Three days into Wills Lifestyle Fashion Week and buyers knew just how much business sense the Fashion Week made for them.
Top international buyers like Sharona Hadar were revealingly noncommittal. Hadar represents H Lorenzo, a premium boutique at Sunset Strip in Hollywood that stocks labels like D-Squared and Ann Demeulemeester and has a high profile Hollywood clientele. According to her, “The clothes are designed for the Indian market. We can possibly look at few designers and take a toned-down range. We loved Rajesh Pratap’s collection. We’ve been buying his men’s line but we’d go for womenswear too, now.”
Sharon also had a query about Manish Arora’s dramatic show. “Do Indians wear his designs?” Kimaya, one of the big buyers in India is upbeat about the collections shown here. Pradeep Hirani of Kimaya said, “My merchandisers are happy and since we are opening many stores, we are buying a lot.” Pradeep was particularly impressed by the collections of Rohit Bal and Tarun Tahiliani. He had a suggestion though, “our designers are talented but they should try and create something new every season and not fall for the ‘signature style’ and look repetitive.”
Chantal Rousseau from Bloomingdale’s, the upscale American chain owned by Macy’s, was highly appreciative of some designers’ works but equally critical of the collections she found uninspiring. Very reluctant to commit to which designers Bloomingdale’s would buy, Chantal at least shared the works she liked.
These included collections by Namrata Joshipura, Nitin Bal Chauhan and Rahul Reddy. But then there’s a huge difference between liking and buying. There are however serious buyers at WIFW who mean business and these include Alan Bilzerian from Boston, Le Claurier from Paris and Biffi from Milan.
Tomoko, the merchandiser for the Japanese store, Beams, Tokyo, seems to be besotted by Manish Arora’s work. She’s only worn his creations on all three days. Not very fluent in English and without any interpreter, it was difficult to communicate with the merchandiser. When asked what she liked, she had two words to say: “Manish Aurora”. From an international sense what seems to work best for WIFW is the presence of small but prestigious buyers such as Alan Bilzerian, H Lorenzo rather than say, a chain of department stores.
And while the Indians are loading up, they too are seeking a constant evolution in design.