Celebrating India

Lakme Fashion Week 2020 Digital First Season Fluid Edition focuses on sustainability, supporting marginalized artisans and weavers, and innovative eco-conscious textiles – with digital showcases that show the expertise and ingenuity of our master weavers and designers. Here’s the story so far.

Lifestyle Insider BTS - Gaurang at LFW 2020 (2)

The ongoing Lakmé Fashion Week 2020 Digital First Season Fluid Edition has been in a quietly celebratory mode, one that reflects deeply upon today’s hottest topics concerning fashion – such as sustainability and the use of sustainable fabrics, empowering artisans, helping craftspersons, and making people aware of fashion’s cycle so that consumers become more aware of the importance of wastefulness and mindfulness when it comes to conserving our natural resources. So far, it’s been a slew of shows that have, in one way or another, highlighted sustainability, bringing artisans to the fore, and present new and innovative textiles and collabs.

Lifestyle Insider Bollywood’s favourite Kartik Aaryan featured as a muse for Manish Malhotra at LFW 2020

The Week set off with a bang with a presentation by Manish Malhotra, whose own collab with Mijwan completes a decade. This was celebrated in grand style with the couturier paying tribute to the craftsmen and artisans with his splendid bridal collection ‘Ruhaaniyat’ fundraising opening show for the Mijwan Foundation, with actor Kartik Aaryan as his muse. “Ruhaaniyat is my tribute to all the artisans and craftsmen of our country who have left fingerprints of their art onto our heritage and culture,” says Manish in his press statement. “It's about the eternal soul of the craft from two culturally rich regions (the vibrance of Punjab and nazakat of Awadh), and how it continues to live on even today.”

Lifestyle Insider Manish Malhotra at LFW 2020 – lehenga

Manish used the crafts of Punjab, Awadh and Kutch, in embellished, archival fabrics that were highlighted with borders of zari woven with gold and silver, in the fashion film directed by him. These textiles were hand-basted, and hand quilted with a muted colour spread of teal, pistachio green, dusky pink, grey, maroon, black and white. Layering the ensembles added to their glamour – as was the use of rich fabrics like pure cotton and silk, Mashru, velvet, and muslin – as models glided in traditional kurtas, khada dupattas, ghararas, and izar salwars (for women), and grand Jama angarkhas and heavy shawls for men.

Lifestyle Insider Manish Malhotra at LFW 2020 – menswear

A lineup of kurtas in pastel gave a festive touch to the menswear, while women donned long and short kurtas, which were at times. A vintagey, old-world charm came through via zardosi accents. The lehenga, choli, and dupatta had embroidered trains that floated dreamily behind the ensembles. And to add to the opulence, the Manish Malhotra Jewellery line, which reflects the art and designs of Punjab and Awadh; was the perfect accessory. The handcrafted jewellery was visualized in pure gold with flat-cut diamonds, Russian and Zambian emeralds and pearls.

Lifestyle Insider Manish Malhotra at LFW 2020 – BTS

Manish’s models sported passas, maangtikkas, and maathapattis. Encircling the necks were stylish chokers, haars, two and three-tiered necklaces, as well as studs and Sahara earrings. On the hands were haathphools kadas, rings and stackable bangles twinkling on the wrists.

"I want to thank Manish for taking these craftsmen's work to the world and provide them with a regular source of employment and income throughout,” says veteran actress Shabana Azmi in her press statement. “Mijwan is growing each day and, along with it, its craft and people, and I'm glad that Lakmé Fashion Week has come on board to support the Mijwan Welfare Society by fundraising efforts."

Lifestyle Insider MISHÉ at LFW 2020 (1)

The first show of the next day, was dedicated to the winners of INIFD’s ‘Gen Next’ programme – three young designers who had created fully sustainable collections – selected from 200 applicants.

Lifestyle Insider Dhātu Design Studio at LFW 2020

NIFT-trained Anmol Sharma (with his label Dhatu Design Studio) showed his ‘Dress to Reform’ collection with fabrics revolving around GI (Geographical Indication), non-violent hand-woven Bhagalpur Ahimsa silk, hemp, naturally dyed denim, registered hand-woven pure Pashmina, as well as handwoven Mangalgiri cottons. The menswear line was embellished with phoolkari, bullion knots, and cross-stitch, with comfort as the overarching theme.

