Day 1: Gen Next makes a mark

Models display creations by Prashant Chauhan during the Lakme Fashion Week Summer/Resort 2012 in Mumbai on Friday.	— SATEJ SHIND

Models display creations by Prashant Chauhan during the Lakme Fashion Week Summer/Resort 2012 in Mumbai on Friday. — SATEJ SHIND

A popular adage which you might remember from your childhood went, “Well begun is half done”. That indeed seems to be a fitting statement indeed for the 2012 Summer-Resort edition of the Lakme Fashion Week, which began on Friday, in Mumbai. Shrugging off the sluggishness that has typified its two previous editions, Day 1 of this latest instalment proved that if the Wills India Fashion Week held in Delhi manages to showcase the work of the most celebrated designers in the country, the LFW makes up for it in terms of offering fresh new talent.
Day 1 struck all the right notes: A packed house greeted the Gen Next designers for whom this was their debutant LFW showing. Senior designer Aki Narula, who mentored the bunch of seven designers, said that this season was an “emotional one”, and that the process had been rather like “delivering seven children simultaneously, immense labour”. The labour seemed to have paid off as designs with some solid thought, concepts and structuring made their way down the runway, rather than the somewhat gimmicky creations that have marked previous Gen Next work.
Fluid black fabric was worked with digital prints in shades of purple and green by Meghna Garg. “I wanted to represent the auras around people through my collection,” she said at a post-show conference, and indeed, that was the effect suggested by the soft, fluttering fabric. Tibet was where Prashant Chauhan drew his inspiration from, and a showstopper outfit worn by model Alecia Raut had a subtle statement to make: The detailed, pleated yellow and blue dress worked with gold bauble belts was topped off with a jester’s hat. Another designer who certainly made the crowd sit up and take notice was Yogesh Chaudhary.
Calling his work “a tribute to stripes and box pleats” Yogesh worked shades of primarily black and white in his creations. Archana Rao seems to be another promising prêt talent, her collection titled Frou Frou featured highly wearable clothes, which married Indian elements like ikkat patterns with decidedly European silhouettes. Archana said her inspirations were “classic menswear designs”, but the accessories she showcased with her collection — purses in wood, ikkat etc. — were decidedly feminine.
The Gen Next act was followed by RAjat K. Tangri and Sailex. While both these designers showcased some striking pieces, they seemed to lose the thread towards the end. Rajat especially had some rhinestone studded dresses that didn’t seem fresh.
Post-lunch, the energy was back, with a joint showing by crowd favourites Masaba Gupta and Shivan and Naresh. While the designers did stick to their staple look, (Masaba with her ethnically influenced line of jackets, saris and Shivan and Naresh with their relaxed European geometrically patterned resortwear), there was no sense of déjà vu, as each managed to bring out something new as well. Masaba’s use of golden taar embroidery was striking, as was the use of a vintage camera motif across outfits. “Fluid, relaxed, fierce” was how Masaba chose to describe her pieces, while Shivan and Naresh generated considerable excitement with their announcement of the first “couture swimwear line” in India.

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