By Meher Castelino
Just when the ennui begins to set in at fashion weeks, and the old geniuses appear a spent force, along comes sunshine with the promise that future is bright. The 25th batch of 5 Gen Next designers presented by INIFD opened Day One at Lakmé Fashion Week Summer/Resort 2018 with collections that were not only creative but also totally diverse in design and construction. The Gen Next shows since 2006 have brought great talent that has made an impact on the Indian fashion scene. Top designers like Rahul Mishra, Nachiket Barve, Masaba Gupta, Ujjawal Dubey, Nida Mahmood, Aneeth Arora, Rimzin Dado to name a few got their big break through the Gen Next shows and have turned into fashion icons.
ANVITA SHARMA & ASIT BARIK – A GENDERLESS FASHION LANGUAGE
When two design graduates come from the prestigious Istituto Marangoni, Paris with experience of working with Rick Owens, the collection has to be eye-catching. The look by Anvita Sharma and Asit Barik was replete with fluid garments that revealed flawless clean lines since the over-sized creations were genderless and ideal for all sizes and shapes, thus offering a liberating fashion feel. For their label ‘TwoPointTwo’ the pair called the collection “Gyne-Andro-Philia” that eliminated the stereotyping in fashion. The motto of the collection was Typically Atypical. Thread work and appliqués pushed the message of Beauty in Imperfection created from fabric waste. Careful detailing worked perfectly for the easy silhouettes that spoke a genderless language and revolved around sustainable fashion. The highlight of the collection was the wide range of fabrics that moved from cotton suiting to silk organza, while the appliqué embroidery with intricate thread handwork was perfect. The colour palette worked around white, grey, black with hints of cameo rose and misty green. Catering to both sexes, the garments could be seamlessly interchanged by men and women without any fashion pointers. Comfy checked pleated skirts, bralets, jumpsuits, sheer covers, striped maxis, shirts with extra-long elongated sleeves, floppy tops and easy garments had a splash of artisanal craft that added to the nearly anti-fashion look.
AYUSHMAN MITRA – BOLD AND INNOVATIVE
As a communications graduate from St. Xavier’s College Ayushman Mitra was in the limelight with his painting exhibitions since 2010. His set designs for the movie NH7, as well as costumes for pop band Ganesh Talkies won him many accolades and as founder and creative director of his label ‘BOBO’ Calcutta, he was known for his innovative thoughts. The collection titled “Excessive Adaptation” brought together fabrics like cotton, muslin, denim and silk. Therefore, it was but natural that his collection for men and women revealed his bold artistic talents. Ayushman added a layer of his artwork and graphic motifs, which he sprinkled with hand embroidered sequins and threads. With clean silhouettes that highlighted the embellishments, the op-art visuals on the maxis dresses, boiler suits, tiered maxis, floppy tops and kaftans had a mix of abstract and wild imagery with vibrant striking facial studies and giant visuals of lips and eyes. The prints developed from graphics and paintings spoke of a unique sexuality of love. Loose silhouettes in white, orange, rust were the perfect canvas for the bold splashes of red, green and black abstract art.
PADMA RAJ KESHRI – WOOLLEN VISIONS
A few seasons ago, “Looms of Ladakh” the collection by Padma Raj Keshri was created as a sportswear line at the Wool Runway for Woolmark India. With a double graduate in fashion from National Institute of Fashion Technology and National Institute of Design, Padma’s Summer/Resort 2018 look was inspired by organic modernity of Ladakh. Using diverse materials like linen, Pashmina and Yak wool from the villages of Leh, the ensembles offered a unique style for the trendsetter. It was a travel worthy collection or the airport look that Padma Raj Keshri presented. Swirling capes, ponchos, pencil skirts, pinafores, midis, panelled dresses; slim trousers were topped with easy blouses as well as stylish capris and midi skirts. The woollen shawls were perfect accessories to highlight the garments. It was an edgy women’s wear line for the jet-setting woman who wants to look great from dawn to dusk.
MOHAMMED MAZHAR – UNIQUE INSPIRATION
It was a mélange of fabrics like cotton, lawn and mulmul that came alive on the ramp from the studio of Mohammed Mazhar. A graduate of INIFD, Mohammed got his further fashion grounding as assistant designer to Priyanka Khosla and Abraham and Thakore. His label under the National Employment Scheme created a stir for him. Inspired by the “Dhobighat”, Mohammed hoped to bring the artisans who contribute to the fashion industry to the forefront. The very innovative line for women brought an interesting fashion dimension to the fabrics. Detailing was extreme with layered kurta, tiered smocks and gathered dresses with lapel jackets were given intense pin tucks. Mohammed’s self-developed ‘Bhalwa’ prints that washer men craft from ‘Marking Nuts’, was feminine yet innovative with a contemporary flair. The swirling, layered, day dresses, sari, kurta tops and skirts were great casual wear for women, while for the stronger sex the designer brought in layered short/long kurtas with Aligarh pyjamas as well as pant pyjamas.
HELENA BAJAJ LARSEN – PARISIAN BUT TRADITIONAL
The Franco-Indian-Norwegian designer Helene Bajaj Larsen showed exclusive one-of-a-kind pieces since the print was manually done. It was a collection that highlighted hand painting with acid and pigment dyes that made an impact on the ramp. Helena Bajaj Larsen, a Parisian with a fashion degree from the Parsons School of Design is a specialist in Textiles and Jewellery. The colour tones ranged from earthy autumn hues to grey for silk, wool and cotton. The clothes had a stylish mix of Indian hues with a Scandinavian silhouettes’ sense and a Parisian touch of fashion. Zeroing in on a variety of Khadi silks that included raw, semi raw, pure, satin and organza – all sourced in India – Helena’s collection created the right result that impressed the audience. Maxis in Khadi, raw silk sheer tops with loose pants, hand painted long coats, unstructured blouses, multi-coloured hand painted cardigans, sari and translucent dresses were utterly feminine in form and shape while pleated skirts swirled down the ramp topped with layered blouses. Sleek dresses with matching knee-length coats were simple but elegant because of the innovative prints. The interesting jewellery designed to match the garments was the perfect accessory.