Suneet Varma turned to Tchaikovsky’s ballet for his Spring/Summer 2010 collection

Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky’s Swan Lake has influenced many across the spheres of literature, acrobatics, animation, music and, not in the least, ballet. This time, Suneet Varma’s Spring/Summer 2010 show for Fiama di Wills at the Wills Lifestyle India Fashion Week drew inspiration from the classic tale.

Varma used colour, transparency, ruffles and fluidity to adhere to the story of princess Odette, who is turned into a swan by the evil sorcerer Rothbart.

“Tchaikovsky’s Swan Lake is one of the greatest dance drama ballets of all times. As an ardent student of fashion history I felt a tribute to the ethereal love story through a fashion inspiration would be challenging and exciting,” said Varma.

A ballet dancer opened the show, while a few others kept alternating with the models, to keep the theme going. A white chord dress was soon followed by tulle dresses with transparent balloon sleeves, which could be worn as separates (like a bolero jacket), a fringed pink satin dress, and pink lace dresses with matching stockings.

The second sequence, in black, was in keeping with the evil Odile, who sets about to woo prince Siegfried. Sequinned black sheer sari gowns, brocade-bordered flared skirts and black wide-legged velvet trousers appeared here.

A happy mood sets in again with the last sequence, parallel to the defeat of Rothbart and triumph of Odette and Siegfried. Satin pleated tops in shades of peach, turquoise and ivory in degradé over gauze flared skirts, turquoise net saris with fluttering sequins and peach side-pleated dresses with quilted bodices came in here. There were a few swimsuits too, encased in net, embroidered wraps.

Amrita Rao, played showstopper, feather in hand and coy in a peach-and-silver sari.

“I’ve always wanted to do a play on Tchaikovsky’s characters. I had to tell each model ‘You’re a swan’. In fact, the music that played is the original score of the ballet, remixed by Gaurav Raina. The show is the result of a lot of people’s effort,” said Varma at the end of the show.

On the choice of Amrita, Varma said, “It’s the first time in 22 years that I’ve used a celebrity on my show, though I had the option of choosing anybody.”

“I’m not a model, I’m an actor. The good thing about Suneet is that he customises things. I’ve known him as a friend more than a designer. We met during an interview we did together, which was interestingly conducted by another friend, Manish Malhotra. Coming to Suneet’s show, I just told myself I’m walking in the park,” Amrita said.

Varma also created a buzz recently with his three-year tie-up with iconic luxury bag label Judith Leiber, where he has fused Indian motifs with classic Leiber shapes. He has so far created three styles – the Jodhpur Palace bag, Pietra Dura and Starburst. “The Jodhpur Palace bag is a favourite as the idea has been in my mind for some time,” Varma reveals.

In November first week, Varma opens a new store at The Palladium in Mumbai.

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