PREVIEW The Spring/ Summer 2013 edition of the Wills Lifestyle India Fashion Week kicks off this Saturday

For fashion here, Spring/ Summer is, more often than not, a harbinger of cheer, the season being a willing canvas for the textiles, dying techniques, prints and embellishments that most of our designers specialise in. (The tailoring specialists might conform to another view, though.) On October 6, the 20{+t}{+h}edition of the Wills Lifestyle India Fashion Week (WIFW) will begin at Pragati Maidan in New Delhi. The Spring/ Summer 2013 edition of the Week will see a total of 63 labels showing on the ramp, with the stall-only and accessory designers combining with the runway designers to take it to 132.

While maintaining the average seven-shows-a-day schedule, the days’ first shows — to the relief of the participating designers as well as buyers and media persons — have been pushed back to 2 p.m. (barring day one, when it starts at 3 p.m.) from the earlier noon slots. As Sunil Sethi, president, FDCI (Fashion Design Council of India), explains, “We felt we were being a bit unfair to the younger designers, as a lot of people find it difficult to come that early; the designers were missing out on buyers as well as media coverage, especially on Saturdays and Sundays.” A quicker turnaround time this time, he explains, has been managed to ensure the number of shows per day is not altered.

Also, the five-designer slot for new designers, ‘Hi-5’, has been done away with to make way for four-designer shows — in Sethi’s words, “Hi-4”, if you may.

Taramati’s legend

Hyderabad-based Anand Kabra, who along with Delhi’s Payal Pratap opens the event on October 6, for his collection turns to the legend of Deccan courtesan Taramati and the story of her romance with Golconda Sultan Qutub Shah. While Taramati’s “moods throughout the day, her expectations, disappointments and final moment of happiness in the evening” will translate into a strong Western line leading into more Indian silhouettes, the tiles of the Falaknuma Palace form the basis of a new print that’s been developed. Surface treatments include beading tied with zardozi and cutwork.

Atsu Sekhose goes back to his roots this time. A show organised jointly with the Ministry of Textiles, Atsu’s is a combination of American sportswear silhouette and textiles from the North East.

Aneeth Arora of péro, drawing inspiration from the sight of men coming out of mosques — white kurtas, chequered scarves, etc. — incorporates bleeding Madras checks in her two-designer show with Vineet Bahl.

Prints form the core in quite a few lines. Ashish N. Soni takes a cue from cytology. How cells appear under the microscope, he explains, forms the basis of a “print-heavy” line. “I’ve explored the print from the one-dimensional, 2D and digital perspective,” he says. Known for solids, Soni calls the recourse to prints an “evolution.”

Dev r Nil, known for turning Che, autorickshaws and sunglasses into batik prints, a little vaguely turn to “heartbreak” for Spring/ Summer 2013. “There are elements of simplicity, sadness, yet fun,” says Nil on the phone from Kolkata. More simply, print motifs include broken wires, fingerprints, “baa baa black sheep” and graphic roses. Batik, surprisingly, will take a backseat. “We’ve been doing batik on and off for the last six seasons. So here we’ve used it just for relief,” Nil explains. ‘Sapna Cinema’ is Nida Mahmood’s collection, which she explains as “psychedelic dreams in technicolour cinemascope.”

After putting beaded black ants and peeling plaster effects on clothes last season, texture player Rimzim Dadu will present her take on florals, read 3D flowers, new techniques that recreate the marble effect on fabric, new weaves. Ranna Gill, while showing her signature jersey dresses, turns to embroidered sequins and detachable accessories in bird, animal and floral motifs. One person who wouldn’t be having any flowers in her line, is Anupama Dayal (“not a flower in sight,” say the collection notes), who in her line “The Nile and Kalinga” melds Egyptian influences with the ikkat of Sambalpur, Odisha. Samant Chauhan will present an “extension” of the Rajputana line that he presented last Spring/ Summer, drawing from the concepts of “paushak” and its multiple panels.

Swimwear specialists Shivan & Narresh, making their WIFW ramp debut, derive ideas from the work of abstract expressionist Barnett Newman. Their collection, ‘Zip’ (named after the thin vertical lines that separate the fields of colour in the artist’s works), in designer Narresh Kukreja’s words, will thus have hand-painted linens forming the base. (They have Facebook posts of the lines being painted on fabric.) Talking of artists, the women in Henri Matisse’s paintings, with their semi-structured Romanian peasant blouses, form the point of reference for Kavita Bhartia’s collection, ‘Folklore Saga’. May we live in interesting times!


Anand Kabra’s collection draws from the legend of courtesan Taramati and the story of her romance with Golconda Sultan Qutub Shah.