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Indian designers to woo French elite

Indian fashion designers will soon woo the French elite after two popular retail chains in Paris agreed during a seven-day fashion showcase ending here Thursday here to display their collections.
PTI | By AFP, Mumbai
PUBLISHED ON JUL 25, 2003 01:02 PM IST

Indian fashion designers will soon woo the French elite after two popular retail chains in Paris agreed during a seven-day fashion showcase ending here Thursday here to display their collections, an official said.

L'eclaireur and Maria Luisa, two large French retail outlets, have struck deals with Indian designers Anamika Khanna, Sabyasachi Mukherjee, Manish Arora and Rana Gill to show, distribute and sell their collections to French buyers.

"We have managed to put the Indian flag in France. This is the biggest achievement of the event this year," said Vinod Kaul, executive director of Fashion Design Council of India, the organiser of the fashion extravaganza that was due to wind up here Thursday evening.

The India Fashion Week (IFW) is aimed at providing Indian fashion industry professionals the space to develop business opportunities.

The highlights of the IFW have traditionally been fashion shows by leading Indian designers showcasing their collections -- Pret-a-Porter (ready to wear) and Diffusion (between ready to wear and high-fashion).

"The two French retail chains have agreed to display the collections of these designers along with the likes of John Galioni. It's a significant development as the entire continent opens for us now," Kaul said.

"Indian designs have been displayed and distributed in England and the US already. But France is the big one."

He said business deals for other overseas markets, especially Dubai and Saudi Arabia, were being struck by other designers.

"What we have managed this year is to take the entire fashion industry forward on a strong growth path that will lead to a 25 to 30 percent annual growth (and) a turnover of 10.0 billion rupees (216.6 million dollars) by 2007."

Indian designers who have been displaying their collections for the past seven days described the response from buyers and potential customers this year as "encouraging".

"My entire collection shown Thursday is already sold out to buyers from London, Hong Kong and Dubai," designer Payal Jain said after her show, which was largely targeted at the western and European consumers.

Top Indian models displayed her "Voyage - The Fall Winter Collection" that included crushed velvet jackets with elaborated detailing in rich brocade and gold borders, blends of chikankari and block prints on lycra and embellishments in earthy colours.

"My collection was more of forecasting the trend this year in western and European countries," Jain said.

The week-long event saw good responses to the shows of ace designers such as Tarun Tahiliani, Rohit Bal, J.J. Valya and Sabyasachi Mukherjee.

Tahiliani's show treated the audience to an array of exquisite embroidery, quilting and draping in fabrics with wide and flowing trousers.

While the event was largely dominated by western and European style collections, designer Valaya compensated with his range of traditional Indian garments.

On the racks of his stall at the venue complex is a range of glittering Indian garments and touches of funky denim fabrics.

"The event was largely dominated by western and European collections as the local Indian wear is very much established and perfect with little scope for more innovation," said Kaul.

He said the hot pink colours, striking georgette skirts and denim pants had generated an encouraging response.

"We have a platform. Now what we look for is corporatisation of the industry with fresh corporate investments to take our fashion industry ahead leaping," Kaul added.

The event which began with Bollywood favourite Rock S collections was to end with a display of Goa-based Wendell Rodricks' collection, a blend of ancient Indian geometry with a relaxed Goan attitude.

Fifty-seven designers displayed their works during the extravaganza.

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