Saturday, 6 March 2010

Lakme Fashion Week, Mumbai

A lot can happen in fashion in four years. That's how long it is since I was last at Lakme Fashion Week in Mumbai. And there have been big changes, including a growth in confidence, efficiency and organisation, paralleled by a big step forward in design terms. Although by no means turning their backs on their heritage – why would they when it goes back very much further than most western ones? – the designers here have taken on board the need to satisfy a growing need for westernisation of their creativity, as much for the modern young Indian customer as for the rest of the world. But they haven't lost their colour sense, I am pleased to say, whether subtle or bold. Although, rather sadly, I saw a lot of sophisticated, wealthy Indian women in a smart restaurant last night and what was the prevailing colour for those wearing western fashion (the majority)? Yes, black.

But this is still a fledgling industry and there is a way to go before India can take its place as a world fashion hub, although I have no doubt that it will. Meantime, I have already seen on day one talents that at many times could hold their own with those of the West in the area of floaty beautifully coloured dresses that would look right any where around the Mediterranean or even at an English garden party, depending on how exhuberant you want to be. At times, as in the West, it is weighed down with the sort of embroidery that Josephine (of Naploeon and Josephine) would have loved but, by and large, colour and pattern save the day.

In a country where winter is a few chilly weeks in Delhi, there is no real tradition of winter clothing here, which means that tailoring heavy fabrics is not yet an Indian strength. Here the tradition is for draped fabric. So the cutting and make of a lot on the runways is not strong … but that does not mean universally, by any means.

The wedding is the great event in India that makes many designers very rich. The wedding season, from September to March, is worth $12 million, which is not surprising when you think that on one day recently there were 30,000 in Delhi alone. And when you remember that these are five-day affairs where all the family and principle guests (600 to 1,000 for a society affair) dress up differently every day, that is a lot of dresses. Then add Bollywood and this is beginning to look like a serious business. And it is. Not just for clothes either. At the label Rocky S the finale consisted of a ruby and diamond necklace that would have had Elizabeth Taylor gnashing her teeth in envy. It almost upstaged the clothes.


Shyamal & Bhumika

Krishna Mehta


1 comment:

  1. Thought you might be interested in the following interview with Fern Mallis where she shares her thoughts on the Indian fashion industry. Hope you don't mind me posting it here but couldn't find an alternate contact for you.