Okay, let's get into it? Shall we? Writing about LFW is often the biggest writing assignment on this blog, annually, and often the longest post I will write in months. Depending on the state of my writer's block, my mood and the actual quality of design at the actual show, my enjoyment of the process is of varying degrees.
I was definitely looking forward to this year's show, since I've been a very truant blogger of late, and this even would give me an excuse to dive right back into what I love best about blogging desi weddings, the fashion.
Day 1 picked up for me with the introduction of Payal Singhal's collection. Ms. Singhal showed a series of color-blocked outfits with heavy emphasis on mirror work and silver resham embroidery. As a commercially successful designer with a very good reputation, it is easy for Ms. Singhal to stick to what she knows, and reap in the inevitable accolades while staying on the safe side in terms of assuring sales at her retail locations internationally. I appreciate that she took a chance, tried something new, and still created something that is viable for retail sales.
Designer Nandita Thirani showed a nuanced collection of neutruals in luxurious fabrics such as tulle, velvet, organza and silk, mixed and layered to effect. A few pieces, such as a very short kurta over red patiala shalwar failed for me on execution, but overall, a pleasing collection.
Day 2, was relatively dry for me, with only two collections I decided to feature, those of Nikhil Thampi and Komal Sood. Sood's collection of vibrant royal purple, black and red stood out for me simply because the colours were so memorable, but also, there were some great cuts there, and some interesting juxtapositions of pieces, such as a twist bikini top with a purple sari and black sequined cigarette pants, which worked better than it sounds.
Day 3, textiles day, was definitely a good day for me, since I am a big textiles person. I like the patterns and textures and the graphic prints are very instructive for a visual personal like me. Favourites from the day include Gaurang, whose beautiful collection of kanjeevaram sarees and raw silk lenghas were beautifully set off in a palette of orange, copper, coral, pink and deep brown. Designer Debarun Mukherjee has become entrenched as a perennial favourite for me. This is someone who continues to successfully innovate, showing new silhouettes and experimenting in cut and colour while remaining, in my view, commercially viable. A lot of young designers make the mistake of taking experimentation too far, to the point of unmarketability, and tend to flame out faster, because eventually, they can't afford to run a business anymore. I suspect this will not be the case with Debarun.
Anita Dongre showed a collection of casual to party wear suits, choosing to leave the formal bridal wear pieces for Delhi Couture week. The pieces included several maxi dresses in various necklines and loose peasant style blouses in this season's shade of burnt red and dark navy.
Day 3 brought out the big guns in terms of formal wear, with shows from Bhairavi Jaikishan, Neeta Lulla and Shyamal and Bhumika. Bhairavi Jaikishan (is she in anyway related to Pallavi Jaikishan? Their stuff looks similar) Showed some heavy, fully encrusted fishtail lenghas in her typical palette of candy colours, which I'm not overly fond of. She did do a couple of pieces in black and cool white-gold, which were my favourite from the show. Some of the other designers cited inspiration like the mughal empire and Hindu myth, which for the purpose of this review I'm choosing to ignore. It allows me to focus on whether or not I actually like the clothes, rather than the idea behind the clothes, since anyone can be inspired by anything and fail on the execution. I'm gonna be honest and say that a lot of Neeta Lulla's collection fell flat for me. Looking at the ghagras in a lot of the suits, I'm imagining a real person trying to wear one of those on her wedding day, and I can't see them being very flattering. There were a couple of peplum fluted skirts which just looked weird and a fuchsia pleated, side-draped piece that didn't seem like it would work, since it didn't even move very well on the runway. I did like the palette, and I'm a sucker for banarasee silk, so that was great, also the styling of the models is totally worth copying on a real life bride.
After what I believe is a two year hiatus for Shyamal and Bhumika from LFW, they returned with a collection directed firmly at the winter bride, in heavy silk brocades and velvet. I totally loved the richness of this collection, it its deep tones and sculptural zari, zardozi and aari work. There were a few long gowns that I really liked, and I don't think I've seen that silhouette elsewhere on the runway, with its longer sleeves and more tailored fit as compared to the typical maxi dress.