Guest post: Nayomie Prasad reports on five days of Lakme Fashion Week in Mumbai India

An intro from FFG Editor:

I am so pleased to have one of India’s brightest stars in fashion journalism contributing to the site today. It is often difficult to remember that we do not all live in a bubble.  London, Milan, New York and Paris are not the only fashion weeks in existence. In fact, there are dozens taking place around the world this month and they are all showcasing designs that should be equally respected. Last week London Fashion Week has held here in the great smoke. At the same time there was another LFW taking place on the other side of the globe – Lakme Fashion Week in Mumbai India.  

Journalist Nayomie Prasad approached me last season to talk about the possibility of working together on reporting this alternative LFW.  As far as working together, the only work I have done is posting it here. Nayomie has given me the greatest gift one writer can give to another, the opportunity to share their words! She attended Lakme Fashion Week and took notes on all the different trends seen on the catwalks.  After reading her write up I’m ready to buy my ticket over for the next season! It is amazing how massively we are influenced by Indian trends. If you don’t believe me take a look at the pictures below and compare them to images seen on Western catwalks this season. There are amazing similarities to be found. We may be a world apart geographically speaking but when it comes to fashion we’re all operating from the same page.

Now to properly introduce the great Nayomie Prasad. Where to start? How about with her credentials. I don’t have all day so I’ll just give you the highlight reel. Nayomie currently works as a freelance journalist and fashion consultant in India. She was brought up surrounded by fashion from an early age as both her parents design for well known European Brands. She has a BSc in Textile and Fashion Design Management and a MCOMM in Fashion Communication and Promotion.  I do have to share this one wonderful quote she said when describing herself which I think sums up what an amazingly warm and talented young woman she is:

“I consider myself a fashion enthusiast above all else, I love to dress people – the idea of an individual liking what they see in the mirror makes me smile. I think that fashion is much deeper than people give it credit for; to me it’s science, economics philosophy, art and psychology. I am Anti- Fur and Exotics. Animals are my first true love, the proof is in my five dogs, one of which, ate and destroyed some of my most treasured bags and lives blissfuly- for he knows not what he has done.”


Alright, I’m finished blabbing…I’ll now let Nayomie take it away…

Indian Fashion Weeks are not easy territory to visually traverse and dissect, especially during Fall/ Winter. This year, Lakmé Fashion Week was aptly renamed a ‘Winter Extravaganza’ by co-sponsor, leading Indian cosmetic company Lakmé, and event management giant IMG. Perhaps, no other word, barring ‘Extravaganza’ can begin to encompass all that one sees and experiences throughout this five-day event.

The broad use of color, and embellishments, the enlisting of trends, current, new and irrelevant, the various silhouettes-Indian and International, the styling, although interesting but sometimes confusing, all amounted to being rather mind-boggling. And this is not because Indian Designers suffer from a unique from of Design Schizophrenia, it’s because this, is the need of ‘The Season’.

The last quarter of the calendar year in India, is a time for, endless weddings, festivals, parties, and vacations. Add to that, varied climatic zones and a need to pander, to an increasing amount of international buyers, and you have – what I just described.

Fortunately, this year it appeared that most designers at LFW had a clearer sense of whom they were catering to; consequently, their collections were reasonably focused and thus facilitated trend spotting

The one most apparent trend this Fall/Winter at Mumbai, similar to NYFW S/S 11 was the extensive application of ‘Tie and Dye meets Batik’, weather in the form of easy Resort Dresses by Nachikate Barve and Narendra Kumar or Saris by Sougat Paul, the merged or independent versions of both printing methods was a dominant feature at LFW.

Combat Inspired Tailored Jackets and Coats were also a main stay at LFW this season.

An Indian Staple – ‘The Sari’ appeared to have taken on a new avatar, as a facilely worn ‘Cocktail Sari’. This new incarnation will quite possibly pique the interest of international patrons who have longed to wear it but have refrained from doing so on account of complications.

Scores of wearable drape dresses also graced the runway at LFW.

Drape dresses are somewhat of a lifesaver for many Indian women and their distinctive body types they are also perfect at making an impact at yet another wedding party that requires Western dress.

Nothing says ‘power’ like extended shoulders. Widely seen on in the collections of –Manish Arora, Shrivan & Narresh, and Juilee Bendkhale.

Shoulder Embellishments with metal studs, spikes and sequence were a popular carry over from 2010 and may not transition well into Spring 2011 based on what we’ve seen at New York, London and Milan so far.

The observation of a few one-piece overalls, sometimes structured like in the case of Ruchika Sachdeva and Sailex or easy like in the case of Juilee Bendkhale and VIZYON, were again current and more suitable for an Indian winter as opposed to summer.

The various version of baggy trousers, like the Harem Pant, The Jodhpur, The Hammer Pant, and the Salwar Pant, while a fashion choice elsewhere, are an intrinsic part of Indian garb and although celebrated these last few seasons they will continue to appear on Indian Catwalks for as long as Indian women celebrate their heritage.

‘Statement pieces’ are to costume jewelry what Coco Chanel was to ‘Faux bijoux’, they have made the use of inexpensive materials an acceptable from of adornment. Originally frowned upon as the mark of a disadvantaged woman, statement pieces have gained great recognition as fashionable ornaments to the extent that they now have a designated show at LFW. Though this trend of ‘Statement Pieces’ may wane internationally, it is firmly embedding itself in Indian fashion culture, and is taking on a life of it’s own.

Prevalent Jewelry trends at LFW this season included the liberal use of Metal by Suhani Pittie, Malini Agarwalla, and Vivek Kumar along with just as bold cloth based accessories, by Eina Ahluwalia, Shilpa Chavan and Suhani Pittie.

Color is the most preferred voice of Indian fashion designers asking an Indian designer to hold back on embellishment is ambitious but achievable. Expect him or her to forego the use of a broad spectrum of colors and fabrics, and quash the very source of his or her creativity. Like always Lakmé Fashion Week was witness to a ‘scale of colors’ ranging all the way from a demure Ivory, by VIZYON to the Fluo Pink Sari by Shrivan & Nareresh and the dark black skirt suite and dresses by Jelin George.

1 HONEYSUCKLE

2 REGATTA

3 CORAL ROSE

4 BEESWAX

5 PEAPOD

6 ROSE DUST

7 BLUE CURACAO

8 RUSSET

9 SILVER PEONY

10 LAVENDER

11 SILVER CLOUD

12 PINK FLUO

13 ENDIVE

14 GOLDEN GLOW

15 LIVING CORAL

16 LIPSTICK RED

17 PURPLE ORCHID

18 WHITE

19 CHOCOLATE TRUFFLE

20 LAGOON

21 WOODBINE

22 OYSTER GRAY

23 NAVY

24 BLACK

Indian fashion weeks have a long way to go before being described by terms such as avant-garde and leading edge. Nevertheless, apart from exhibiting all of India’s textile and construction capabilities they are also clearly defining India as a serious shopping destination for prêt à porter.

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