A Spectacular Season

Making history after more than a decade-and-a-half, Lakmé Fashion Week and the Fashion Design Council of India come together to present a joint phygital fashion week from 16-21 March. From applauding fresh talent to new partnerships, and an entire day focusing on Sustainability, it promises to be an exciting week for lovers of fashion. Here some of the highlights.

Lifestyle Insider Lakme? Fashion Week WF 2019

The biggest powerhouses of fashion and beauty in India – Lakmé Fashion Week (LFW) jointly organized by Lakmé and RISE Worldwide (formerly IMG Reliance); and the Fashion Design Council of India (FDCI) present a joint Phygital Fashion Week from 16-21 March 2021, kicking off tomorrow, ushering a new era of cooperation between the leaders of the industry, even as this brings together fresh ideas, talent, perspectives, and ways of working, in a post-pandemic world.

FDCI and Lakmé Fashion Week will jointly present the Opening Show on 16th March and will culminate with the Lakmé Absolute Grand Finale on 21st March. The event will also feature the prestigious talent discovery programme GenNext for designers as well as promote new emerging modelling talent through FDCI’s #GetNoticed Model Hunt besides other innovations. Both FDCI and LFW will continue their buyer programmes launched last season as well.

Each of the virtual showcases have been created using state of the art technology during an extensively designed and carefully planned on-ground shoot in Delhi led by FDCI and in Mumbai led by RISE Worldwide. These will be streamed live on the FDCI and Lakmé Fashion Week websites, as well as their social media pages.

Lifestyle Insider FDCI Rainbow Show SS 2019

The Fashion Design Council of India is the resilient changemaker in the fashion world with its fashion-forward initiatives, global partnerships and rooted perspective in creating lasting opportunities for a conglomerate of its robust 400 plus designer members. “The Fashion Design Council of India for decades has tirelessly worked to make the design industry lead from the front and leave a global footprint,” says Sunil Sethi, Chairman FDCI. “The pandemic has darkened the clouds, this will add a silver lining to the business of fashion and help sharpen the needs of the fast changing world. Lakmé, RISE Worldwide and FDCI will now have a shared purpose and belonging as we both reinvent the wheel in uncertain times. We are delighted to present this fashion week together.”

Lakmé, India’s largest cosmetics and beauty services brand, was also the country's first cosmetic brand to introduce makeup to Indian women and takes pride in being the expert on Indian Beauty for over 50 years. “Our association with the Indian fashion industry runs deep as Lakmé has been a key driver of its growth for the past 20 years,” says Ashwath Swaminathan, Head of Innovations at Lakmé. “We look forward to this partnership opening up new avenues of growth for all stakeholders. We continue to remain true to the pillars of the Lakmé Fashion week which are discoverability, sustainability and talkability as we present the best in Indian fashion and beauty this season to a global audience.”

RISE Worldwide, India’s largest independent Sports, Lifestyle, and Entertainment enterprise, connects over 150 million people through its various IPs. “RISE Worldwide’s ultimate goal is the development of eco-systems that we operate in and we feel this partnership will help elevate the fashion industry to new heights,” says Jaspreet Chandok, Head, Lifestyle Businesses at RISE Worldwide. “We are glad to partner with the FDCI and look forward to jointly present Lakmé Fashion Week this season, as we RISE as one.”

Lifestyle Insider Pankaj and Nidhi illustration

Some of the other key designers showcasing, include Suneet Varma, S&N by Shantanu and Nikhil, Samant Chauhan, Payal Pratap, Pankaj & Nidhi, Manish Malhotra, Masaba, Arpita Mehta, Gauri & Nainika, Geisha Designs, Nitin Bal Chauhan, Siddartha Tytler, and Pawan Sachdeva.

The Opening Show

Celebrated designer Anamika Khanna is set to present her latest collection ‘Timeless the World’ at the opening showcase of this fashion week, at 8pm on March 16. “It’s an honour to be doing the opening show for FDCI x LFW’s joint fashion week,” she says. ‘The past year has been a challenging one to say the least, and I am glad that to have the opportunity to use this platform to showcase my work, and the incredible artists I work with. My collection is a collaboration of art and textile and will be an homage to the fact that what is created will one day perish. What is left behind is legacy, and what matters most is what you do with it.”

Her shoot took place at the FDCI studio, following strict safety protocols. “We are thrilled to have Anamika Khanna as the designer to open FDCI x LFW,” says Sunil Sethi, Chairman, FDCI. “She always outdoes herself, and we’re looking forward to seeing what she has in store for us all, this time around. Her shoot at the FDCI studio has been a unique experience, executed keeping in mind the highest level of safety of all those involved.”

Get Ready for Gen Next

Since its inception in 2006, talent discovery programme GenNext has introduced over 200 designers and has created a mentorship program that has brought a wave of innovation in the industry. The two winning designers Label Rahul Dasgupta by Rahul Dasgupta and Raffughar by Wajahat Rather were chosen through a virtual jury selection process to present their creations at ‘INIFD presents GenNext’, to be held on 17 March at 4pm on the virtual platforms of both FDCI and Lakmé Fashion Week.

