Fashion focus

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By TT Bureau
  • Published 4.03.06
(From top): Ritu Beri and Akshay Kumar at the release of Firefly a Fairytale; David Abraham and Rakesh Thakore at the launch of their new store in Lodhi Colony; Manish Malhotra and Rani Mukherjee at the launch of the former’s new line at Ensemble; Rohit Bal; Arjun Khanna; Feroze Gujral and Rohit Gandhi (left to right) at the model auditions

This one was the talk of the town. A new book was launched but this time it got as high profile as high profile could be. Designer Ritu Beri made her debut as a writer with Firefly a Fairytale, a lavish coffeetable book that will be sold from Beri’s Delhi store as well as the Louis Vuitton flagship store in Paris. Now for the best part: with just 100 copies, the book will be sold and that too at a shocker of a price-tag ? Rs 1 lakh. Beri smiled, “I know that the room has suddenly fallen quiet. I got a similar response from my parents and husband too. But once you take a look inside the book you’ll know why it’s priced so.”

The book took Beri three years to put together and is a documentation of her 15 years in the world of fashion. “I look at life as a fairytale yet my book comprises sections that document what I’ve been through in the past few years,” said Beri who is her own publisher. The book will be reprinted only if the 100 editions are sold out.

The star of the afternoon at Delhi’s Hyatt Regency was actor Akshay Kumar who took time out to launch the book and then disappeared as quickly to be on time for the Filmfare Awards night later that day. “This is the first time I am launching a book, because I’m not a reader at all. But it’s for Ritu who is a very good friend,” he said. The two had met two years ago through a common friend in Mumbai.

Spring in the air

It was flower power all the way at designer duo Ashima and Leena’s fashion show at The Grand in Delhi. “Every year we do a Spring-Summer line preceding the fashion week. This time the inspiration is the romantic, lively and seductive woman who trips though a flowery meadow filled with thousands of colours,” said Leena who had taken the occasion to don a kaftan from this latest line.

Opting out of a regular catwalk, the models whiffed through the crowd of invitees to the sounds of chartbusters of yesteryears including Que Sera Sera and Living Doll. The colours of the moment for the designs are hues of ivory, blue-green and soft beige and plenty of shimmer thrown in for eveningwear. The collection is priced upwards of Rs 7,500.

A new beginning

As Delhi’s designer hub, 1 MG Road came crashing down a few weeks ago in the wake of the ongoing demolition drive, the designer fraternity began to scout for space elsewhere. The centrally located, serene environs of Lodhi Colony’s market appears to have what it takes. Manish Arora already has his store here and last week other designers took a leaf out of his book. David Abraham, Rakesh Thakore and Kevin Nigli of A&T and the media-shy Rajesh Pratap Singh unveiled their spanking new signature stores in this sleepy market.

What’s so different about the stores this time round? Rajesh Pratap has opted for an offbeat, infirmary-like setting. Painted in white, the store has an operation table occupying centre-place. Operation theatre lights fitted above the table complete the look. “The store’s theme is inspired by World War II infirmaries while the collection is in cool summer shades,” smiled Rajesh. While Rajesh remained tight-lipped (as he usually is), most of the talking was done by his wife and business partner, Payal Singh.

Pratap brings his Spring-Summer 2006 collection to the table with plenty for both men and women to celebrate summer in. They can take their pick of shirts, T-shirts, while women have the extra option of kurtas, summery tops and footwear. A&T too has unleashed its summer line for women and a stylish line for men. Thakore explained, “This season we have been partial to shirts and kurtas in ivory, orange and pumpkin shades with calligraphy prints, kalamkari work and block printing.” There’s more: the store also offers an edited selection of the season from A&T’s international homeware collection.

Model hunt

It was also time to decide on the models who will strut their stuff for the designers at this year’s Wills Lifestyle India Fashion Week. More than 200 aspirants showed up for the auditions to shortlist models. The panel of judges included designers Rohit Bal, Arjun Khanna, Malini Ramani and Rohit Gandhi, along with choreographer Asha Kochhar, model co-ordinator Alison Kanunga, and style icon Feroze Gujral. They selected the girls based on body language, the overriding oomph factor, glowing complexions and a minimum height of 5’7”. For the men, the requirements were just as rigid. Explained Khanna, “To showcase our menswear lines, the male models must look cool on the ramp, besides being well-groomed.”

The ramp saw a few familiar faces associated with Elite Modelling Agency, while foreign models also turned up in considerable numbers. There was 26-year-old Jana Fifkova from the Czech Republic who was flown down by Kava, a modeling agency from Mumbai. “I have 10 years of modelling behind me and have walked the catwalks in Milan and Paris,” she said.

Of the 59 models to walk the ramp this year, 26 will be new faces selected at this audition. Newcomers to the fashion week include Sahil Arya, Adam Bedi (actor Kabir Bedi’s son), Navneet Sharma, Nikita Anand, Sanjukta Das, Sucheta, Manasvi Mamgai, Sindhura Gadde and Shruti Aggrawal. Claudia Horn from Brazil and two Serbian models are also part of the line-up.

Seasonal style

Designer Tarun Tahiliani’s fashion store Ensemble kicked off the spring season with the launch of Manish Malhotra’s Spring-Summer 2006 Diffusion line in Mumbai. And when Bollywood’s most popular designer unveils a collection you can expect plenty of glitter and glamour. Malhotra didn’t disappoint this time around either. Besides his Diffusion line, Malhotra also showcased his resortwear collection that was all about kaftans, dresses and sarongs. His colour palette for the season is a mix of fuchsia, green and peach.

With its accent on feminine sensuality, the line has power suits, tops, skirts, T-shirts, saris and stylish sportswear. Malhotra has made liberal use of denims, nets, linens and lace while prints and hand-painting are his mantra this summer. For men, the accent is on white and ivory with a line that’s all about shirts, T-shirts and drawstring pants.

Ensemble’s executive director Tina Tahiliani Parikh played host to socialites and filmstars at the do. Bollywood was represented by Rani Mukherjee, Karan Johar, Urmila Mataondkar, Kirron Kher and star astrologer Sunita Menon. Among the jetsetters were Queenie Dhody, Haseena Jethmalani and Natasha Nanda.