Tuesday, 17 May 2016

Dressing to impress at Lakme Fashion Week 2016

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American actress and model Azura Skye is one kind of the celebs set to shine both on and off the catwalk in the 16th edition of Lakmé Fashion Week.

Lakme Fashion Week 2016

Starting tomorrow in Mumbai, the five-day show - one of the greatest dates around the Indian fashion calendar - is probably best known because of its high celebrity quotient.

But giving the A-listers within the audience a run for his or her money this year are dazzling catwalk shows by no less than 90 designers, ranging from some of the country’s biggest names to new talent that seeks inspiration from the Middle East.

The big guns

Manish Malhotra - well-liked by celebrities including Kylie Minogue, Uma Thurman, Priyanka Chopra, Amitabh Bachchan and Naomi Campbell - takes the lead, opening a few days with his new collection, titled Elements.

Expect richly embellished gowns, lehengas with long trails, and organized tops and blouses in organza, tussar and crepe. Pastel hues will dominate, including baby pink, powder blue and lightweight green.

Malhotra, who showed two collections in the Address Dubai Marina in October, says his latest collection “is inspired naturally and brings out the dichotomy of beauty and power contained in the four elements - earth, water, air and flame - similar to the play of confidence and demureness, tradition and glamour that people see in a contemporary bride".

Other fashion experts presenting their selections include Neeta Lulla, Rohit Bal, Wendell Rodricks, Anand Kabra, Payal Singhal, Nishka Lulla, Nikhil Thampi and Anita Dongre.

Fresh talent

Young gun Aqdus Saleem, who makes her debut included in LFW’s “gen next" runway show, looked towards the Middle East when making her collection The Modest Chapter. The title referrals her background - she develops from a Muslim family and her designs are influenced by Islamic fashion, with touches of Indian ethnic tradition and contemporary trends. Ruling fabrics are cotton linen and organza, with embroidery in shades of white and Sahara beige.

“I took motivation from the Middle East," says Saleem. “My research exposed me to numerous nuances of tradition making me understand them thoroughly. I basically wish to break the stereotype. I needed to make people realize that modest wear does not restrict you to definitely look beautiful. I'm not making abayas, I am just trying to create something that covers your body beautifully."

Other new talent to look for includes Naveem Naaz Shaikh, Agrima Batra, Chirag Nainani and Sohaya Misra. Emerging designers, including promising alumni for example Kanika Goyal, Doodlage and Siddharth Bansal, may also showcase their collections. Younger established designers showing include Quirk Box, Sahil Kochhar, Sneha Arora, Huemn and Archana Rao.

New trends

Lakme Fashion Week 2016 has started to consistently attract a person's eye of international labels, who seem keen to take advantage of the subcontinent’s thriving fashion market.

ElektroCouture - a Berlin label focusing in edgy, bespoke electronic wearable technology - is bringing its creations to India the very first time.

“Now in the 16th year, Lakmé Fashion Week looks outward, outside of India, at what’s happening in global fashion and also at international fashion weeks," says Saket Dhankar, vice president and head of fashion at IMG Reliance, which jointly organises the twice-a-year event together with cosmetics brand Lakmé. “We see two key trends emerging - convergence of favor and technology, and concentrate on sustainable fashion. We're continuously attempting to reinvent ourselves and have made a conscious decision to advertise sustainability in Indian fashion greatly."

Star turns
They are tight-lipped about the celebrities who'll wear their showstoppers around the runway. We predict to see the typical suspects, including Kareena Kapoor Khan who, as Lakmé’s brand ambassador, has closed the big event in recent seasons.

Models poised just to walk the runways were selected from two rounds of auditions in Mumbai and Delhi. International supermodels include Azura Skye and Smita Lasrado.

Last day

New Delhi avant-garde creative Rohit Bal has bagged the prized closing slot and can bring the festivities to a glittering end on Sunday with designs tailored to mirror LFW’s theme: the “illuminate look" of Lakmé’s make-up range, “inspired through the shimmer and sparkle of the precious crystal".

Bal’s elaborate outfits, each boasting an advanced of detail and sophisticated cut, draw a global clientele, including Hollywood star Uma Thurman and supermodel Naomi Campbell.
Nearer to home, Amitabh Bachchan and Priyanka Chopra praise his designs.

“Great to be back again," says Bal, perhaps recalling his last LFW finale in 2012.

“The most breathtaking part about doing Lakmé Fashion Week may be the carte blanche. An entire and uninterrupted creative flow is exactly what Lakmé has given me. That makes doing the finale precious and priceless."

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