Fashion party begins with bold, futuristic designs
India's largest fashion extravaganza, the Lakme India Fashion Week (LIFW), began in New Delhi on Tuesday with glitz and glamour even as the first designer show rocked with a toast of feminity. The lady perfect Rina Dhaka, famous for her bold ensembles, crafted a collection of varying moods for the show.
Dhaka presented a string "Resort Line", futuristic enough to transcend into the next season.
Models presented Dhaka's sassy and feminine silhouettes that discovered the influences and beliefs of a woman in her myrid moods. Having used lilac, calm, pale and serene colours, Dhaka revived the old English pallete that reverberated through the water colour paintings of the British era.
Dhaka said such shows open a window of foreign buyers and clients which help put India on international fashion scene.
"I think it promotes many things for us. One, it helps us with our existing local clients...two, it sets awareness within the country as a trend itself, establishes you with your counterparts as an Indian designer, and fourth, you can, in a common platform, introduce your collection to new buyers. And the Indian market has been growing rapidly," she told reporters after the show.
Dhaka's designs met with great response from her fellow designers and viewers.
Visiting Pakistani designer Faiza Samee was all praise for her. "Well, the people in Pakistan are very conservative, and the society is very different. But, I really feel that with this
show, Rina Dhaka has surpassed herself. I have seen all her previous collections, and this seems to be her best," said Samee.
"It was an absolute bold beginning...A daring, dashing, fabulous start," said socialite Naina Balsaver.
LIFW, which stretches over a week, is expected to generate 25 per cent more business than last year, with over 400 buyers including the who's who of the global fashion industry participating in the event.
Organisers of the show, the Fashion Design Council of India, say that last year's show, held in Bombay, saw a business of around Rs 3.5 million and hope this would increase to Rs 4.5 million in the event. India's nascent fashion industry, estimated at Rs 20 million would get a boost with the fashion week, which would catapult it to the world stage in the coming years.
Over 400 buyers from across the world and 57 designers including seven debutants are participating in the mega event.
Some of the buyers include Michael Fink from Saks Fifth Avenue, New York, Albert Morris from Browns, London and Joyce Boutique Ltd, Hong Kong. Two decades ago, haute couture was a word that barely existed in the Indian vocabulary and fashion stopped at ethnic home-spun cotton outfits made by neighbourhood tailors.
India's high fashion clothing saw a boom in the nineties when designers Ritu Kumar, Rohit Bal, Tarun Tahiliani, Abu Jani and Sandeep Khosla took Indian styles to the international map.
Today the fashion design industry is worth 1.8 billion dollars, which is growing at 20 per cent, in the 35 billion dollars global fashion market. India's fashion industry has only 10,000 people in a nation of over one billion estimated to be in a position to regularly afford the roughly 70,000 rupees to 150,000 rupees that designers ask for regular creations.
There are perhaps 5,000 designers catering to this market with technical institutes across the country churning out about 500 fresh ones annually.