Lifestyle Insider Mishé Sketch for LFW 2020

Mother and daughter duo, Minakshi Ahluwalia and Parsons-educated Bhumika’s label Mishe is for the modern woman, and their collection Shuwa featured banana and orange peel fabric, recycled and handwoven cotton, as well as handwoven cotton jute. The zero-waste procedures of pattern making were coordinated with Japanese pattern making forms, with pantsuits, jackets, tunics worn with palazzos, and dresses.

Lifestyle Insider The Loom Art at LFW 2020 (1)

Aarushi Kilawat’s ‘Between the Lines’ collection were in handwoven cotton silk, and chanderi and matka silk (her label The Loom Art was launched in 2017). The pale, powdery ensembles featured soojni and kantha embroidery – along with the Arashi Shibori technique (a Japanese method of dying fabric that has been twisted, and folded, and bunched together to create eye-catching patterns). This created lovely ripples on long jackets, dresses, and scarves.

Lifestyle Insider CDC Presents Malai for LFW 2020 (3)

Coconut water is not something on normally associates with fashion. But when Susmith Chempodil and Zuzana Gombosova of eco-brand ‘Malai’ won the 2nd Circular Design Challenge at Lakmé Fashion Week Summer/Resort 2020, and presented a unique collection in collaboration with Reliance Industries Ltd.’s R|Elan Fashion for Earth, Lakmé Fashion Week and United Nations Environment programme, this was truly a moment to applaud. The duo showed accessories from material based on a bio-degradable, vegan alternative to leather, made from cellulose grown on brown coconut water. (It takes around two weeks to grow cellulose from bacterial culture, and the resulting jelly-like layer is dyed and made water-resistant.)

Lifestyle Insider BTS - CDC presents Malai at LFW 2020

Their solo collection had wallets, handbags, backpacks, caps, visors, clutches, laptop bags, bracelets and belt bags teamed with resortwear - loose, unisex jackets, pants, shorts, T-shirts, and mundus, in organic cotton, banana jersey, hemp canvas and second-hand Mundu fabrics. Even the printing was sustainable, with cyanotype printing with coconut leaves and plants from South India as the print template, with natural dyes.

Lifestyle Insider BTS - Gaurang at LFW 2020 (2)

Next up came a veritable visual feast for sari lovers, from nothing less than National Award-winning textile designer Gaurang Shah – whose saris are favoured by the elegant Maharani Radhikaraje Gaekwad of Baroda – and who retails out of Hyderabad and London. His presentation of 30 jaw-dropping, handwoven and handcrafted saris from the Golconda era were dedicated to ‘Taramati’, a courtesan in the court of the Sultan of Golconda.

Lifestyle Insider Gaurang at LFW 2020 (2)

As the colour palette moved from beiges, green, yellow, to reds and deep pinks, these weaves created by some of the most talented master weavers featured ikat, kanchi, paitain (a fave of Gaurang’s), to Kota doria, benarasi, and venkatgiri. From gold-infused silk to aari, chikankari, kasuti, shibori, kantha, kutch embroidery and Parsi gara were cleverly used in the saris. With graceful Kathak dancers swirling around the models as they descended the steps of the Taramati Baradari in Hyderabad, this film by Gaurang is sure to set a million heirloom dreams afloat.

Lifestyle Insider Payal Khandwala for IMG Reliance presents All About India at LFW 2020 (2)

The six-designer show All About India presented by IMG Reliance, was a beautiful artisanal story to promote crafts from various regions of India, set in six offbeat, behind-the-scenes backdrops such as parking lots, kitchens, and rooftops within the premises of the St Regis, Mumbai. The idea is for these six designers to in effect ‘adopt’ the area where their craft is created, and work for a period of 5-6 months with the clusters of marginalized weavers there in the areas impacted by the pandemic to create collections that will sold via e-commerce. (IMG Reliance will partner with NGO Creative Dignity, a movement that has brought together creative producers, practitioners, and professionals to revitalise the Indian artisans post Covid-19 and identify most affect groups.

) Lifestyle Insider Payal Khandwala for IMG Reliance presents All About India at LFW 2020 (7)

Payal Khandwala’s penchant for sumptuous saris is no secret. She showed a delicious jewel-toned limited-edition set of Jamdani saris (made on a brocade loom) with white flower motifs. Satya Paul is known for its legendary designs that have made this brand a household name for modern saris for the last two decades.

