International models walking the ramp, 10 designers debuting, a new and bigger venue - the Wills Lifestyle India Fashion Week (WIFW) that kicks off Wednesday has many firsts. And why not? It's celebration time as the event turns 10.
"It is the 10th edition and this makes it a very special one," beamed Rathi Vinay Jha, director general of event-organiser Fashion Design Council of India (FDCI), as hectic preparations were underway at the Pragati Maidan exhibition complex to ensure the Sep 5-9 event runs like clockwork.
Seventy-two designers from across the country will participate in the event, with some 30 of them showcasing their collections on the ramp and the remaining in the exhibition area.
Renowned fashionistas and journalists from around the world, including a contingent from Madrid Fashion Week, have confirmed their participation.
The final day of the event has been reserved for buyers.
According to Jha, the new venue "meets with FDCI's objective of accommodating an ever growing event and reinforcing fashion week as promoting the business of fashion in every sense.
"As Wills Lifestyle India Fashion Week is India's premier business-to-business design event, it proves a tremendous launch pad for new talent and also facilitates employment opportunities for budding designers and models," she maintained.
With splashing colours and varied silhouettes, WIFW promises loads of razzmatazz, fun and frolic. However, this edition will witness fewer Bollywood stars dazzling on the ramp - indicative of the event's growth and maturity.
"You will not see any Bollywood star on the ramp during my show, as I don't want the focus to shift from my clothes," said fashion designer Rohit Bal, who will showcase at the grand finale of the event.
Among the designers participating are Abraham & Thakore, Ashima/Leena, Rohit Gandhi & Rahul Khanna, Deepika Govind, Falguni & Shane Peacock and Kavita Bhartia.
This apart, Malini Ramani, Mandira Wirk, Manish Arora, Raghavendra Rathore, Rajesh Pratap Singh, Ranna Gill, Rina Dhaka, Rocky S, Rohit Bal, Satya Paul, Shantanu & Nikhil, Surily Goel, Tarun Tahiliani, Vikram Phadnis and Varun Bahl will also feature at WIFW.
Besides them, 10 upcoming designers will also get an opportunity to debut at WIFW. Five designers were chosen for the April edition of the Week and displayed their creativity at a single show. This time around, there will be five such shows, each featuring two new designers.
Three foreign models, Barbora Brabcova of the Czech Republic, Jacqueline Fernandez of Sri Lanka and Diva Dhawan, a Briton of Indian origin, will also make their debut at WIFW. They are among the 10 aspiring models selected at the New Faces Going Places auditions conducted in July to walk the ramp at the fashion week.
The bi-annual event will also preview some of the best-established and upcoming names among models, choreographers, and hair and make-up teams.
Essenza Di Wills, ITC's brand of personal care and grooming products, is the associate sponsor of the fashion fete.
Chivas and Nokia will continue their association with WIFW as sponsors. Elle will be the magazine sponsor and Le Meridien hotel will be the hospitality sponsor for the event.