of style guru Rajesh Pratap. Payal’s debut at the WIFW 2012 paid homage to her love for everything bohemian, celebrating gypsies everywhere. Easy, comfortable, yet Indian (intricate mirror work has been the focal point), her ensembles are ideal for women who want a piece of India, but with a Western twist.
Actress Neena Gupta’s daughter may have started young, but she was one of the first designers to put her energies behind the sari, a garment that was fast disappearing from the catwalk. Her bindu motifs, religious imagery, unconventional prints, and quirky colour combinations quickly won her fans among fashionistas like Sonam Kapoor and Kareena Kapoor.
In the process, the six-yard turned trendy, funky and suddenly very, very desirable, even on the red carpet. Like Neena, Masaba loves weaves, but adds her eclectic touch to everything from patchwork to vibrant hues in line, never once losing the garment’s Indian soul. She was also the first among her peers to add pockets to a sari. And now, we are waiting for Masaba to bring in a fresh energy in her new role as fashion director to Satya Paul.
Gowns--Gauri & Nainika
Sexy and in step with the times, the sisters certainly know how to coax the best shape from a piece of fabric. If it is a Gauri & Nainika gown, you know it will be tailored so cleverly as to slither perfectly on a lean body. Plunging necklines or rising hemlines, the girls have perfected the art of making every woman look fabulous in taffeta, organza, old-Hollywood ruffles, nipped-in waists and achingly pretty silhouettes from a time when va va voom was the way to go.
Designed by Masaba
His recent foray into couture hasn’t gone unnoticed. Vineet Bahl’s energetic reinterpretation of the vintage lace churidaar (sportingly teamed up with pouf skirts) won him much applause at the WIFW 2012. Interestingly, what makes Vineet stylistically superior to his peers is his love for tone-on-tone embroidery that adds splendour to his easy-chic ensembles. His language for couture is uncomplicated as he draws on ancient crafts and cultures to portray his love for everything luxe.
T-shirts --Nitin Bal Chauhan
One man has been showing us that evening gowns, natty dresses and a shower of sequins aren’t all there is to great fashion. Nitin has chosen the humblest and probably the most modest garment in anyone’s wardrobe, the T-shirt and turned it into an invaluable component of a good wardrobe, something you just can’t do without. Bhoot Savar, his offbeat line, has won him young fans who’ve been lapping up his prints and graphics and having a little bit of fun in the form of stripes. Horizontal or vertical? Take your pick!
Organic & Green--Samant Chauhan
The boy from Bihar goes back to his roots with a line that uses non-violent silk, a method of making yarn without killing the worm. Chauhan has also been an advocate of not using dyes. At the forefront of India’s ethical fashion movement, he’s had his hands full promoting Ahimsa silk, proving to the world that fashion does have a heart.
One of the first to introduce the tuxedo in India (specially the shawl-collared ones), his is a brave move in a market seemingly obsessed with little black dresses. With a sharp focus on cleaner lines (and the hope that the corporate climber will also be open to experimentation), Troy’s innovative dyeing and printing techniques are easy to try. Powerful men like Bollywood dreamboat Hrithik Roshan have been loving his tuxedo, a coup, certainly for young Troy.
Designed by Troy Costa
There’s a reason so many designers shy away from traditional Indian crafts – they are notoriously hard to work with. But Aneeth has been ingeniously working to revive forgotten textiles, be it ikat, muslin, jamdani, chikankari, Madras checks or block prints. Aneeth’s genius lies in her untiring need to give each textile a new and distinct personality and bring it into the mainstream. Her ensembles have found a strong, individualistic voice, and have won strong individualistic fans as well.
Sunil Sethi: The president of the Fashion Design Council of India (FDCI) has seen trends come and go and designers shoot to fame or fizzle out after a few seasons. He knows a classic when he sees one.
From HT Brunch, December 30
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