FASHION SHALINI SHAH gives a roundup of the recently concluded Wills Lifestyle India Fashion Week, Spring/ Summer 2012

S pring/ Summer collections are said to be what most Indian designers do and prefer. ‘Let's face it, we don't really have a long winter here' is the refrain when at the Fall/ Winter edition of fashion week we question someone's use of, say, mulmul leheriya. The Spring/ Summer 2012 edition of the Wills Lifestyle India Fashion Week (WIFW) concluded at Pragati Maidan, New Delhi, recently. Witnessing a continuation of the trends that one has been seeing the last few seasons, while many produced wearable — even beautiful — lines, a sense of déjà vu pervaded.

Floral was the essence in many collections. Anupamaa by Anupama Dayal's line, ‘Phool Bagaan', continued the designer's love for colour and print — giant camellias, magnolias, peonies and roses, instead of tiny repeat prints, coming in a palette of red, fuchsia, green and yellow.

Ant dress

Rimzim Dadu distilled the season's essence through a smart conceptual line that saw paper fused with fabric to create a unique texture— there were paper chord dresses, paper blazers, a paper top with bow detailing at the back. There were also potpourri dresses and skirts that looked like what one could wrap in muslin to scent a wardrobe. There was an “ant dress”, opaque on sheer giving it the effect of peeling plaster on a wall, with beaded ants along the length of the dress reinforcing the resemblance.

While Rahul Mishra played with “sheer simplicity” in his line, ‘Just Like a Dream', using flowers and ferns in the form of appliquéd and embroidered motifs, Nachiket Barve, showing ‘Lightness of Being', incorporated appliquéd dahlias, bougainvillea and anemones and embroidered dandelions.

In a standout show, Amit Aggarwal of Morphe, extended his exploration of shapes by bringing to clothes the inflated contours of the human form — bubble wrap-like, but stronger and sculptured. With layering and a focus on separates like moulded boleros and inflated jackets that came paired with organza dresses, tubular chiffon skirts and elastane mesh dresses, the designer sent out a bold line.

Moulded forms were the point of focus even in Alpana Neeraj's line. Last season the designers used faux wood to craft neck pieces and gilets, which they paired with more commerce-friendly chiffon dresses. Taking off from there, this time white, bolted skeleton-esque separates accompanied plain jersey and chiffon dresses, with the collection slowly coming in to its own with transparent moulded forms that sheathed the models like shapely glass cocoons.

Show-wise, Wendell Rodricks' moonlight beach party-themed collection, with the beach in the backdrop, shiny disco balls dangling from the ceiling, and live entertainment, was much applauded. The clothes were classic Wendell — asymmetrical beach dresses, linen shirt dresses, silk gowns… the works.

James Ferreira, after a signature draped line earlier this year, this time in his collection ‘Khadi Inc' presented a covetable line of khadi saris and dresses, before slipping into familiar territory with silk dresses.

Ikat continued to be source of fascination for many, making an appearance in the shows of Charu Parashar (where it was used as a print pattern), péro by Aneeth Arora, and Rajesh Pratap Singh.

After making ajrakh textiles the base of her previous, well-received collection, Aneeth Arora this time used gara embroidery, ikat and crochet as the main elements of a line that combined white with a lot of summer colour. Gara embroidery came on jacket collars, khadi trousers, gingham checks trousers and on a gamcha dress, while crochet characterised jackets and ganjis (vests). Silhouette-wise, the layered look also saw trapeze dresses, shifts, shirts, petticoat skirts and jumpsuits.

The peplum, which is emerging as Spring/ Summer 2012's most noticeable trend, was here seen in the shows of Nachiket Barve, Gauri Nainika, Amit Aggarwal, Namrata Joshipura and Label by Ritu Kumar. In a collection that took inspiration from post-World War II austerity that did away with surface embellishment, Gauri & Nainika's collection saw slim dresses, jumpsuits, skirts and long gowns, with the peplum coming on a pencil dress, halter-neck gown and utility suit. Peplum tops figured in the collection ‘Digital Romance' by Label. (The line also saw electronic chips and motherboards translating into prints on silk dresses.) Multi-layered peplums figured in Atsu Sekhose's collection.