Observed from a distance, the audience at this year's Gitanjali Lifestyle Chennai International Fashion Week represented the microcosm of Chennai's evolving identity as a fashion destination — the inevitable pattu sari-malli poo combine walking beside long legs in designer jeans and red pumps. Attended by the curious and the knowing patron, it was housefull at the Ambassador Pallava till late into the night recently.

With names such as Mona Pali and James Ferreira for the opening night, the fashion week seemed to have spiked the crowd's interest. Here for their second show in the city, the designer duo Mona Pali possessed the stage with the latest makeover to simplicity. Inspired by jewellery from across the country, their designs were all about layering outfits with broad adaptations of the neck piece, waist bands and the cape. The anarkalis, saris and lehengas came in shades such as beige, pink and grey. The high points were the accompanying jewellery with heavy embellishments in Nizam and Giantti styles. Coupled with a straight-backed majestic gait, the effect was one of stark contrast.

All about comfort

James Ferreira's collection was all about the comfort of free-flowing fabrics, sans the embroidery. Eastern comfort fused into western silhouettes, the outfits were all with a single seam, giving them the character of drapes. The palette was solid with the likes of navy blue and yellow, interspersed with psychedelic patterns in black, white and grey.

Bringing club wear into the equation was the Lawman Pg3 Show the following day, with a range of shirts, denims, cotton trousers and jackets.

Jaipur-based designer Aruna Singh was inspired by the Pushkar mela, and her clothes reflected the Rajput way of life. Silks, georgettes and chiffons blended with the traditional reds, pinks and turquoises, amplifying ethnicity.

Drawing inspiration from the 18th Century Indian royalty, elements of Victorian dressing and ancient heirlooms were the highlights of designer Archana Kochhar's collection. The Nizam and Giantti jewellery completed the look.

Anuradha Bisani had effortlessly tailored traditional styles to meet the demands of the modern woman. Using festivals as the base, her saris, ghagras and salwar suits reflected the colour and richness we associate with festivities and celebration. Parineeta and Nizam jewellery were used in the collection.