Lifestyle Insider Rajesh Pratap Singh for Satya Paul at IMG Reliance presents All About India at LFW 2020 (1)

Rajesh Pratap Singh for Satya Paul brought his sophisticated sensibility, using double ikat and putapaka from Telangana in stark black and white saris, but also colour, as seen in a sari with multi-coloured squares teamed with a red ikat border.

Lifestyle Insider Anavila for IMG Reliance presents All About India at LFW 2020

Anavila showed festive saris in fine linen, woven with khatwa, from Dumka, Jharkhand, as well as a lounge suit and a kaftan.

Lifestyle Insider Suket Dhir for IMG Reliance presents All About India at LFW 2020 (1)

And always one to surprise, the Woolmark Prize-winning designer Suket Dhir (who largely focuses on menswear) showcased colourful (vermilion, aqua, fuchsia), animal-motif fitted jackets for women in benarasi handwoven silk brocade, worn with solid-colour fitted trousers, dresses, or shorts.

Lifestyle Insider Urvashi Kaur for IMG Reliance presents All About India at LFW 2020 (2)

The minimalistic Urvashi Kaur stuck to her muted palettes of fawn, khaki, indigo, maroon, and camel – to come up with louche jackets and shirts for men and women, and dresses using shibori tie-dye made by artisans from Faridabad and Jaipur.

Lifestyle Insider Abraham & Thakore for IMG Reliance presents All About India at LFW 2020 (2)

Abraham & Thakore went for sand-coloured hues with a play on gold polka dots and stripes, on layered ensembles – pants and blouse, a sari worn with a Victorian blouse, belted dresses, a kedia jacket over a tunic, using block print from Farrukhabad, UP.

Lifestyle Insider Raw Mango Moomal collection at LFW 2020 (1)

And who better than Raw Mango to close the first day of Lakmé India Fashion Week? With his focus on his home state, Rajasthan, the handloom champion label’s founder Sanjay Garg introduced a medley of Rajasthani influences, colours, motifs, and fabrics – a mix of nostalgia and festivity – as his film transported us into the land of ‘Moomal’ (the name of his collection, also a famous Rajput love story).

Lifestyle Insider Raw Mango Moomal collection at LFW 2020 (2)

With motifs like the peacocks in zardozi and colourful rani pinks and mustards on poshaks, lehengas, jackets, and cholis, Sanjay also used bandhej techniques to elevate his outfits to a new level of complexity and beauty (we loved the bhandej odhani on the purple lehenga with the embroidered peacocks). From sitara embroidered mithai pink kurta and organza sharara Filmed in an old haveli in Shekhawati, with family portraits adorning rooms that are often a bit bare albeit the odd sofa or bed, this fashion story is replete with possibilities. What awaits these languorous (real life) women dressed so poetically?

Lifestyle Insider Raw Mango_Moomal collection at LFW 2020 (3)


Priya Kumari Rana

Lifestyle Insider is a kind of junction point, connecting people with diverse interests that touch on the more luxurious aspects of lifestyle – fashion, design, travel, food and spirits, art, watches and jewellery, cars, yachts, and aviation, and technology. People today don’t fit into boxes and categories. In our individual ways, we are interested in diverse themes, products, and the challenges that face our world today. You will judge how well this effort of mine caters to your passions and proclivities.

Lifestyle Insider is a showcase of all that is beautiful and luxe. Behind every creation, is a designer, chef, entrepreneur, or a design maison. I have delved into my own appreciation for objetsde luxe that I have admired over the years – be it a love of fashion from the world’s top Parisian and Italian fashion maisons and their ’90s muses, or the care that goes into sari and Indian textile collections in my own family. Growing up on four continents, as the daughter of a former Indian Ambassador, I’ve seen a remarkable array of historic places and met a myriad people. My aim is to bring my world view into this website, a curation of what I find particularly stunning, unique, and newsworthy.

It’s an exciting time for brands all over the world. With change comes opportunity. With the global ‘reset’ and uncertainty on many fronts, there is a chance to write a new script. Let’s be those pioneers.

A bit about me:
A luxury and fashion journalist with 25 years of experience in publishing and magazine journalism, I have edited some of India’s top fashion and luxury magazines. I got my BA in Comparative Literature from UC Berkeley, and went on to receive my Master’s in English and French from the University of Strasbourg, France. I have also studied German and Film. I live in Gurugram, India, and look forward to once again exploring our world with a new-found freedom.

Priya Kumari Rana

Founder and Editor

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