Fluid and feminine
A dress with long slits. A sari with two pallus. Ashima-Leena's collection at the Lakme India Fashion Week promises all this and more.
Photo: S. Subramanium
BLACK MAGIC: Model Amanpreet in an Ashima-Leena creation for LIFW.
MINIMALISM HAS never been their forte, and this year too Ashima Leena's collection for the forthcoming Lakme India Fashion Week will have the trademark glitter. No wonder, most of the dresses are in the diffusion category, for the Week that is essentially meant to promote prêt.
Functionality has always been their strength, but this year Ashima, known for draping housewives or office going middle-aged women yearning to sail with the times, has taken a few steps westwards. There are long, really long slits in the evening dress. There is an all-black outfit - a blend of West Asian and European dress. There are jewelled dresses and handcrafted designer jewellery as accessories. It seems finally the aunties of Indian fashion are feeling the pressures of the market, getting younger by the day, asking for diversification every season. "No, it is a natural progression, progression as a designer and as an individual. With time you tend to do different things. However, it is not that we have gone overboard," says Ashima at the preview of the collection.
Ashima asserts they have designed the collection keeping in mind the international customer. "At the same time we have given them options to alter the outfit according to the region and individual taste. For instance, the dress with the longish slit can be worn with pants. The scarf with the black outfit (in the picture) can be cowled back."
Ashima promises to bring the sari back to the ramp this Week. "It would be in a very different way. The sari has two pallus. One is the usual, while the other is used as a belt. It will be worn with a shirt with cuffs." She has used lycra satin and embroidery with Chinese motifs to good effect. It is the motifs that remind us that the collection's theme is eternal mystics.
Forecasting the fall-winter look, Ashima says the feminine and fluid trend of the summer will last till this winter. "There is lots of layering though. The cuts will get a bit sharper. Long and knee-length flared skirts will remain in demand." She says black is expected to remain the colour of night parties. She suggests tomato red, olives and violets as possible options.
There is nothing minimalist about their jewellery either. "Indeed, we have used gold plated silver with biggish pendants." Ashima adds there is an interesting use of velvet and leather as well, but those outfits are still under scissors.
In business for more than a decade, Leena, who looks after the marketing side of the label, says, "The biggest contribution of the Week has been in making fashion a serious business in this country." Ironically, she was speaking to a television channel even before the collection was showcased. Interestingly, her socialite friends were strategically seated to be clicked even before lensmen framed their work. "You can't take food and socialites out of fashion," maintains Ashima.
Even at the cost of fashion?
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