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IFW ends in a burst of watercolour

Designers Wendell Rodricks and Hemant Trevedi showed off their interpretations of Lakme's new range of water-based makeup in a stunning laser dazzled show well past midnight Thursday.

india Updated: Jul 25, 2003 13:02 IST

Beside the monsoon-swollen, growling Arabian Sea, a weeklong fashion fiesta ended in a splash of watercolour.

Designers Wendell Rodricks and Hemant Trevedi showed off their interpretations of cosmetic giant Lakme's new range of water-based makeup in a stunning laser dazzled show at the National Centre for Performing Arts (NCPA) in Mumbai well past midnight Thursday.

The grand finale of the fourth India fashion week drew over 15,000 people, as models strutted, designers decked up and preened before the media and the organisers went almost obtuse and orgiastic trying to, well, organise.

In a sense, the names that Trevedi and Rodricks gave to their finale lines -- Colour Drench and Colour Spray -- were so very apt.

For seven days, the sprawling seaside venue had been drenched in colour, with sprays of every shade on the planet zipping all around.

And in the end, Lakme proved why it has had the opportunity to host every fashion week till now -- simply because every year, unfailingly, it has been able to come up with innovative products that could be interpreted on the ramp.

So if Trevedi showed a palette of rich greens, mauves, gold and earth on his stunning gowns, Rodricks' drapes were all about gentle pastels in lilac, sky, silver and coral.

Bustier matched bustier, skirts skirted around each other and navels glittered on the runway, as the last of the 35 shows got over -- 57 designers had shown off their best.

Actually, the three shows leading to the finale were as different as chalk and cheese.

First there was Indian fashion's phantom man Rajesh Pratap Singh. He who never gives interviews and refuses to be photographed -- even the fashion week guide has a blank space where his mug should have been.

They've always said he was a genius. This year, they are calling him god.

Here is a man who doesn't do anything that anyone else does. He doesn't use bright colours, doesn't use delicate embroidery, doesn't go overbroad with anything.

His style is almost architectural. Singh's clothes don't look crafted or tailored, they just seem as if they've been there forever.

The glory of the collection was in surface texturing. The first sequence of burnt and singed look neutrals, intricately styled, in particular the trousers with a series of small pockets lined down the back were reminiscent of fashion maestro Schiaparelli's drawer suit.

And then the fabulous prints of scissors, keys and coat hangers that seemed to have been achieved with a photographic technique.

Singh was followed by Rina Dhaka, who presented one of most commercially viable collections this season. From a designer whose colour palette is so often vibrant, this year there was much more subdued mood, with colours ranging from white, with flashes of orange, to greys, indigos and blacks.

Dhaka, who looks like a cross between a Slavic tennis star and an Indian princess, showed gold and silver sparkles scattered around, but in general her usual exuberance was toned down.

Her Western silhouettes were created from a variety of modern fabrics, including lycra, for a body hugging line, georgette and velvet.

Then there was Satya Paul with their "magic garment" this year, which uses Swarovski crystal that when ironed-on takes the colour of the garment.

"It looks breathtaking when light falls on it," Satya Paul chief designer Puneet Nanda told IANS before the show.

Bang on target. When light falls on the garment, the tiny crystals ricochet light in all directions giving a shimmering, almost surreal effect.

The finale, of course, was striking all the way. And Lakme head Anil Chopra said the clothes weren't the whole story.

"This makeup will change the industry. We in India have oily skins and too much dust and humidity. These are water-based products, so no clogging of pores, no grime catching.

"Perfect." Just the word of the fashion week.

First Published: Jul 25, 2003 13:02 IST