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HindustanTimes Sat,29 Nov 2014

Celebrity surprises at Lakme Fashion Week

Rochelle Pinto , Hindustan Times  Mumbai, August 02, 2012
First Published: 15:16 IST(2/8/2012) | Last Updated: 19:00 IST(2/8/2012)

From a New Delhi ‘It’ girl Pernia Qureshi making her debut on the fashion ramp, to stylist to the stars Sapna Bhavnani tying up with PETA for her second collection, this season’s Lakme Fashion Week seems to have a mixed bag of shows. Now, you can shop haute off the fashion runway.

Delhi ‘It’ girl and celebrity
Stylist to stars like Sonam Kapoor, Pernia Qureshi, will make her debut at the upcoming Lakme Fashion Week (LFW). And since there’s no love lost between the Mumbai sartorial spectacle and its Delhi rival, it seems odd that she would choose to travel to the west coast to showcase a collection for the first time. “I didn’t really plan to make my debut at all,” she insists.

“But I met the team at Lakme and they told me that there was an opportunity to show. Also, since it’s the smaller of the two fashion weeks, it makes sense for a newcomer to use this as a platform.”

Pernia, the brain behind the much-celebrated style in the film Aisha (2010), is front row pedigree, having grown up watching shows of her icons like Rohit Bal, Suneet Varma and Meera and Muzzafar Ali. Ask if she’s picked up any tips from them and she responds, “Designers who also have a good sense of styling elevate their collections.

When I watch a Suneet Varma ramp show, and then visit the store, I can tell the difference. This is why I’ve decided to style my own show too.” The debutante has visited Parisian flea markets to pick up vintage shawls and is also creating special jewellery for the show. She admits that she isn’t worried about negative reviews or disinterested buyers, since she already has a worldwide platform on which to retail her designs.

“I am my own buyer,” she says with a grin. “My clothes will be retailed exclusively through my website, perniaspopupshop.com. We’ve introduced a never-done-before concept called ‘Shop off the runway’, whereby customers can literally place orders for the LFW collections, seconds after the show ends. Some of our regulars are enthusiastic buyers, so we thought of this for them.”

Black is the new white  
For all the glitz and glamour of the fashion industry, sometimes there’s a statement that goes beyond the runway. Case in point, celeb
hairstylist Sapna Bhavnani’s SoFake label, started in collaboration with her partner Sukriti Grover.

The brand promotes the use of fake leather, and this time, they’ve partnered with animal rights organisation People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA), to spread awareness about the cause.

“I’ve been working with PETA for a while, and we decided to do a shoot with Mandira Bedi, which turned out so well that they were very excited,” Sapna says. “Since we don’t use leather in our brand anyway, I thought it would make a good fit to collaborate with PETA for our Lakme Fashion Week collection.”

But the Autumn/ Winter collection, called Black Velvet, also marks another protest. “Our country’s obsession with fairness has become ridiculous,” Sapna opines.

“Now we even have underarm and vaginal lightening creams. We may be a small label, but we still have a chance to take a stand with this collection. I just want to say that you don’t have to aspire to be white, it’s beautiful to be black.”

This is SoFake’s second turn on the runway, and Sapna says that the response in the last season was encouraging. Admitting that she hopes to open her own store soon, the hairstylist-turned-designer says, “People were excited about our line because it’s still
difficult to find black and white basics in India. But we consciously chose to make our designs available in very few places, because we don’t really have the facility to keep up with too many consignment orders.”

Sapna says her celebrity friends like John Abraham and Mahendra Singh Dhoni have loved her offerings, but she’s not comfortable asking them to walk the ramp for her. “They did offer, but I’ve got to know them as friends now, so I didn’t want them to,” she says.


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