I've been a *little* disappointed at the Indian fashion week of late. While I find Indian fashion highly experimental and full of energy, it lacks evolution. In western fashion we have seasons that make sense for retailers while the fashion fraternity does a good job finding common themes and new trends to push fashion to mass consumers. It's something the Indian fashion industry lacks and it shows. Indian fashion should be evolving into strong fusion pieces for the modern Indian woman - especially the woman who doesn't wear a traditional saree- and instead of looking seamless, the fusion just looks messy. Ofcourse there are standouts which I'll showcase here. Some new designers making waves but veterans like Manish Malhotra aren't really pushing the envelope much. And Manish Arora's decision to showcase older pieces (and being allowed to do that) tells us the industry just isn't ready to be taken seriously on an international level. It would have been better for everyone, except Manish and the media, if he didn't show but clearly the buzz is what the folks behind Delhi Couture Week were after. Anyway, let's get into some of the highlights from both Delhi Couture Week and Lakme Fashion Week.
Red and Black were the stand out shades for Delhi Couture Week but JJ Valaya - the Karl Lagerfeld of India- went for Blue and ohhhh how did he nail that! What a stunning collection! This is the man - and only man other than Sabyasachi - who takes Indian traditional fashion to another level.
Sabayasachi went for geek chic with a Jane-Austen-Goes-To India collection. It's not entirely up my alley but he definitely owns the market for 'heritage' Indian fashion. Sridevi looked spectacular on the runway but I'm tired of seeing stars as showstoppers. I would have preferred his collection to be the talk of town.
Anamika Khanna presented one of this standout collections at Delhi Couture Week. Her collection was whimsical with a soft and dark color palette, and some interesting drapes. I liked how she incorporated the peplum look with Indian fashion.
Switching gears from traditional to modern, my pick for Lakme Fashion Week Winter 2012 is Payal Khandwala. Now, this is a collection that made the hairs on the back of my neck stand up. Clearly inspired by the more spiritual side of India, she took Indian fashion to a new place - a darker side - with her brilliantly crisp designs and color blocking technique. This belongs on the international stage.
Finally, I have to make mention of Surendri by Yogesh Chaudhary for his 'Pac Man' collection. This was definitely an experimental collection and it paid off. It's pop fusion fashion that the Indian market is embracing. Sonam wore the saree well.