Thursday, December 29, 2011

WWD Reports On India's Resort Fashion Week

Designers to watch: Shivan & Narresh

GOA, India
[Edited by BBA; full article at]  Resortwear has become a buzzword in Indian fashion this year. And Indian companies are putting their money where their mouths are, with a new resort fashion week here earlier this month that is giving the category a major push.

Among those showing collections during the week were designers James Ferreira, Narendra Kumar, Manish Malhotra and Shantanu & Nikhil. Kumar observed, “What most Indian women wear in cities is really resortwear — loose and more comfortable styles with breathable fabric — so the fashion week of this theme is really catering to women in our cities. More people are going for resort holidays, and they are looking for stylish options. What better place to showcase them?”

“I came to take a look at what was going on,” said Marwa Zamaray, a European buyer based in the Netherlands who attended the event. “But I changed my mind. I’m looking at it as real business now and am talking to designers to see who can deliver the numbers we need.”

“We have 163 shop-in-shops, and our online store is very big in Europe,” said Zamaray. “For me, the designs here were all about out-of-the box thinking. Europe is very creative, but a lot of the designs look the same. It’s important to step out of our comfort zone, and we’re looking at India for the sheer variety. India is getting much better than China in terms of both style and quality.”

Shivan & Narresh, Delhi-based designers who focus on premium swimwear and whose label is a little more than three years old, were a highlight of the event. As Shivan Bhatiya explained, “We cater to tastes that are specific; for example, the North Indian woman does not like the kind of bikini cuts sold in the West; they like to be more covered. We plan for that. Also, the buyers from Delhi like to show more of their back, while those from Bombay are okay with normal bikinis.”

The last two shows, on a ramp set up at the beach, were Shantanu & Nikhil and Manish Malhotra, who created a sense of grandeur, swirl and movement at the grand finale with sheer long dresses with bikini tops and cropped pants and a variety of unusual cuts for trousers and jackets for men.

Designer Tarun Tahiliani, who did not show at the event, nonetheless expressed the climate for resortwear succinctly. “As Indians, we already have a natural affinity for clothes with color and draping, and these elements naturally lend themselves to what the Western world classifies as ‘resort,’ ” he said. He made the same point as Kumar, which is that the tropical climate in India is such that “people usually stick to resort or summer clothing year-round,” and in both resort areas and major cities.

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