Gautaman Bhaskaran
an indian journalist
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© Copyright 2004





In Fashion…The gala in Delhi

It is spring, the season of colours that emerge out of snowy white wilderness, spiriting away gloomy chill and dark grey skies. The dull, listless landscape blooms into sunny marigolds and bright green leaves. There is mirth and melody, and smiles return, yielding to vibrant attire and attitude.

What could be a better time than this to set the ramp on raging passion? The Wills Lifestyle India Fashion Week is now on in New Delhi, and most of India’s designers are lined up to show off their creations. As the prettiest of models sashay on the catwalk, the clothes seem to fly around in sheer ecstasy.

Here are some of the stylists marking time in New Delhi. I have known Chennai’s Rehane for years, even before she had a label to talk about. Still working out of the city where she finds lack of competition a positive hurdle, Rehane is all flush and frill when I meet her just before she flew to the capital.

She has broken away from her signature hues for the Delhi Week, meant to showcase Autumn-Winter wear. She is now looking at black, blue and burgundy, miles away from her pretty pinks and flashy reds that she once loved (and lost). Beauty does not attract her any more. What does is the sharp witted, soul spirited woman, who dares to defy order and tradition. In satin, brocade, net, georgette and lame, Rehane has stitched up a fascinating collection of skirts, kurtas and trousers that reflect the Gothic, with a dash of the Middle-eastern beat.

Malini Ramani, who gave a sneak peek at what was in store for the Delhi Week, appears to have sobered down. No longer funky or seriously sexy, Malini’s wardrobe is now an epitome of elegance. The flash is gone. Titled “Indiva – In Transit”, her designs have sobered down. “I wanted to try something different for this season. Besides, you grow, you mature as days roll by”, Malini says.

Malini takes us back to the 1960s silhouettes with mint green, winter whites, caramel and chocolate colours dominating them. Silk, velvet, twill, corduroy and cashmere are the fabrics of choice for her jackets, tunics, knee-length dresses and tights.

Namrata Joshipura still surprises me. For this round at Delhi, she draws her inspiration from history, from architecture, injecting life into cloth, till it begins to form shapes, nay dreams. Namrata’s label, “The Dark Hour”, mixes dramatic virility with modern decadence. The look, as I saw it, was smart, clean cut and no-nonsense. Her motifs are geometric and organic, not floral, and her colours are dark burgundy, black, blue, green and purple. With these, Namrata has styled shirts, jackets, skirts, tunics – all in wool, heavy tweed and silk.

Krishna Mehta’s “Meghraga” has a simple philosophy: understated sophistication, sensuousness and pure innovation. Her alluring ensembles are romantically synchronised with harmony of lines and controlled spaces, truly luxurious and modern, with invisible, simple grace uniting strangeness of the past, with the brightness of the future.Her strength has been in minimalism; of line and symmetry, be it with the beautiful prints, the distinct textures, the charmingly characteristic fabrics or the unusual embroidery.

Rajesh Pratap Singh will display dreams at the finale of the Fashion Week. He calls his collection “Deeper Love”. With dark tones and an emphasis on shoulders, Rajesh will reveal the intense, mature side of love. Not puppy stuff.
“This love is deep and this feeling has been reflected in my clothes,” says the Rajasthan-born, for whom the influence of the State is apparent in his creations. “With straight silhouettes, faultlessly clean lines and careful attention to every detail, my clothes are for the modern woman, a woman who is comfortable with her self and her sense of style”, he quips.

Rajesh’s clothes cannot be slotted into any category: East or West. They can be worn from Kolkata to New York.

The Wills Lifestyle India fashion Week in New Delhi will see a record 87 stylists showcasing their autumn-winter prêt and diffusion lines.

(Webposted March 20 2007)