18 designers give a glimpse inside FDCI x Lakme Fashion Week

The recently concluded FDCI x Lakme Fashion Week held in Delhi was the first physical showcase of its kind in two years.
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Just as people await nature’s changing seasons, fashionistas await the arrival of seasonal fashion weeks. However, none of its previous iterations was as highly anticipated as was the recently concluded FDCI x Lakme Fashion Week 2022, which took place in March at Delhi’s Dhyanchand National Stadium.

Why, you ask? It was the first physical fashion week after two years of digital showcases. It was also the first time in 17 years that former allies turned bitter enemies – the Fashion Design Council of India (FDCI) and beauty behemoth Lakme – put aside their differences and reclaimed the stage for a single fashion week to represent designers across the country.

With 42 shows spread across six days, a bevy of gorgeous models, numerous Bollywood stars, and a truckload of social media influencers present in all their glory, both on and off the ramp; the FDCI x Lakme Fashion Week 2022 was memorable for many reasons. Just hear it from the designers themselves in these 18 quotes:

Rajdeep Ranawat at FDCI x Lakme Fashion Week

Varun Bahl

This Delhi-based designer presented his selection of royalty-inspired bridal and festive outfits, in a collection he termed ‘Quintessential’.

On the occasion, he said, “Today’s brides lean towards experimental, minimal and out-of-the-box looks. Sustainability has become a big aspect of couture, especially after the pandemic, which we also highlighted through our upcycled embroidery.”

Shantnu and Nikhil

A brand known for its sleek cuts and westernised sensibilities, Shantnu & Nikhil took a departure from its usual offerings with its futuristic nature-inspired collection. Heavy on fringe, tassels, and cut-outs, the collection represented the gender fluidity of garments.

“Our collection was inspired by nature and streetwear, which has become a global culture in recent years. The use of hip hop music for our show also reflected this vibe,” share the designers.

JJ Valaya

Completing 30 years in the business, JJ Valaya launched his bridge-to-luxury brand called JJV at the FDCI x Lakme Fashion Week. The regal line of clothing was inspired by the travels of Maharaja Jagatjit Singh of Kapurthala and was made using a modern and eco-friendly fabric known as Tencel Luxe that ensured lightness while maintaining lustre and a luxe feel.

He shared, “JJV retains the distinct signature of the JJ Valaya ethos yet is a modern label for travellers who like to be prepared for celebrations wherever they may go. Fashion shows are always stressful but the euphoria they bring, is completely worth it!”

JJ Valaya at FDCI x Lakme Fashion Week

Payal Pratap

The designer spent part of her childhood in Indonesia, and the Batik techniques and vibrant prints in muted colours from that part of the world, heavily inspired this collection called ‘Java’.

“A woman must feel empowered, and her clothes should reflect that. I hope people who buy my clothes believe in themselves and feel good about themselves wearing them,” smiled the designer.

Satya Paul by Rajesh Pratap Singh

When minimalist designer Rajesh Pratap Singh took the reins of kitschy fashion label Satya Paul, it seemed an unlikely alliance. Yet, Singh has managed to stay true to the essence of the Satya Paul label while adding his own clear-cut sensibilities to the mix. This marriage of creative mindsets was aptly reflected in the collection showcased at FDCI x Lakme Fashion Week 2022.

“Our ‘New Order’ collection spells Evening with a capital E. We are out and about again, and the smart, sustainable fabrics provided by R|Elan give flight to our flow,” explained Singh.

Eshaa Amiin

This young designer from Mumbai displayed a collection of vibrant patterns and prints. By focusing on athleisure that had a strong feminine vibe, her clothes would certainly appeal to a Gen-Z mindset.

She said, “We don’t want to equate the idea of dressing up with ‘trying too hard’. In order to make a statement, we must feel comfortable. I believe comfort is a very vital part of dressing up.”

Huemn

A brand that has carved its own niche in streetwear, Huemn’s selection of interesting prints highlighting human faces really stood out, as did their graffiti dresses and outfits.

“One of the women wore a lungi, which is a garment worn on the streets of India for decades. We wanted to make the product more relevant by representing our own land,” highlighted Pranav Mishra and Shyma Shetty, the designer duo helming this brand.

