All About India at LFW: Behind The Seen

All About India at LFW: Behind The Seen

Representative collections by six fashion labels flagged off a collaboration between IMG Reliance and Creative Dignity. Six reasons why it mattered

The first of the two days devoted to sustainable fashion at Lakmé Fashion Week’s ongoing virtual, season fluid edition included a group show called ‘All About India’. Signifying the commencement of IMG Reliance’s collaboration with Creative Dignity, a recent volunteer movement spread across the country for relief, rehabilitation and rejuvenation of crafts and craftspersons, it included representative collections from six fashion labels. Payal Khandwala, Satya Paul by Rajesh Pratap Singh, Suket Dhir, Anavila Misra, Urvashi Kaur and Abraham & Thakore.

Six reasons why it stood out.

Contrast Context: The juxtaposition of multiple, uniquely different subjects together in one frame is not new in fashion photography or art. Yet, every time a “shoot location” in disarray, with a chair upside down, a chipped windowsill, a pigeon flying from its perch into the face of a model is placed in contrast with fine fashion, it evokes a certain response. It symbolises differences and warms us up to extremes. Given the pandemic restrictions, LFW’s ‘All About India’ show may have made the most of an unused lobby, a back alley, or moss kissed terrace of St Regis Hotel in Mumbai (where the fashion film was shot inside a bio bubble). Yet this “make do and mend” photographic context added a dash of the moment India and the world is presently caught in. Rumpled, un-caressed, imperfect backdrop of life that offers exciting and evocative fashion against the greys. A lobby in disarray (for Payal Khandwala and Urvashi Kaur) wasn’t the only such context…there were snapshots from the now deserted coffee shop at St Regis (for Suket Dhir), the underground parking at the adjacent Palladium mall (for Anavila), a hotel staircase leading down from one of its top floor restaurants (for Satya Paul).


Models in Urvashi Kaur creations.

Textile Times: Payal Khandwala’s dressy, Phulia Jamdani saris in block colours with sprigs of silver flowers on them with woven blouses with an edge of contrasting hue took us back to Khandwala’s painterly fashion. Tall silver kadas on the arms of the models, gold slip-ons on their feet. Very India Modern. Rajesh Pratap’s saris for Satya Paul (Puttapakka Ikkats from Telangana) had the stark, matter of fact appeal that stems from stoic design confidence. A sync between age old craftsmanship and contemporary intervention. On the other hand, with embroidered blouses, gold edged saris including one in vermillion red and ready-to-wear that defied size and season, (linen and khatwa from Dumka, Jharkhand), Anavila Misra did well to skid off her pale, sophisticated linen story. We loved this chapter.


A model wearing an Anavila sari.

Wear Me Now: Suket Dhir’s brocade (Banaras) jackets and skirts had the “I want this too” seduction both in form and in frolic. While Urvashi Kaur’s shibori tie and dye from Haryana and Rajasthan had the ease of ‘person of the world’ around them. Distinctly different from each other and even more so from Abraham & Thakore’s bold and vivacious mix of gold-beige-metallic block print from Farrukkabad, Uttar Pradesh, the clothes were unpretentious. Yet powerful.


A model in a Suket Dhir ensemble.

Jaggery Jugalbandi: Music by folktronic duo Hari & Sukhmani lent the show a peppy optimism. They looked the part and sang their faith in all things sweet and lovely. Their rendition of Malkit Singh’s cult song Gur Naal Ishq Mitha was delightfully sugared especially for those who do not believe in love diets.

Styling: It is all about strong moments sometimes, at other times the entire show becomes a rhapsody of “it is not what you wear; it is how you wear it”. This one had bits of both. If Anjali Lama’s red lip worn with a pewter blue Suket Dhir brocade jacket was a sudden crescendo of glamour, the styling of Abraham & Thakore’s collection—with a high ponytail somewhere, large metallic gold stick-on bindis replicating the round patterns of their block prints—was another. We loved Khandwala’s mix of silver jewellery with gold footwear and Urvashi Kaur’s pairing of dull indigo and khaki shades. All nice little touches. Across the shows, the clothes had an aura of wearability and rootedness.


Models wearing Abraham & Thakore.

: What is India without the sari! What is the Indian sari unless it originates from crafts clusters. What are crafts unless they can be sustained and modernised. What is sustainability without a meeting of the designer and the artisan. What is the artisanship of country if it cannot convert us, its viewers and consumers to become apologists. The saris of this show made that point.


Satya Paul by Rajesh Pratap saris.

Banner: A model in a Payal Khandwala sari