25 was the magical number at the grand finale, with a sublime blend of emotion, colour and craft as the stage radiated with passion and documented the journey of Indian fashion
By Asmita Aggarwal
If there was incantation on the grand finale set, the credit has to be shared with the fabulousness created by set guru Mahesh Sharma, who worked with Jaipur artisans to put together, a collage of 200 puppets (going up to a height of above 18 feet, hand cut in glass frames) dressed in fabrics sourced from the four corners of India. Some swatches came from Beneras, others from South India, imaginative brocades to Lucknowi chikankari and Gujarat’s block prints, everything found a place on the display board.
It was a fitting tribute to 25th season of the India Fashion Week, with the same number of style gurus creating a splash with red, orange and pink, on the final day of the style spectacle. The set had to be pristine white, envisioned by Mahesh, a maverick, who quiet demeanour belies the creativity that subtly resides beneath, to give the colour a chance to communicate.
What was awe-inspiring was the theme “25” that was given an artistic rendition, from the 25 steps on stage inspired by ancient bawris (wells), where the model brigade could pout, or the white canvas upholstery that brought out the robust catwalk colour scheme, or even the mirror work mosaic created to reflect the heady creations, it displayed Mahesh’s mastery over concepts; after all, it is his 13th grand finale, so he is not new to the challenge it poses. “I must also compliment the light designer who used the most dexterous imaging techniques for the celebratory mood,” says Mahesh.
From Manish Malhotra, JJ Valaya, Manish Arora to Monisha Jaising and Suneet Varma, the catwalk was awash with the brightest hues of a warm ending celebrating the spirit of crafts. That’s why Namrata Joshipura’s ode to brocade in a jumpsuit avatar won the crown, along with the painstakingly embroidered tunic by Anamika Khanna, her characteristic dhoti pants and natty bustier, three signatures by Kolkata’s pride.
Some believe in fashion with a soul, so they collaborated with NGOs to tell a story, Rina Dhaka did it with Phulkari, and Arvind Khanna’s Umeed, which gives employment and provides healthcare to the marginalised. The women of the NGO, worked on the design specifics that Rina gave to create her sheer shirts with an embroidered waistband. On the other hand, were Sabyasachi Mukherjee’s florals, for men, as endearing as Manish Malhotra’s white blossoms, on his pink lehengas worn with cropped cholis.
Anju Modi’s ongoing love affair with white, the most courted hue of the season, came with lace trimmed skirts, foil printing and an adroitly embroidered Radha-Krishna. Mumbai’s individualist Monisha wooed cropped jackets with shorts, while the lovely Aneeth Arora dressed in a sari, wearing a winning smile, send down models in polka dotted wool jackets.
Rahul Mishra’s hexagon blouse worn with a sheer panelled pencil skirt was as beguiling as Ashish Soni’s pant-suit which came armed with an exaggerated bow. Manish Arora’s ‘Indian’ was characteristic with the disco ball golden, sequinned churidar, pink anarkalis and super powered by naaths. There were no ‘insta’(gram) moments here, just memories that were laced with uninhibited love for techni-colour dreams.