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LIFW: Bang or whimper?

PTI | ByShikha Kapoor, New Delhi
May 04, 2004 04:42 AM IST

Foreign buyers, clearly unhappy, left the Lakme India Fashion Week ruing why they had come for the event. "No one in Japan will buy anything from here," said one from Tokyo.

Miki Kanoh of the Tokyo high-street store, La Rue, left the Lakme India Fashion Week (LIFW) ruing why she had come for the event. "No one in Japan will buy anything from here," she said. "The designers use embroideries and sequins for everything."

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As the lights dimmed on the week-long fashion jamboree on Monday night, there were others who shared Kanoh's sentiments.

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Amit Rastogi of RCKC, London, who signed up Kolkata's Anamika Khanna to launch a line targetted at the western market, complained about unrealistically high prices. "The collections of certain designers started at Rs 25,000. How can they expect us to give them shelf space?" he asked.

But there was good news for some designers. Liberty, the shoe brand celebrating its golden jubilee, has announced it'll sponsor Delhi's Rina Dhaka for the Milan Fashion Week, Rajesh Pratap Singh for London, and Kolkata's Sabyasachi Mukherjee for New York.

They were short-listed after a competition where every participating designer had pitched for the prizes. The jury included Michael Fink of Saks Fifth Avenue and Fern Mallis of IMG, the company that owns New York Fashion Week.

Foreign buyers, though, were clearly unhappy. Sarah Baker is going back to Riyadh with the feeling that the designers kept mixing up clothing categories. She suggested that there should've been separate shows for haute couture (bridalwear, for instance) and pret (ready-to-wear, affordable clothes).

Mohammed Jaffer, a buyer and fashion consultant for Doha's Bin Yousef group, wondered why the designers were showing their Fall-Winter 2004 collections, when their peers internationally were already looking at the forecasts for Spring-Summer 2006. "Indian designers are way behind and very confused," he said.

Baker wondered why the designers didn't have catalogues.

The designers, though, were upbeat. Rohit Bal promised to send a note detailing the progress made by his company on the business side. Tarun Tahiliani said he was in talks with international stores. Komal Mirchandani of Sanskrit, Hong Kong, was the only buyer holding a candle for LIFW. "In Mumbai last year, the designers were busy partying. This year, we got more work done," she said. The LIFW organisers will love her for it.

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