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Glamour and glitter

Bangalore designer Deepika Govind is all set to create some dramatic moments at the Lakme India Fashion Week

India is all over the world in fashion. Even Armani did a collection inspired by IndiaDEEPIKA GOVIND

STYLE STATEMENT : Deepika Govind's collection, Layers Within, is all about the crossover look Photo: Bhagya Prakash K.

Passionate plums, midnight blues, smoky blues, aubergines, twilight pinks, teals — royal coloured fabric to riot with. Add to them a tech-edge giving it a wet and cool feel, the aroma of rosewood or pine. Make it into a trench coat matched with a chudidar. Or a jacket paired with a layered hitch skirt. Deepika Govind's definitely going to make some theatrical statements on the ramps at the Lakme India Fashion Week 2005 that takes off on April 20.

The 30-year-old Bangalore designer who'll be at LIFW the fifth consecutive year, knows the worth of a trade show all swathed in glamour. (She's the only one from Bangalore this year too, and says she can't risk staying local.)

Layers within

While critics are pooh-poohing LIFW as a business misadventure with huge doses of razzmatazz, Deepika says the surface of fashion has to be all glamour and glimmer. "That's what makes you buy. Fashion has to have that magnet or it won't have that magic to it. Last year's show was the most satisfactory in being business-oriented." She admits though, that the show is doing only an atom of what it should be, but the beginning's welcome.

Deepika's theme for this year's collection may be a bit too deep for many. "It's called Layers Within. It's based on contradictions that lurk within us, with each layer conflicting the other in thought and ideology in that struggle for individuality."

Wow! And to think we assumed fashionable clothes were just, well, tailored.

So while the clothes are in layers, no, they don't give that volume effect that a fluffy childhood frock might remind you of. It's all clean-cut and sleek with some fabrics draping fluidly on the body. Deepika's done a whole range of Jodhpur pants, Dongri chudidars, Patialas, and normal salwars with short tops and layered hitch skirts. "The entire collection is woven and I've played a lot with ikats and coarse weaves. It's now the crossover look, not clearly Western, but with Indian craft on Western silhouettes."

Washes and finishes

World over, the fashionable world is concentrating on washes and finishes and Deepika is making sure she's giving her clothes that technology edge. And silk development is her forte. Blending silk with modal (natural bark fibre), she's created a more supple fabric that drapes better.

Keeping in mind Indian weather conditions and the Indian penchant for silk, she's given anti-bacterial finishes to her clothes with aromas such as sandalwood and rose to give it that sensuous feel. "On silks we've done moisture control, a revolutionary concept in silk," says Deepika. She's also blended lycra with silk for the dressy evening wear. Some of her clothes are in tweed, offset with the crumpled silk look or a sensuous one. She's also done a bit of embroidery for this collection.

With the textile and fashion industry opening the floodgates for possible FDI, Deepika says it's only a matter of time before foreign buyers come into the scene, forcing Indians to become professionals. "We are already feeling the heat. Western prêt lines are very difficult to compete with in terms of pricing, latest trends and distribution. They're very `in' with everything," she says, and adds rather dramatically: "They may come here and do salwar kurtas better than we do."

Hazards of kitsch

Internationally, designers still need to understand contemporary India and stop bringing out collections based purely on kitsch, she says. "India is all over the world in fashion. Even Armani did a Spring 2005 collection inspired by India. So when we show abroad, we are forced to retain some sense of the Indian identity."

So what made her do trench coats with chudidars? "That's what I truly believe in. I really want to wear trench coats with chudidars. I swear."

Fashionistas, watch out for her at LIFW.


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