Mumbai: Lakme Fashion Week (LFW) Summer/Resort 2017 not only brought the spotlight on Indian handlooms like Khadi, muslin and cotton, which were beautifully blended with glamour and luxury, but also focussed on sustainable fashion like recycling of waste into finer goods. Apart from celebrity showstoppers, others who stood out were models like Anjali Lama, a transgender, and Petr Nitka, who is gender neutral.
The fashion extravaganza, which started on February 1, had a new venue -- the Reliance Jio Garden -- and saw a lot of designers with menswear lines.
"I think the scale at which we have done LFW this time is the largest. Having an open venue in the 16 years of history of LFW, is really pushing the boundary for fashion," Jaspreet Chandok, Head-Fashion, IMG Reliance Ltd, told IANS here on the sidelines of the grand finale on Sunday.
Talking about the models, Chandok said: "I think the story around inclusivity keeps getting bigger. This year we had a gender neutral model and a transgender model. We are really happy."
LFW's role as a launchpad for promoting young designers was visible on the opening day of the Summer/Resort edition when five new faces showcased their unique creations. Presented by INIFD, the Gen Next show witnessed designs that were an amalgamation of creativity, style and innovation.
Some of those who impressed with their creativity were Soumyadeep Dutta, Pot Plant by designer duo Resham Karmchandani and Sanya Suri, Nakita Singh, Poochki by Ishani Mukherjee and Anirudh Chawla and Pallavi Singh.
The first-day also saw a star-studded show, where designer Kunal Rawal presented his latest menswear range 'The Race of Seperates', which was attended by the young guns of Bollywood like Sonakshi Sinha, Arjun Kapoor and Varun Dhawan, who walked the ramp as a showstopper.
Over 90 designers showcased their collections at 40 plus shows at the event, which guaranteed attendees a dose of diversity, innovation and creativity.
The fashion event has been dedicating a day just to Indian textiles each year and day two of the event this time promoted sustainable fashion. The day started with a show titled 'Reincarnation', where six labels showcased accessories and clothes made out of recycled waste.
The highlight of this show was that the models ditched their towering heels and instead walked the ramp barefoot to show the collections. The second day also saw a collection by the Kutch artisans and a presentation by NGO Kranti by Mandeep Nagi, where the daughters of rescued girls from the red light districts showcased a presentation.
National Award winning actress Shabana Azmi, who was seen supporting the event, told IANS that the work done by the NGO is revolutionary.
"And also the fact that it has been chosen at the show here, which is a mainstream show, where we talk about the world of glitz and glamour and then we shine a light on those, who the society would treat as invisible," she added.
The day ended with a trendsetting show called Sustainable Man, showcasing sustainable fashion for men. The designers used Indigo as their core textile and worked with yarns from waste fabrics and plastic.
Veterans like Payal Singhal, Tarun Tahiliani, Narendra Kumar, Ritu Kumar, Kotwara, Anushree Reddy, Gaurang and Anita Dongre dominated the runway on days three, four and five. Their shows were not just about clothes, but were also a visual delight.
Singhal chose to deck up the runway with sparkles and retro chandeliers while Tahiliani, whose name has always been synonymous with bling, chose to decorate the ramp with beautiful mogra flowers.
Trends that stood out were layered looks, asymetrical lehengas, dresses, floor-sweeping anarkalis, flared pants, saris and bomber jackets.
The collections saw an abundance of luxury through the use of fabrics, weaves, work, prints, intricate work of embellishments and zardozi infused with handloom. The colour pallete that dominated the LFW runway varied from whites, ivories, indigo, gold to brighter hues of pinks, mustard and subtle pastels.
There was an abundance of Bollywood faces, who took to the ramp.
Celebrities like Kareena Kapoor Khan, Padma Lakshmi, Malaika Arora, Varun Dhawan, Sushmita Sen and many more were seen walking the catwalk for several designers.
The five-day fashion gala came to an end with a grand finale at the Bandra Fort, where Kareena walked the runway for Dongre's collection called 'Alchemy' inspired by Lakme's 'liquid gold' theme.
Kareena, who walked the ramp after 46 days of her delivering her son Taimur Ali Khan, glittered in gold as she sported an off-white gown paired with a gold embellished jacket.
The event was great for several buyers and designers too, says Chandok.
"It's been great. Everybody was worried about the demonetisation, but the fact that we have been able to scale up and provide a stronger interface between buyers and designers... I have actually heard very good things about how the interactions between the two went."
(The writer's visit is at the invitation of Lakme Fashion Week organisers. Durga Chakravarty can be contacted at email@example.com)