NEW RULERS OF THE RAMP

Young de­sign­ers are tak­ing the In­dian legacy for­ward with a con­tem­po­rary spin

India Today - - FASHION SPECIAL - By Prachi Bhuchar

There’s a quiet meta­mor­pho­sis that’s been shak­ing the roots of In­dian fash­ion over the last few years. While once a small clutch of snob­bish de­sign­ers ruled the run­way and catered to ex­clu­sive cus­tomers in their pricey bou­tiques, the chang­ing tide has seen the emer­gence of a new class of hautestep­pers who are not afraid of bend­ing the rules. Many of them keep draw­ing in­spi­ra­tion from the ‘orig­i­nals’ but re­alise that to sur­vive, they must shrug off tried and tested for­mu­las.

Many fash­ion vet­er­ans have given th­ese ris­ing stars their first break. While there is no deny­ing that de­sign­ers like Tarun Tahil­iani, Man­ish Malhotra and Ritu Ku­mar, among oth­ers, gave shape and con­text to In­dian fash­ion, they were also a prod­uct of their time; a time when there was min­i­mal com­pe­ti­tion and fash­ion-con­scious In­di­ans few and far. If Man­ish Arora once be­came cre­ative head for top in­ter­na­tional brand Paco Ra­banne and put In­dia on the global map, a young de­signer, Aneeth Arora, with her brand Pero, has taken the legacy for­ward by de­sign­ing for Kate Hud­son and Mira Nair’s cast and crew in The Re­luc­tant Fun­da­men­tal­ist. Deeply rooted in In­dian tra­di­tion, hand­looms and weaves, not one but two top de­sign­ers—Ro­hit Bal and Sabyasachi Mukher­jee—claim she is a de­sign force to reckon with.

Ta­lented de­signer Rahul Mishra be­lieves in keep­ing a low pro­file and like Arora, In­dia’s hand­loom her­itage is the rich ta­pes­try that he draws on to cre­ate his ex­quis­ite la­bel. Cou­ture king J.J. Valaya feels Mishra is some­one to watch out for as he draws on the best of In­dian aes­thet­ics.

There are oth­ers like Nida Mah­mood who has bagged the queen of kitsch la­bel and got the thumbs up from de­signer Raghavendra Rathore. What makes her spe­cial? Her funky aes­thetic, in­spired from the rich, tex­tured state of Ra­jasthan, has at­tracted big stars such as Lady Gaga who loved her ‘Jadugaar’ dress.

So what’s hot with th­ese ris­ing stars? Gau­rav Jai Gupta’s lat­est col­lec­tion draws on In­dian tex­tiles and gives them a con­tem­po­rary spin by us­ing clean cuts in fab­rics. Rahul Mishra’s col­lec­tion at the Wills In­dia Fash­ion Week brings jam­da­nis and kutchi band­hi­nis back to the fore. Me­tal­lic and sil­ver are in, while crop tops and ac­cent neck pieces were spot­ted more than once on the run­way.

As we toast the sea­son’s look, the finest from In­dia’s de­sign fra­ter­nity do some trendspotting and shift the fo­cus on tal­ent that is redefin­ing In­dia’s fash­ion fu­ture.

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