Manga Chic

At the FDCI x Lakme Fashion Week, designer duo Pankaj & Nidhi present the geometric cool, graphic laden ‘Kaleido’ collection, straight out of the streets of Harajuku, Tokyo, with textured, up-down hairstyles courtesy Lakme Salon.

Ruffles and pleats - schoolgirl chic at Pankaj and Nidhi

With this presentation, we could well have tumbled onto the streets of Tokyo’s fashionable Harajuku district in the 1990s. Pankaj and Nidhi’s show at the FDCI x Lakme Fashion Week, Kaleido, had all the makings of a Goth-meets-Lolita, hypercolourful, and futuristic approach to clothing, using sequins as their ‘outil’ or tool.

Lolita dress from Pankaj and Nidhi

The term “Kaleido” comes from the Greek term meaning “beautiful form”, which forms the essence of this collection. Kaleido is a collection of free-flowing hair looks and bright-hued, gamine garments that encourage women to embrace their individuality, much like the very first girls of Harajuku. Pankaj & Nidhi’s geometric and precise collection comes in a burst of rainbow hues of crimson, delicious oranges, neon pinks, deep electric blues, and virbrant greens, a mélange of retro-graphic patterns. The silhouettes include flowing maxi and mini dresses, and tailored co-ord sets with sporty elements, to acknowledge our pursuits towards wellness and fitness. The fabrics are sheer, translucent, breathable and easy to wear.

Sewing the embellishments by hand for the Kaleido collection Designers Pankaj & Nidhi

There is holographic embroidery; dexterously hand-cut appliqués in triangles, squares, and diamonds with grading evocative of the transition of light from its colourless form to a multi-hued spectrum. “We’ve always loved geometrics and we were really fascinated with the concept of a kaleidoscope and how it changes patterns and colours whenever you look through it,” says the duo, who won the International Woolmark Prize in 2012. “It’s an explosion of vibrant colours symbolizing constant change and evolution. The intricate embroidery incorporates holographic and iridescent materials with vibrant metallic colours.”

A closeup of the incredible 3D appliques on a Pankaj and Nidhi piece Mid-length 3D dress at Pankaj and Nidhi

More than being mere sequins, what has been infused onto the fabric, in the words of the designers, is a “smorgasbord of dexterously custom-made elements that are precisely embellished with a spontaneous randomness” to get the textures that Pankaj and Nidhi are known for. Their embroidery materials are all custom-made for them right here in India, and it takes anywhere between 10-12 hours for the intricate embroidery on each piece.

Tailored pants and jacket at Pankaj and Nidhi Colourful patchwork skirt and delicate blouse at Pankaj and Nidhi

From comfortable jumpsuits and floor- and mid-length skirts along with bomber jackets, with puff sleeve blouses in electric colours, the designers have explored each silhouette with the wide-eyed innocence of youth. “With our hand-cut appliqués, a riot of rainbow colours, a plethora of breathable fabrics, and an array of wearable silhouettes, we want to help usher in a new beam of light into our lives and rejuvenate our souls,” they say. And with the array of colours and the shimmer of the special appliqués, each outfit reminds us of a happy era, with a look to the future, bright and hopeful.

3D embellished jacket with contrasting top and skirt at Pankaj and Nidhi Bustier-and peplum lame worn with a chiffon blouse at Pankaj and Nidhi

The Lakmé Salon haircut and style collection, created and curated by the team of Lakmé Salon experts, was inspired by the global collections from TIGI Bed Head. It plays up the models’ natural hair type and texture to give trendsetting looks that can be styled in different ways, from free-flowing waves to a textured bob and crown-caressing curls. The makeup looks created by the Lakmé Salon Backstage Heroes used the watercolour technique in happy shades like aqua, orange, and pink to mirror the essence of the collection.

Dress and jacket combo from Pankaj and Nidhi Embroiderers working on a Pankaj and Nidhi piece


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.

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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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