The last day of Wills India Fashion Week was all about the finale show. Ashish Soni took to the ramp, and there is no question that he has the respect and admiration of the industry. The first Indian designer to show at New York Fashion Week, he is known for fine tailoring and a sense of refinement. The most awaited shows of the week, here are Ashish’s hits and misses.
This was pure retro chic, from the smoking and dinner jackets for men to his use of peplums and volume for women. It was all about elegance, and his monochrome colour palette reinforced a sense of complete chic. Ashish celebrated all things classic, from cocktail dresses to the double-breasted jacket. In a time when most designers are busy trying to be “edgy”, this was a breath of fresh air and reminded you that there is nothing wrong with keeping things elegant.
The men were very dressed up with tuxedo pants, bow ties and cummerbunds – these were clothes for a gentleman. He used lace, velvet and silks indulging his men in luxe lushness, since sometimes men need reminding that being well dressed is an art form.
Not that Ashish ignored women; he went from feminine finesse to graceful androgyny with ease. Full-skirted midi length dresses and beaded gowns sat next to tuxedos with oversized bows. This collection reminded you that Ashish has an innate sense of sartorial savvy. The Tuxedo is the new LBD for Ashish. I am sure that we’re going to see many of Ashish’s look on the red carpet during the awards season that starts early next year. This was a collection celebrity stylists dream of. From glam ball gowns to fashion forward pant suits. Though Ashish is normally thought of as a menswear designer, in this show, he showed he can do both, and this time his women’s wear was actually stronger.
And of course, he ended his show with a showstopper – this is customary at every finale show. It used to be a norm that most of us in the industry cringed at, but when the very debonair Anil Kapoor walked out in an embellished tuxedo, it seemed just right. Anil is sophisticated and this was a collection that was all about just that.
This all black and white show was set on a contrasting red stage, which had an opera like feel with a complete orchestra. While the elements sound like a perfect match, the theatre style presentation made it hard to really to see the details in the garment. In a fashion show, clothes must be the heroes and this setting was more suited to a concert.
There is no question that this show had a retro feel and Ashish visited some of the great styles of the Forties and Fifties – a time when fashion celebrated flamboyance. The only problem was that there was so much referencing, it looked a little “inspired”. With so many fashion journalists being just about sensationalism, I hope Ashish does not receive cynical criticism. A retro collection has to refer to the past. Of course, one could see the influence of international designers like Dior, Oscar de la Renta and Yves Saint Laurent, but I feel Ashish gave everything his own touch of flamboyance that has finesse. I am sure some may disagree.
Pix: Yogen Shah for MissMalini
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