MissMalini was behind the scenes through fittings at LFW and we were invited to get an exclusive backstage look at their show rehearsal. Under the watchful eye of stylist and designer Aki Narula, the next batch of Gen Next at Lakmé Fashion Week winter/festive 2012 showed up with a set of new ideas and inspirations. With the show attended by Gen Next designers from previous seasons and fashion’s gatekeepers – Indian and international – the mood in the main show area (MSA) was young and full of curiosity.
Aki Narula has been mentoring the Gen Next lot, whipping them into shape before and through their show. His take on styling and his signature sense of direction in fashion has been known and respected in the Indian film and fashion industry for over a decade. Right from editing each look to bringing attention to details (most buyers and magazine bigwigs scrutinize the little details), Aki makes sure that he doesn’t tamper with the soul of the debutants’ collection but pushes them in a direction based on his expertise and experience in the field.
We were invited by Aki to cover the rehearsal for the show. The mood in the MSA was filled with excitement and a dash of nerves (which is always a good thing). There was a point in the rehearsal where Aki grilled Kabir to emit a sense of power and fierceness. (Though it might sound harsh, it wasn’t and it worked out well in the show). All the models were stoked through the rehearsals and the high energy levels were put to good use. Seasoned model and super-fabulous Binal Trivedi dropped in to say a quick hello!
Being the first show of the week, the MSA was packed with a buzz seen every season, but this season was going to be different. In attendance was Kallol Datta who started as a Gen Next, and designed and worked his way passionately to presenting his collection at the Grand Finale this season. Joining him were a few more familiar Gen Next-ers like Nachiket Barve, Payal Khandwala, Nimish Shah and the shy guy, Sailex. Apart from most fashion magazine editors, writers and stylists, Fern Malis and Narendra Kumar were also present to show their support. And the lights went down and the show began.
After the show, I had a conversation with one of the stylists from a magazine and he dissed a few of the designers. The thing about Gen Next is that they aren’t established in their own right and some of them are still finding their strengths. What we need to remember is that they are technically trained and have a whole new set of tricks to offer. The only way to enjoy a Gen Next show is to keep your eyes and mind open. Sure if you look for mistakes you may find them, but let’s not drag them down before they even start their climb. Sit back and enjoy the show.
Their collection opened the show with a dramatic ruffled bombardment. Their pieces were structures influenced by birds and maybe Pacman to an extent. With acrylic structured shoulders and hem patterns mimicking birds, their yellow and blue garments seemed fun and flamboyant, if I could say so. My favourite was the yellow piped details at the back pockets of a particular pair of trousers and the one exaggerated shoulder in one of the jackets.
Their collection has no connections or hidden innuendo with the name of the label, apart from the fact that it was conceived and produced by 3 designers. The show opened with a quirky-spacey jumpsuit (which I personally would love to own after a few edits). The shoes were definitely a catchy lot with all the feathers. The collection comprised of futuristic pieces that were explained to be the trio’s take on the motion picture, “Avatar”.
Right from his college beginning, Aniket Satam was fashion inclined and his collection summed up his love for fluid and feminine silhouettes. With paint splattered metallic textures and a mix of desi meets drapery, the collection was a little too flirty for my taste. But Aniket seemed pleased with his offering and for a first show that is always a good start.
North-east India is rich in its art and craft; Asa wraps it all while presenting it in his own style. Asa contemporizes shawls with classic Naga prints and weaves and turns them into interesting garments. It was sheer innovative tricks that led him to twist the shawls and weave it all into a unique form. An avant garde stiff silhouette in his final garment got a loud response from the crowd. I really enjoyed his choice of colours and prints (weave patterns), especially in a piece worn LFW debutant model, Parul.
A fun take on floral print and shading techniques, Richa’s collection probably showed her love for colours and separates that could be layered into statement looks. I’m sure that mentor Aki Narula had a blast styling and helping her shape this collection. I absolutely adored Namit’s opening piece, floral for men – tricky, but she managed to pull it through. You cannot miss her not-so cheesy but floral printed platform wedges.
If you’re a geek chic enthusiast, you’d probably enjoy Sneha Arora’s quirky take on garments with masculine silhouettes for women. Her collection came onto the runway well-rounded with colours, prints and a good mix of quirk meets serious state of mind. My pick would be the coloured printed shirt with tailored blazers which were cinched at the back with a belt and pleated skirts. Perfect for work and maybe play too. I hope she does some tees with the print of the portrait graphic as she did at the back of one of her garments.
By the look of her collection, Kavita is girl who loves all things girly and I know a whole lot of you would share her enthusiasm for it. Her collection came equipped with motifs, prints and appliqués with quirky graphic depictions of city life and nature. Apart from that, her collection was well spread out with frills and tassel details on fluffy skirts.
Before the show began I had a little chat with Aki and he couldn’t stop repeating himself about the talent the designers shared and how gutsy they were. After the show, he was heard telling a friend that he felt like “a proud parent” watching his new batch of designers go out into the open. We at MissMalini wish them all the luck and applaud Lakmé Fashion Week and Aki Narula for taking the initiative to pay special attention to a new bunch of designers.