India is set to be the flavour of the season in New York. With the opening of a brand new fashion store, Soho, run by Misha Nicole, Indian designer Babita Malkani prepares to take over the Big Apple.
At the recently held Global Runway Nightout, the venue, Paramount Hotel in Times Square was redecorated to host runway shows by the likes of Padma Lakshmi and Naeem Khan. Malkani, who also participated in the show says that her collection, Boh-Aum, was sold out the next day.
“We had a pop-up exhibition the next day and within five hours, my entire collection was sold out,” reveals the designer, adding, “There was a press and media frenzy there, it was a chaotic experience. I didn’t even get to meet Padma Lakshmi, though we were part of the same show.”
Held in association with the Indo-American Arts Council, the show drew designers of Indian origin from around the world. Malkani was selected when Nicole saw her collection at the Lakme Fashion Week.
“People were excited to see such a contemporary collection that blended traditional Indian and Bhutanese prints and embroidery with modern silhouettes. The shoes, especially, got plenty of attention. Later at the after-party, I saw many people dressed up in the shorts and jumpsuits that I had designed,” says Malkani.
From her experience in the U S, Malkani is certain that the Indian invasion has only just begun. “Last year, people I met would ask me where India was. This time, they were fully aware of our skills and the strength of our economy. In fact, most of the high-end departmental stores there, like Bergdorf Goodman and Saks 5th Avenue, are carrying garments with Indian colours and prints,” she adds.
Bandhini and peheriya prints being most popular, Malkani also reveals that traditional Indian garments like the flowing sharara skirts are still hot. “When I started exporting garments to the US a few years ago, I created a line of layered chiffon skirts that were a huge rage for two years. Though New York was traditionally known to favour dark garments and classic styles, today you can see the bright colours, associated with India, everywhere,” Malkani opines.