As part of the application process, designers submitted a video montage of their ensembles to complement their presentation, to a jury of experts. The two winning GenNext designers were then taken through a series of Masterclasses over three days with fashion consultant Sabina Chopra, the Lakmé Fashion Week team, as well as industry experts, to help the winners understand the importance of brand building, guide them on the principles of business and marketing and were also given feedback and advice on their upcoming showcase and collection.

Lifestyle Insider Model sporting garment by LABEL RAHUL DASGUPTA

GenNext designer Rahul Dasgupta graduated from NIFT, Kolkata, and has had successful stints at Morph and Ruceru before starting his studio in August 2020. The collection he’s showcasing is inspired by the sea. Rahul has used the traditional Shibori technique on cotton dori and cut out selvage of fabrics and then detangled it and stitched them one after the other to create his textile. The techniques have been teamed with silk organza to give them breathing space.

Lifestyle Insider Model sporting garment by Label Raffughar By Wajahat Rather

The second designer, Wajahat Rather of independent design label Raffughar, is inspired by the darners of Kashmir, and graduated from the National Institute of Design (NID), Ahmedabad. He has a gold medal in fine arts from Jammu University. His collection ‘Maazi’ is a recollection of the memories of the past and nostalgia represented by paisley motifs which change and recreate blurred paths. Wajahat tries to show today’s phygital reality through the metamorphosis of embroidery motifs into melting paisleys and pixelated motifs, which in turn change into barcodes. The collection will feature the labe’s signature style, contemporary pheran silhouettes for summer. Tulip hem and toor trousers with block printing are also part of this range.

A Gateway for New Talent

The FDCI’s new property FDCI Emerging Talent will see designer Akshat Bansal (Bloni), showcasing this season. His show is slated for March 17, 2021, 5pm. Bloni’s designer talks about the importance of sustainability through the language of clothes. “This collection marks the third year of us making clothes, clothes that are not conformed to any particular gender. It’s self-accepting and self-informed. Enhancing transparency and creating a unique culture, something the brand thrives on,” says Akshat Bansal.

Bloni’s USP is craft and techniques which give ingenuity to the brand. Blending textiles and giving sustainability, a new form and edge by using technologies to make eco-friendly clothing, not only supports Indian artisans, but also introduces advancements and hybrid textiles for the new-tech generation, a quiet mission of Bansal.

The collection introduces marine plastic waste textile, blending tech-generated fabrics mixed with local artisanal techniques, the craft of tie and dye, hand crochet and knitting. Glazed fabrics, clean silhouettes and gender-neutral shapes, blur the visual distinction and form a strong base for this collection.

“The FDCI believes in nurturing new talent and creating stars, who will rewrite the existing template of the fashion world. This fresh showcase is reflective in character, sensing the need to explore boundaries and adopt a multi-layered approach to design. After careful consideration, we chose Akshat Bansal sensing the complex and intriguing nature of his ideology, which gets translated into clothing that exudes a social message,” says Chairman FDCI Sunil Sethi.

Sustainability is the Need of the Hour

This time, an entire day has been devoted to sustainable fashion. March 18 will be Sustainable Fashion Day with sustainable collection by Ritu Kumar presented by Tres Semmé at 9pm. The collection reflects modern minimalism with a bohemian culture and includes yarn dyes, mix and match of floral prints, patchwork with different laces, geometric designs and organic sarees. Sustainability is woven into the DNA of Ritu Kumar and has always been at the forefront of everything the brand undertakes. Each collection over the years has included pieces crafted out of fibres that are as close to nature as possible. Ritu Kumar’s endeavour has been to continuously expand the horizons for innovative and sustainable solutions. In sync with the same, Ritu Kumar’s Spring Summer 2021 showcase presents organic soya fabric sarees that are environmentally friendly and close to nature.

Earlier sustainability themed shows include the ‘All About India’ at 7pm, presented by RISE Worldwide, by Chola, Huemn, and Khanijo as a tribute to artisanal techniques and crafts. The Circular Design Challenge (CDC), India’s largest sustainable fashion award will be presented at 4pm by R|Elan TM “Fashion for Earth” in association with and United Nations Environment Programme.

Animal lovers will undoubtedly appreciate the PETA show at 5pm that will showcase a lookbook of a conscious, leather-free wardrobe for date night, office wear, leisure, and athleisure, highlighting the fact that it’s easy to have “a killer look without killing animals” for fashion. Some of the brands featured here will include Urvashi Kaur, Outhouse, Papa Don’t Preach, Kunal Anil Tanna, Jenjum Gadi, No Nasties, and more.

And at 6pm a showcase of (zero-cruelty) Peace Silk by Cocccon, Purn Vritt, the avantgarde collection by Indo-German designer duo Prakash and Georg. The collection will resemble the indigenous performing art of Jharkhand which speaks about conflict between circular (jeevan chakra) and linear (jeevan rekha) lifestyle. The collection is made of materials which are biodegradable and have no trace of negative impact on mother earth. The principal material is organically produced peace silk, where silkworm completes their full life cycle and turn into butterflies. Sericulture is performed under strict organic procedures, including zero carbon measures. Patterns of this collection are made using zero waste techniques. Materials such as Silicon/ plastic boning, polyester mesh can-can, chemical adhesive-based fusing, pasting etc. are avoided, and instead alternative materials are used from natural resources like bamboo or cane. Project Cocccon is GOTS, WFTO, OCS certified and won German Sustainability Award Design 2021.

