Mumbai’s just-concluded Lakme Fashion Week (LFW) changed its appearance this season. It moved venues, from the National Centre for the Performing Arts, Nariman Point, to the Grand Hyatt hotel, Santacruz. Though the plum-carpeted NCPA had become a biannual home of sorts for the city’s fashion crowd, it was a refreshing change to move to the Grand Hyatt, which has a bigger area for the designers’ stalls and was more organized and had better service.
The hotel’s suburban location is also very convenient for the dozens of A, B and Z-grade celebrities who converge during the LFW to walk for known or unknown designers or attend shows.
Naomi Campbell in Sabyasachi creation
This season’s celebrity turnout included Shah Rukh Khan, Akshay Kumar, Preity Zinta, Katrina Kaif, Deepika Padukone, Malaika Arora Khan, Madhu Sapre, Ujjwala Raut, Arjun Rampal, Mehr Jessia, Sushmita Sen, Farhan Akhtar, Milind Soman, Genelia D’Souza, Asin, Minissha Lamba, Kangana Ranaut, Mugdha Godse, Rahul Bose, Rahul Khanna and a few more. There were also some more “celebrities” on the ramp, whose names we cannot provide because we have absolutely no idea who they are.
The most-awaited appearance of the week was that of supermodel Naomi Campbell. She modelled for the Mai Mumbai show, a fund-raiser organized by hotelier Vikram Chatwal, for the victims of the 26/11 attacks. Striding down the runway, Campbell was more graceful and at ease in a sari (by Sabyasachi) than some of the newer Indian models. Equally fabulous was model Madhu Sapre, looking sculpted and glowing. Sure she had a few extra centimetres on her body, but she projected an air of healthy radiance, that few of the others can match.
As for the shows, it was a mixed bag. The Mai Mumbai show was one of the most entertaining and also gave the Indian audiences a chance to see creations by some big names in international fashion, such as Versace, Dolce & Gabbana, Isaac Mizrahi, Matthew Williamson, Oscar de la Renta, Roberto Cavalli, Vera Wang, YSL and Zac Posen.
Menswear Day was a disappointment this season, apart from Troy Costa’s sharp formal wear and Narendra Kumar’s tuxedo jackets with a quirky twist. The first show on the same day was devoted to accessories, with four designers displaying their work, and like last season, we pitied the brands that followed Little Shilpa’s showing. After her superb war-themed neck and head pieces, there was no accessory brand that could match her creativity or theatrics.
Other designers who stood out were Nachiket Barve and Rahul Mishra, both for superb cuts and wearability, Rishta by Arjun (Saluja) for a strong, graphic collection, Walnut for its sheath dresses and Wendell Rodricks, Narendra Kumar and Manish Gupta for their wearable collections for Westside.