It was a mixed bag of veterans and upcoming talent

It was past ten in the night on Day Two of CIFW. But the venue was packed with an excited audience and maybe weary stilettos. The label about to be showcased was MonaPali, celebrated designer-duo in India. The day that wound up with applause for the veterans also gave a much-needed platform for some upcoming talent.

First in the run-up was Priyanka Bansal giving everyone some clothes for thought with Junky Shrunky. Most of the materials used in this collection either came out of people's closets or charity shops. The vibrant appliqué work, the zaris and the unusual patches of crochet were all deconstructions of used salwars and suits, or as she likes to put it, ‘Recycled apparel'. She dressed her women in everything ranging from layered gowns to netted saris. The cuts were clean and the colours came alive. If you buy her idea, then it's all about, ‘re-wearing'.

With a title like Byzantine Death, the next designer, Abhishek Kocchar had already captured the crowd's imagination. A death in the family was the genesis for this clothes line. The colour black and the suede used reflected the soul's grief over severing its earthly ties, while the gold lining is the vibrancy the soul attains on being one step closer to its Creator. The most dominant material however is the organza — stiff enough to enable the soul to break barriers of deterring thoughts, and yet flexible enough to allow for the passage of emotions.

After the soul-searching and Gothic colours, Lakshmi Jagmohan brought the colours and the men on to the ramp. With the peacock and Ganesha leaving her Enchanted, most of the clothes were in the varying shades of the peacock. She also launched her menswear collection with a line-up of sherwanis. The Xylo Happy Legs Show was quick and quirky featuring party wear and accessories from Karma, Lime and Vodka and Unique.

The grand finale for the evening was provided by the much-loved MonaPali. Their basic understanding that, “There are women everywhere and that all women like to dress up,” is the reason why they chose to come to Chennai.

Renowned for their signature hand-painting and the use of typically Indian prints, the duo brought to the ramp at CIFW a collection of clothes that played with cordwork, beadwork and some intricate embroidery.

Starting their range of clothes with the simpler kaftans and travel wear, MonaPali layered their collection with dresses, saris and lehengas that delivered on the promise for ethnic beauty.

On opening shop in Chennai, Mona Lamba, exclaimed, “why not?” On just Chennai, she said, “I can really relate to places such as Chennai which strive to keep their heritage intact.”