And at 8pm, Payal Pratap presents a whimsical collection entitled ‘View With A Room’. It is a collection born over this past year reflecting, internalizing, celebrating the good in us. And viewing what lies ahead with positivity. Shades of plum, deep purple, midnight navy, fuschia, ruby, petrol and coffee, auburn autumn and ochre make up the rich colour palette. The collection that heralds the oncoming of a new dawn. Maxi dresses, wrap dresses, saree dresses, riddled with peplum sleeves, gathers, smocking and handwoven details. Handloom wool stripe and check jackets peppered with embroideries. Cross-stitch embroideries, hand embroidered sequin highlights make an appearance. Vibrant floral prints print on print layering is accessorized with embroidered and hand-made wool felt boots. Opaque stockings, wool handloom scarves, wood buttons, gold plated hand beaten bangles, hand beaten gold plated loop earrings, and handmade wool felt boots accessorize this collection.

Diamonds and Collabs

There’s also a global diamond trend report by the Natural Diamond Council, highlighting trends in jewellery and accessories, and collaborations aplenty – as seen at Gauri & Nainika with Marie Claire, Payal Singhal with R-Elan, Arpita Mehta with Logitech, and Pankaj and Nidhi with Lakmé Salon. What’s bound to be an exciting show is Masaba’s collection inspired by BoAt, one of the world’s leading audio brands.

Lifestyle Insider P.E.L.L.A for FDCI and LFW

A Spotlight on a Fashion Film

For the first time, FDCI x Lakmé Fashion Week has announced the winner of ‘NEXA presents The Spotlight’. Priyanka Ella Lorena Lama of label P.E.L.L.A. emerged as the winner after a highly competitive selection process that required each participating designer to present the collection, idea and concept of their fashion film through a virtual presentation to the jury. The winning designer was awarded INR five lakh to shoot and create a fashion film which will be showcased on March 19 at 6pm. Participants were judged by a panel comprising fashion designer Rahul Mishra; architect and interior designer Ashiesh Shah, fashion director Vogue India Priyanka Kapadia, Shashank Srivastava of Maruti Suzuki India Limited, and Jaspreet Chandok, Head, Lifestyle Businesses, RISE Worldwide.

Lifestyle Insider P.E.L.L.A for FDCI X LFW

P.E.L.L.A.’s winning presentation, ‘THE HIVE’, takes inspiration from understanding life in slow motion. Priyanka translated this during the design process through zero waste pattern making and construction, weaving together indigenous handwoven textiles from silks to the finest Pashminas and stinging nettle weaves in hues of eggshell, beige, and cream. It also incorporates silk painting by hand and thread as it evokes the unpredictable nature of time.

The winner was chosen from among six other designers - Abhishek Sharma for his label Abhishek Sharma; Akshat Bansal for Bloni; Kritika Tula for Doodlage; Kunal Anil Tanna for Kunal Anil Tanna; Shweta Gupta for her label SWGT and Yadvi Agarwal for Yavi. Each of the designers was asked to interpret the theme ‘Utopia: A Designers Journey’ in line with NEXA’s ‘create, inspire’ ethos in their submissions.

“NEXA presents ‘The Spotlight’ is yet another step towards our continued effort to promote and nurture deserving talent in the Indian fashion industry,” says Jaspreet Chandok – Head, Lifestyle Businesses, RISE Worldwide. “This program has been developed to give artists the chance to express their design story without the limitation of physical space. Each of the shortlisted designers had a unique style of interpretation, and I’d like to congratulate them all. We look forward to see how P.E.L.L.A. leverages the power of audio-visual presentation to showcase her latest collection at FDCI X Lakmé Fashion Week.”

Lifestyle Insider FDCI x Pearl Academy First Cut

Gender Fluid Expressions

Slated for 4pm on March 21, young designers from Pearl Academy, fashion design, fashion styling, and fashion makeup will showcase their collection entitled ‘Gender Me Good’, FDCI x Pearl Academy First Cut show, that revolves around gender fluidity as an expression of self. The concept has been inspired by Judith Butler’s Essay titled ‘Gender Trouble’ and it attempts to break constructs built by society, taking elements from what most consider masculine or feminine.

“Students are the torch bearers of tomorrow as they usher in styles that reflect societal mores,” says Sunil Sethi, Chairman, FDCI. “We are happy to continue our partnership with Pearl Academy as the FDCI has been an incubator of talent always providing wholesome opportunities.”

Speaking about the students’ showcase, Antonio Maurizio Grioli, Dean, School of Fashion says, “We are proud to have showcased our student’s collection as part of ‘first cut’ with FDCI. The event is a successful collaboration between our students from fashion design, fashion styling, and fashion make-up. For the gender-fluid theme, our students responded to the social-cultural landscape by using innovative techniques.”

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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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