Calm 'n' storm
The beach met heaven in an evening of high fashion featuring some of India's biggest design labels
Photos: Murali Kumar K.
THE ANNUAL Seagram's Blender's Pride Fashion Tour is just midway through its multi-city journey. But its defining moment has already been captured in the first event in Mumbai. Couture kings Abu Jani and Sandeep Khosla were the ironic choice of designers to premier at this essentially pręt tour and walking the ramp in their outfits were members of the Bachchan family: Amitabh, Abhishek and Shwetha Nanda. No such distractions in Bangalore though, where the show was all about the designers.
Markedly different styles, colours, attitudes, and inspirations marked the collections of Aparna Chandra, Malini Ramani, Rocky S. and Wendell Rodricks. There were no inspirations from international design labels, which have swung to animal prints and African themes; instead, these collections designed specifically for the Seagram's tour struck out in different directions capturing the signature styles of the designers.
The first night opened with young designer Aparna Chandra's youthful and trendy collection. Drawing on inspirations from the '60s to influence hairstyles and accessories, she described her clothes as, "essentially a dress-up collection but with extremely free, comfortable silhouettes keeping them sexy and glamorous." The range is minimalist and classic pręt: stylish, confident, quiet and sexy.
Malini Ramani's trademark glamorous style lent the panache to the evening as she took inspiration from Goa to unleash a string of tropical colours. Acid and fuschia tones marked her bold prints, evoking the bronzed feel of a beach holiday with "mini skirts, bikinis, tropical disco pants, neon pants and of course the perfect look for a romance-filled holiday," she says. But the beach look didn't work in isolation, for what are Ramani's clothes without a touch of herself, and so there was ample evidence of the chic designer with the high profile lifestyle bearing up in all her colours and cuts.
The second night began with young-Bollywood's favourite Rocky S. (Rakesh Singhvi) who took inspiration, he said, from "an angelic face redolent with the serenity and beauty of heaven". He told MetroPlus that to use classic white in this theme would be "too predictable" and so instead of centring around one colour his collection gently embraces a range of pastel shades: beiges, pinks, ivories. This is an important collection for Rocky. Describing it as a sort of coming-of-age, he says it's "only now that I really know what I want to do and where I'm headed with embroidery and techniques."
His excitement with this discovery led to slightly clumsy, overdone outfits kicking off his show. Sequins and an abundance of shiny costume jewellery lit up his initial sequences in obvious references to the heaven motif. Floral patterned tops, heavy Kashmiri-type embroidery and a ruffled, layered look marked the flamboyant first half of the show.
There is calm after the storm, though, and after some dramatic music marking the halfway point, Rocky S. came down to earth with some lovely chiffon salwar kameezes, sequinned and glinting, but with streaks of delicate colour deftly added to the duppatta and strong single colour ensembles reminding the audience of the magic that works for Esha Deol, Hrithik Roshan and Katrina Kaif amongst others.
The understated touch of the master was amply evident in Wendell Rodericks' confident collection. Originating from the colour brown and the theme of ripples, the collection stuck devotedly to earth tones while emphasising, too obstinately, ruffles. Big layers, ribbed material, and ruffles, ruffles and more ruffles were the moving forces behind Rodericks' collection, designed, he says, in five days flat.
Cuts were mockingly basic: wrap around skirts, straight cut pyjamas, clean cut suits, but everywhere a cheeky, unexpected touch in the designer's signature style. Simple wrap around skirts, for instance, used traditional cuts but ran riot in citrus colours against the solid browns; basic party tops teased with a slender snaking back band; straight cut suits surprised with their rough, hewn edges, threads hanging provocatively out of line.
Not all of it was brilliance though, many of the women's clothes dared to jump shape and appear in rectangular layers and narrow trains great to display a designer's dexterity, but which woman pays good money to look shapeless?
The piece de resistance and clear audience winner was a slinky, heavenly white (should have been in Rocky's collection!) gown, meekly feminine and conformist but unexpectedly embraced by a big, wild, ruffled stole, proving that you should never, ever, presume to predict Wendell Rodericks. A fitting end to an evening of very original fashion.
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