The stage at the ongoing Lakme Fashion Week on the Indian Handloom and Textile Day was set for the grand display of desi weaves with Nikhil Thampiâ€™s show on Day 1 itself, as he combined pure silk, linen, cotton and polyester blends in a beautifully minimal collection titled â€˜Alchemyâ€™.
Lungi saris in pristine white, vermillion and red, transparent churidars, risquÃ© blouses with metallic straps, and deep-necked tulle saris in nude teamed with golden belts blended an immaculate sense of fashion with refined sexiness.
Payal Singhal played with Indian silhouettes as well, with gold embroidery as was seen in a red lehenga-choli set worn by showstopper Nimrat Kaur.
The evening show was nothing short of a spectacle as veteran designer Manish Malhotra presented his first-ever menâ€™s line, called â€˜The Gentlemanâ€™s Clubâ€™, at Mehboob Studio in Bandra.
Celebrating 25 years of his career, Manish pulled out the stops from the start with a lavish 80ft x 30ft big runway stage that had chairs and tables hanging from the high ceiling with ropes.
A grand piano, sofas, chaises, carpets and large curtains completed the runway that was flanked by Bollywood celebrities on either side.
Even before the show began, flashbulbs went into a tizzy as celebs like Arjun Kapoor, Karan Johar, Nita Ambani, Shraddha Kapoor, Diana Penty, Tabu, Sonali Bendre, Tamannaah Bhatia and Mandira Bedi made their way to their FROW seats.
The show began with the ladies setting the tone in gowns with large skirts in emerald green, blue and glimmering sequins.
The menâ€™s range saw suiting fabrics and velvet applied to tuxedos, double breasted bandhgalas, straight pants, blazers, shawls and achkans with abstracted floral embroidery on the elbow and lapels.
The highlight of the show was heartthrob Ranbir Kapoor, who stole the show in a maroon suit, complete with a printed shirt underneath and a brooch on the lapel.
Day 2 began on an equally strong note, with a Benaras or Varanasi theme for the Indian Handloom and Textile Day. Delhi designer Rinku Sobti took the lead with chic checked trousers, saris and drapes teamed with cut-out blouses along with jackets, jumpsuits and kurtas.
The elegant Gauhar Khan walked the ramp for her in a macramÃ© woven long kurta, tasselled cropped top and black silk embellished lehenga.
Shruti Sancheti looked to Japanese motifs of maple leaves, mushrooms, flower buds, and abstract birds to treat luxurious fabrics like brocades, gicha silk, sheer Bengal dupion, cotton silk and chanderi.
Kimonos with obi belts were teamed with brocade trousers and lehengas, making for an interesting combination.
Meanwhile, Swati and Sunaina reinvented their specialty patterns like Shikargaha, Khimkhwab, Khandwa, Chaar Taar and Dampach on saris.
Moving on to younger styles, Jaipur designer Swati Vijaivargie took inspiration from the flat weaving Kilim and Dhurrie techniques from the states of Rajasthan, Gujarat and Uttar Pradesh.
The bohemian collection included fitted skirts, kurta-dresses and long jackets, paired with striped flat shoes.
Model-turned-actress Lisa Haydon made a befitting showstopper for the collection, dressed in a colourful cropped top with a draped skirt and a long kurta jacket.
Padma Shri winner and well-known textile revivalist Ritu Kumar took India's rich textiles and handlooms a notch higher when she showcased her 'Varanasi Weaves' collection.Bringing back the beauty of motifs like Badami, Kyari, Shikargah and floral butis, the designer showcased glittering gold and silver royal textiles to a cheering audience, that included some of India's top fashion designers like Rohit Bal and Wendell Rodricks along with Bollywood veteran Shabana Azmi.
Kumar's initiative to honour weavers from Banaras is supported by the ministry of textiles to revive the handloom weaving in the city. With 50 master craftsmen, the designer presented a collection of timeless designs that ranged from yarns in silk and metallic to reviving traditional design motifs.
The luxurious lehengas, layered garments and the exquisite saris, displayed the magnificence of Banaras weaves in peacock hues, red, pink,
saffron as well as pretty pastels. The ethereal white-on-white hand cut work Jamdani of Banaras, left the women in the audience asking for more.
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