his showstopper. “Let that be a surprise!” he signs off.


Mumbai-based Dori by Pallavii Mahindraa will showcase Renaissance — the revival of art. “We love reinventing old Indian embroideries, weaves and art forms,” she says. Renaissance is inspired by the Ilkal weave from the Bungalkot district of Karnataka.

With a diploma in fashion designing from NIFD, Abhishek Surana’s inspiration is Raghavendra Rathore. And he launches both his men’s wear and women’s wear at FWK.

Motifs like birds and flowers have served as Mansha Modi’s design inspirations. This time at FWK, she is going all traditional. Look out for a lot of stripes and vibrant colours. “My dream is to dress up Shobhaa De and I look up to Anamika Khanna,” she says.

Surbhi Pansari

With “a tribute to the past” as her theme, she will showcase menswear in shades of grey (not fifty we assure you!), royal purple and scarlet red with a hint of beige. Linen, silk and a lot of jacquard accessorised by emerald neckpieces and brooches are what Surbhi has conceptualised.

Fashion store Sasya will have 20 its designers showcasing a collection targeted at the festive and fall season. Hence, vibrant reds, pinks, maroons, greens and blues will do the talking. Black and beige will also be a part.

Riyaz Gangji makes his FWK debut with Truth. “We always come up with designs which get reworked by the families of the bride and groom. Taking in all the criticism and understanding the staple requirements of each family, we have come up with this collection!” says Riyaz.

Vijay Rana will showcase his ethnic range comprising Anarkalis and gowns embellished with gota work. Manish Malhotra is his inspiration and affordability and wearability is his USP.

Susan Mantosh, a lawyer by profession and designer by passion, is all set to showcase her fashion and jewellery line. Taant in various avatars make her range. Her jewellery line called Dew Drop Collection will have freshwater pearls.