Covid-19 has left an indelible mark on the fashion industry. It has forced the designers to rethink and reimagine new concepts and go beyond the usual with fashion shows going digital.
For very long-time fashion shows have been a staple event for every fashion lover. However, with lockdown restrictions and coronavirus cases going up in India, Lakmé Fashion Week went digital for the first time. The virtual event went live on a high-tech virtual platform specially created for the show. This season too, the platform showcased innovations with several new, disruptive formats.
As a response towards the current pandemic situation, the focus of the renewed Lakmé Fashion Week was to support the designers and artisans through a virtual showroom, keeping sustainability at the forefront, connecting buyers and consumers to the beauty and fashion industry and thereby creating demand for the growth of the industry.
The Lakmé Fashion Week also had a digitally-abled showroom to direct customers to runway collections. The five-day-long lineup included names like Raw Mango, Péro, Pankaj & Nidhi.
Designer Manish Malhotra and Mijwan’s collaboration celebrated a glorious decade when the duo paid tribute to the craftsmen and artisans with the stunning bridal collection ‘Ruhaaniyat’.
Manish Malhotra and Lakmé Fashion Week have partnered to support artisans through a fund-raising opening show presentation. The collection celebrated ten years of the designer’s association with the Mijwan Foundation.
Recreating the glory of the past, the construction moved from the traditional kurtas, khada dupattas, ghararas, and izar salwars for women and then to the grand Jama angarkhas and heavy shawls for men. Manish adorned the heads of the models with passas, maangtikkas and maathapattis. Encircling the necks were stylish chokers, haars, two and three-tiered necklaces, as well as studs and Sahara earrings. Ornaments for the hand were as dazzling with haathphools kadas, rings and stackable bangles twinkling on the wrists.
Talking about the collection and upcoming virtual showcase, Manish Malhotra said, “Ruhaaniyat is my tribute to all the artisans and craftsmen of our country who have left the fingerprints of their art onto our heritage culture. It's about the eternal soul of the craft from two culturally rich regions (vibrance of Punjab and nazakat of Awadh) and how it continues to live on even today.”
Designer Anushree Reddy unveiled a dazzling collection ‘Nazira’ (meaning glowing with happiness) for bridal trousseaux shoppers. Once again there was that uber reflection of romance and femininity in the ensembles as they glided through the show on elegant models. Anushree’s creative design directions have always been deeply rooted in traditions, which she once again unveiled for her garments.
The colour spread offered by Anushree showcased a delightful array of hues. There was the ever-neutral pristine ivory as well as the Haute bridal favourites like peachy pink, cherry red, strong royal purple, and regal navy. Embroidery was undoubtedly the star of Anushree’s collection with fine detailing like ornate scalloped edges for hemlines, dupattas, and cholis. Dazzling latkans hung tantalizingly at the waist while strappy gowns replete with the most exotic blooms splashed all over were mesmerizing. The almost lacy treatment with embroidery given to the choli sleeves presented an amazing fragile look. The saris were treated with great opulence as the embellishments were lavishly used for the pallavs, borders, and cholis. Keeping her demi-couture collection fuss-free for the millennial bride, Anushree Reddy ensured that the “Nazira” collection had everything that the trousseau shoppers always dreamt of.
Designer Masaba known for her quirky prints brought the nostalgia of the ‘Disco Divana’ era of the ’70s to the millennial 2020s, the vintage patterns took the consumer on a retro trip when it was the flower power era that brought excitement into lives. Giving a creative touch to the Aztec pattern, Masaba gave the tribal print a rustic shade card that will revive old memories. There were once again memories that were brought to the forefront in the starry patterns that came in monochromatic colours of black and white.
Ridhi Mehra’s collections have always moved with the fashion-forward trends season after season. For Lakmé Fashion Week 2020 Digital First Season Fluid Edition, Ridhi’s collection called ‘Reflections’ moved from modifying to modernising the fashion story. The leitmotif of the line was the ever-popular mirror work that was balanced with innovative designs and techniques. The inspiration was the royal heritage of Kutch that brought forth the characteristic bohemian craft, in a riot of the colour power play but suited to the contemporary silhouettes. Keeping mirror work as the focal point on the ensembles, Ridhi fused in mixed elements of Gota Patti and zari on the silks as well as the prints that highlighted the fabrics like chiffon and organza.
Offering a variety of silhouettes to suit the ethnic and western dresser, Ridhi unveiled swirling anarkalis and luxuriously embellished saris and then moved to stylish jumpsuits with interesting design directions. The grand festive and bridal assortment was fashion regalia of colour and craft. The lines of the contemporary sharara and tunic; set the pace for the looks to follow. A glamorous, glitzy, array of sumptuous red off-shoulder gowns, hot pink draped sari versions, and a majestic ivory vision with shoulder trains added to the bridal wear offering. The various options in pre-draped saris will thrill the trousseau shoppers, while the floor-skimming anarkalis, lehengas, cholis, and dupattas will complete the wedding wear shoppers’ list.
However, some designers like Paromita Banerjee gave the show a skip this year. “I prefer being all out at the show. Physically watching a show for the audience and being there as a designer displaying your collection makes a lot of difference. A fashion show is so much more than just garments. There is so much drama on stage. An online show cannot buy that experience of absorbing the whole atmosphere.”
But what other options do the fashion industry have since gone digital is the order of the day. Designer Sunita Shanker looking at the brighter side explains, “With fashion shows going digital, the audience grows and you have better reach. Technology is at your fingertip and so fashion becomes democratic. Now you do not need the Crème de la crème audience of the fashion weeks. It’s like everybody sitting at home has access to every designer’s look book.”
Shanker further states that another bright side is that by going digital, designers will let go of all unnecessary services. Though it is still at its nascent stage we need to still wait and watch how things work out.
Designers Abraham and Thakore are of the opinion that having a virtual fashion event has made the entire exercise much more eco-friendly. “The virus does not look like it is going away anytime soon which means we need to adapt to survive and if technology can help, we should use it. Now that these events have gone virtual, buyers and clients can log in anytime from anywhere to view different collections. These events have also become more eco friendly now, since there is no need for invites, flying in invitees, designing sets and all the other logistics of creating fashion events," Abraham and Thakore said.
However, they do agree that a virtual fashion event is not as exciting as the traditional ones. "We will definitely miss human interaction, the physical buzz of electricity before a show goes up, the social bonding over a glass of wine and the adrenalin rush of seeing something beautiful and being able to touch it. When things go back to being normal we will embrace it again but by then we will have a virtual tool with us, that will help us go beyond the physical limits of a fashion event,” Abraham and Thakore added.
Ashwath Swaminathan, Head of Innovations at Lakmé says, “Lakmé Fashion Week’s aim has always been to boost the Indian fashion industry. With the first-ever digital edition, Lakmé Fashion Week reinvented the digital format to enable the business of fashion, create new experiences for audiences, and put the spotlight back on the future of fashion.”
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