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AIFW makes traditional Indian ensembles look cool (Review)



By Natalia Ningthoujam 
New Delhi, Oct 12: Be it with denims or blouses with bold cut-outs, the sari was given a twist in a contemporary way by the country’s leading designers at the Amazon India Fashion Week (AIFW) Spring-Summer 2016. Not just the traditional wear, the designers even promoted Indian textiles, weaves, crafts and embroidery at the premier fashion gala.

The fashionistas of the capital and buyers across the globe saw over 100 designers showcasing their best at the fashion event, which concluded late on Sunday.

While breezy garments – western, Indian or fusion – dominated most of the collections, from Day One of the five-day fashion event, one could see various interpretations of the traditional six-yard wonder.

If Anavila presented her subdued saris, mostly threaded with gold and silver, designer duo Shivan Bhatiya and Narresh Kukreja, who have been creating bold and sophisticated swimwear for long, impressed fashionistas with their jewelled garments and embellished saris teamed with bold cut-out blouse.

Shalini James, who made her AIFW debut this year, showcased a collage of textiles from across the country. "The block prints were from south and north India," she said about her "busy collection" that had a lot of detailing.

The designer made cotton look cool and formal. But what caught the attention of many were the saris wrapped over skirts.

"Yes, I had created a lot of sari-skirt combinations. I promote Indian textile as it’s my choice. It’s my design philosophy and I have received great response from people in Chennai, Mumbai, Delhi and UAE," Shalini told Bollywood Country. 

Nida Mahmood’s new collection celebrated Bombay (now Mumbai) in the 1960s and the city’s free-spirited damsels. The collection, also a dedication to her cat Mr Toffee Tinkerbell, had sporty and easy pieces including sari-on-denim draping.

Malini Ramani’s tie and dye saris were also talked about at the gala.

"I always design what I want to wear. There were saris then track pants as I do yoga and swimsuit… all that I have in my wardrobe," she said.

Ace designer Anamika Khanna, who wants to bring Indian ensembles out of the ‘occasion’ wear closet, showcased her spring-summer collection that had Indian wear with strong sporty elements. With minimal embellishment, it progressed from black and white to prints to indigo dyeing process and concluded with a burst of colour and patchwork. There were elements of chikankari and also metallic details.

"We often think that Indian wear is not cool anymore. I have used a lot of cotton and khadi," she said about her collection that consisted of saris too.

What style can women pick from it? Experiment with the sari’s pallu! Wear it around the neck like a scarf with sneakers.

The love for Indian fashion didn’t end with saris.


The grand finale of the Spring-Summer edition of AIFW was an ode to popular indigenous Benarasi weaves through contemporary fashion, presented by the designers like Rohit Gandhi and Rahul Khanna, Namrata Joshipura, Ashish N Soni, Rajesh Pratap Singh, Abraham and Thakore, Anupama Dayal, Manish Arora, Sabyasachi Mukherjee and Tarun Tahiliani.

The show was curated on the theme of ‘Born in Benaras’, hence the designers presented designs using Benarasi weaves.

Apart from strong Indian fashion elements, there was also abundant use of white in the designers’ collections. So is it going to be a hot favourite of fashionistas in spring-summer?

"White is pure and evergreen. You can’t get bored of black and white irrespective of how many white and black you have in your wardrobe," Rahul Khanna told Bollywood Country. 

Designer Nikhita also agrees with him.

"White will be in trend. It is summer after all," she said.

Trends apart, the fashion gala also served as a platform to many new faces. Be it their first time as a showstopper ala make-up expert Ambika Pillai or runway debut at the fashion week.

The edition also saw designers like Payal Jain and Prashant Verma making a comeback to the fashion week after a long break.

(Natalia Ningthoujam can be contacted at [email protected])



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