One of the most-awaited fashion events of the year, the Lakmé Fashion Week (LFW) is back with its Summer/Resort 2018 edition. The event will be hosted in Mumbai’s Jio Garden from 31 January to 4 February. The five-day fashion extravaganza will showcase some of the best work done in recent months by high-end labels and renowned designers from the world over.

The opening day of the LFW will start with the 25th batch of gen-next designers revealing their designs. The first day will also have ace designers like Urvashi Kaur, Naushad Ali and Ritu Kumar among others showcasing their collection.

Celebrated designer Anita Dongre, who will be the closing act of Day-I of the show, spoke to Guardian 20 about her spring/summer collection. “Songs of Summer,” she said, “ is my SS’18 collection. It is a celebration of a wedding ideally set in a forest or a beautiful garden blooming with summer flowers. Summer is the time to wear easy, breezy silhouettes; nothing that would bog you down even if you are the bride or attending a friend’s wedding. In this collection, rich and luxurious handcrafts and printed stories of love entwine together for a magical summer wedding.”

With this collection, the designer is reintroducing the 1950s-inspired pleated midi skirts, jumpsuits, wrap tops, long line jackets, tunics and crop tops with light hand embroidery, zardosi and gottapatti details. “In this collection, you can find wrap tops, sheer skirts, loose palazzo pants,      classic lehengas and draped saris in cool fabrics like modal, light weight handwoven silks and cottons in Benares with customised flower motifs. The collection is a mix of traditional and contemporary styles for a bride who is resplendent, confident and radiant—the woman of today. You will also find light hand embroidery in beautiful pastels,” Dongre added.

She also talked about the emphasis on using sustainable and eco-friendly fabric for this edition. Dongre explained, “For a while now, the LFW has been focusing on the significance of sustainability in a larger sense. This season, I am closing the first day of the LFW at an off-site location in collaboration with R-Elan, who is launching a new age eco-friendly fabric.”

Another attraction at the LFW, like the previous years, will be the IMG Reliance and United Nations-India collaboration. The tie-up will present an action-oriented dialogue on the Northeast region, with “Catalyzing Sustainable Fashion” to be held on the second day of the LFW. The project focuses on conserving and promoting Indian handlooms and textiles. This season, the LFW will once again pay tribute to the rich heritage of Indian fabrics through specially curated shows, thought-provoking conversations, devoted workshops and path-breaking international collaborations.

Day-3 will see designer duo Falguni and Shane Peacock finally launch their first men’s line. About the collection, Falguni said, “The collection has been created keeping in mind millennials who hold the power right now. The collection has mixed relaxed suiting in light greys, pastel-pink infused disco sportswear suits, graphic silk bombers, ‘millennial pink’ deconstructed shell suits, conspicuous branding, intricate embroidery, sumptuous designs… The line is packed with a palette of pastel pinks and blues spliced with black brusied charcoal, leather jackets, tight trousers, high-shine pompadours, fur-collared jackets, epsom coats in cashmere, embroidered velvet slippers of course with a healthy dose of sparkle to appeal to a younger audience.”

‘Forza’ collection sketch by designer duo Saaksha and Kinni.

The fourth day of the event will start with Gujarat-based designer duo Saaksha and Kinni putting their collection “Forza” on display.

Saaksha talked about her collection with us and said, “This season, our starting point and inspiration of ‘Forza’ lies in the Indian state of Gujarat. We have taken the timeless classics—the kedia worn by the Kutch shepherds and angarkha worn by the regals; and reinvented them to reflect the modern woman and her personality. ‘Angarkha’—derived from the Sanskrit word angaraksaka—means protection of the body, and it ties in with our signature warrior theme (literally speaking our clothes being the psychological armour which protects the body), which this season we have adapted to reflect more of a global Indo-Western feel.”

Kinni shared her bit with us, and said, “Look closer and a bit of Gujarat will come alive for you in the form of the archetypical bandhani and batik intermingling with the dark florals that have always been our personal obsession. The contrast, without conflict runs in our colour palettes for the season too: lilacs, reds, purples and whites meeting our love for the blacks, maroons and mustards. Partly anthropological, partly fashion and   partly art, ‘Forza’ carries the heritage mirror work in the embroideries… Take this piece of rich history with our signature metal and thread work against darker embroideries, and you can see a nouveau Gujarat emerging.”

The fifth day will begin with shows featuring the label “Crow”, by the young designer Shaila Khubchandani. “Tahweave” by the Kolkata-based designer duo Sweta Tantia and Priyangsu Maji will also unveil their latest collection “Breathing Spaces”  on the last day of the fashion week.   

The line is inspired by free-flowing fabric and soothing colours. From overlayers to long flowy dresses in pastel colours like off-white, blue, and blush pink with minimal embroidery, the collection adds a layer of everyday chic on casual women’s wear.

About the collection, Sweta Tantia said, “‘Breathing Spaces’ signifies a breath of fresh air that refocuses the mind on the present moment. Combined with natural fabrics, it creates a space that is carefree, peaceful and enveloped in the serenity of the natural world.”

‘Bagru’ collection sketch  by designer Punit Balana.

Fashion lovers will also get to witness emerging designer Punit Balana’s collection “Bagru”, which he will be showcasing on the last day of the event. The collection comprises modern silhouettes engulfed in traditional “Bagru” printed fabrics. Each piece has an identity of its own, created by hand-printing technique. With its focus on traditional designs like the ’80s “kali” ghararas and classic saris with contemporary silhouettes like shirts and structured jackets, this collection aims to create a design idiom deeply rooted into Indian heritage and yet reflecting the spirit of the 21st century.

About his new line, Balana said, “I am showcasing my new collection ‘Bagru’ at the Lakmé Fashion Week. The art of creating vivid and intricate prints through the use of natural dyes and traditional techniques is essentially what ‘Bagru’ is about. This 400-year-old art of printing is a namesake of the town it originated in. Its relevance today exists in its eco-friendly technique. The dyes used in this process are natural and so are the processing agents.”

Renowned designer Anamika Khanna will take over the grand finale of the LFW with her idea of reinventing “nude colours”. Khanna, who is set to make a comeback to this platform, said, “It’s an absolute pleasure to be back at the Lakmé finale—a platform that gives us the opportunity to push boundaries and reinvent diversity…” 

The finale promises to bring the best of Khanna’s contemporary designs interspersed with the diverse skin-tones palette that Lakmé will be introducing this season. Seeped in the heritage of craft and texture, her collection will take an extremely modern approach to unorthodox fashion. Depicting a sense of freedom, the Lakmé grand finale stage is sure to witness a stunning fusion of traditional Indian aesthetics with edgy designs.

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