What's it like to be selected for the finale of the Lakme Fashion Week? Gauri and Nainika Karan talk about the upcoming pageant

Whether or not you live the life that demands a Gauri & Nainika Karan creation, their work is a delight to the eyes. The design duo, that has Bollywood celebrities Bipasha Basu and Deepika Padukone endorsing their floaty frocks and body-skimming gowns, is set for a fantasy trip at the upcoming Lakme Fashion Week Summer-Resort 2011.

Selected for the grand finale of the pageant on March 15 in Mumbai, the Karan sisters will present “Fantasy Collection”, a signature mix of sensuality and sophistication. “Our theme goes with Lakme's exploration of a dreamy palette and grown-up glamour through its new range of cosmetics. Fantasy has been the quintessence of the G & N label since its launch many seasons ago. The journey continues…” Apparently, the youngsters, who launched themselves in the fashion scene with their Scott Joplin-inspired “Magnetic Rag” label in 2002, beat high-profile contenders to make it to the top-billed closing ceremony.

Drawing on the rich romance of Hollywood movies, the G & N label combines colour and styling with confidence to create feminine silhouettes. Their Hollywood hangover comes through in this line too. “When you think fantasy, there simply is no boundary. The word threw up immense possibilities. We've played with colour and cut, keeping G & N's signature red carpet glamour intact. Softly constructed, the silhouettes seem effortless. Combinations that might sound odd have been perfectly matched! Summer is the season of hues, the palette can't be anaemic,” say the two.

The siblings, who have stuck to their vintage Hollywood aesthetic, add, “We grew up watching the classics, thanks to our mom. So we are greatly influenced by the likes of Audrey Hepburn, Grace Kelly and Isadora Duncan. Fairy tales, European fashion history, music, theatre and our mom's photographs are other major influences. The Fantasy Collection has a modern-day princess appeal to it… something we love and relate to.”

Fashion, their calling

Though Gauri is an MBA and Nainika graduated in Economics, the siblings felt fashion was their calling. So Nainika enrolled in the National Institute of Fashion Technology. Gauri learnt the nitty-gritty on the job. “We never thought we'd end up together in the same career! But our creative partnership has been so satisfying. It's been a lot of fun; it's relatively less stressful to have your sister as your partner. Gauri plays the piano very well. That's why our initial pret line had the Magnetic Rag label,” says Nainika.

Talk about their celebrity clientele and a possible entry into costume-making for films, and the duo gushes, “The turning point was 2004. The day we showed at Lakme Fashion Week, our collection grabbed many eyeballs. Glamour is the core of our designs, so we guess it works well with Bollywood stars. Besides, gowns have been a staple in our works. They are perfect for red carpet moments. But despite a good number of our label loyalists from the film world, we haven't thought about getting into films. Costumes are not on our minds because we have a burgeoning retail business to attend to.”

Having made confident strides, the duo is unfazed by competition from foreign brands entering the Indian market in a big way. “Yes, our sensibility is Western, but it works well to have new names come in, because people will become more open to the aesthetic. Also, when we compare, Indian labels are far more competitively priced. Our cut, finish and workmanship are on a par with the Western brands. Healthy competition keeps us going…”

LASTING IMPRESSION

Here's a quick recap of some of the Lakme Fashion Week finale lines in the recent past…

GYPSY GIRL Malani Ramani quirky sensibility came through in this line. The bohemian and free-spirited designer drew references from her travels for this finale that was famous for it's theatrics. Remember Diandra Soares walking the ramp in an unusual tie-and-dye number?

TROPICAL ISLAND Wendell Roderick's, the master of minimalism went overboard with colour to celebrate the energy and freshness of sun-kissed beaches. Now, who can forget a bird-like Jesse Randhawa cheerily showcasing a satin dress with never-ending georgette ribbons?

BRIDAL SUTRA Sabyasachi Mukherjee's Bharjatya-style wedding scene. Complete with mogras and lamps, the venue was transformed into a mandap and models displayed clothes that smacked of tradition and dripped with detail.

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