Models walking for Varun Bahl at FDCI x Lakme Fashion Week

Ashish N Soni

Celebrating 30 years of his eponymous label, designer Ashish Soni showed a collection replete with prints and bright colour-blocking. The stark lines were evident in the clothes as well as on the ramp, to which the designer said,

“These lines represent the games that COVID-19 has been playing with us – a kind of start-stop element, which hopefully we’re getting out of now!”

Rimzim Dadu

Entitled ‘A Sea of Million Stories’, the designer’s collection was based on voluminous structural drapes.

She said, “The idea was to celebrate love in all its forms. This was particularly important given what we have gone through in the past two years. Our curated lives on social media drown out the real us. A Sea of Million Stories was an opportunity to take a pause, breathe and connect with people and their stories from around the world. The show temporarily disconnected people from their realities and allowed them time to immerse, learn and be inspired by others.”

Manish Malhotra

Known for dressing the A-listers of Bollywood, Manish Malhotra’s latest collection was heavy on sequins and cut-outs. Even his streetwear was blingy!

He said, “I’ve spent 32 years at movies, and 16 years in couture. My outfits are therefore inspired by these two aspects of my life. I was also inspired by my two young muses who represent Gen-Z – Siddhant Chaturvedi and Shanaya Kapoor.”

Showstoppers Siddhant Chaturvedi and Shanaya Kapoor for Manish Malhotra at FDCI x Lakme Fashion Week

Ranna Gill

The designer’s bohemian, flowy outfits were inspired by Marrakech in Morocco and were steeped in thread embroidery and subtle prints to represent that part of the world.

“I was inspired by the idea of girls travelling - everyone wants to travel now. Threadwork and prints are evergreen, and I use them in many of my collections,” she shared.

Ananya Modi Jain x NBA 75

On the occasion of the National Basketball Association (NBA) turning 75, it ran a contest searching for the best streetwear designer who would capture the ethos of basketball in their clothes. Ananya Modi Jain was picked as the winner and her athleisure designs were showcased at FDCI x Lakme Fashion Week.

“I’ve played basketball in school myself, hence I’m familiar with the game. I divided the clothes in terms of concepts. The entire collection shows the iconic elements of basketball and reflects the game’s evolution over the years,” she said.

Pankaj and Nidhi

Their vibrant selection of clothes called Marbella, after the city of the same name, was heavy on vacay-ready prints and sequins for dressier evening events.

“Though we did not consciously use bright colours as an antidote to the pandemic, subconsciously perhaps this seeped in. All our collections follow the theme of travel but every time they are packaged afresh. We always have a new story to tell,” they said.

Suneet Varma

True to his signature style, designer Suneet Varma’s primarily red and black collection aimed to be sexy yet wearable.

He said, “I would describe it as breezy, modern, young, trendy, urban. It had to stay within the Suneet Varma style, which is sexy not bohemian.”

Satya Payl by Rajesh Pratap Singh at FDCI x Lakme Fashion Week

Shivan and Narresh

The designer duo created a ‘Fresconian’ collection inspired by the colourful frescoes they came across on the walls of Marwari Havelis, which they felt were very contemporary.

They say, “We enjoy creating specific characters for our designs, and we enjoy creating them in different settings. All this shows you the various possibilities of our clothes.”

Siddarth Tytler

In what was truly a gender-fluid showcase, the designer displayed a variety of cuts and silhouettes ranging from flouncy gowns, clingy sequinned dresses to thread work and netting.

“Putting this collection together was so much fun. It was hectic, yet fresh and fantastic. A lot of research and development went into putting these looks together, and we have experimented with plenty of styles,” shared Tytler.

Pawan Sachdeva

This exclusive menswear line pushed the boundaries with its choice of fabrics and vibrant colours, yet also remained subtle and classic in its cuts and silhouettes.

“Style is comfort. When you’re relaxed, it shows in your clothes and your gait,” explained Sachdeva.

Falguni and Shane Peacock

Rounding off the FDCI x Lakme Fashion Week was a futuristic grand finale by designer duo Falguni & Shane Peacock titled ‘Earth Bound’. The collection was high on sequins and drama in equal measure.

“We took inspiration for this collection from Lakme’s new line of eye pencils – specifically, their gloss, shine, and texture. We wanted to express the idea of ‘shining from another galaxy’. We also named it Earth Bound as a way to signify that we are all returning to normalcy after the pandemic,” they signed off.

Edited by Kanishk Singh

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