Indian Bangla Film Academy (an NGO, which works to promote films and culture across the border), in association with the Egyptian Tourism Department is planning a fashion gala at the Tahrir Square in Cairo to mark the anniversary of Egyptian Uprising on April 8, 2013. The proposal has go the nod from the Egyptian government, which will be part of the celebrations to mark the coming of age of the country, following the 2011 revolution that ousted President Hosni Mubarak.
The Desi Designers who had been shortlisted by the NGO Indian Bangla Film Academy are undoubtedly the designers from Bengal and of course the filmy ones. The selected ones are Sabyasachi Mukherjee, Agnimitra Paul, Wendell Rodricks, Manish Malhotra and Rocky S.
Top designers from Egypt will also take part in the event, and their models will also sport clothes created by the Indian designers. The other unique factor about this fashion show is the 2.5 Kilometer long ramp. The organisers are aiming to create the world’s longest ramp and representatives of the Guinness Book of World Records would be present to verify the record.
CARMA and Indian Fashion has a karmic connection. A centuries old royal stable opposite the Qutub Minar was converted by Lekha Poddar as India’s first fashion boutique – CARMA. Lekha’s daughter-in-law Malvika Modi Poddar better known as Dimple Poddar was the proud owner of India’s first high-fashion boutique and running the operations was Gurleen Kaur, a name that virtually became synonymous to Carma.
It was a sort of Mecca for Indian designers. If you were selling from CARMA, you simply had arrived. Carma like all things saw lot of evolution. Once a domain of big-daddies of Indian fashion, Carma started taking in bright young talent. Since the boutique enjoyed a premium position Carma has innumerous tales of inter-designer politics, bitchy dramas and loads of conspiracy theories. Evolution continued and couple of years back CARMA did a tie-up with Sabyasachi Mukherjee and from a multi-designer boutique it became Sabya’s flagship store. The other CARMA at Malcha Marg (though nowhere close to the ‘elite’ factor the Qutub Carma enjoyed) stocked multi-designers.
Past few months things were not smooth between Sabyasachi Mukherjee and Gurleen and Dimple Poddar. As per sources the bone of contention was the commission paid to Gurleen by Sabyasachi. Since Gurleen was more involved in running the Malcha Marg Carma, the percentage commission payable to Gurleen on Sabysachi’s sales were reduced.
Now Gurleen has officially put in her papers and insiders say that it came as a shock to Dimple. The spicy bit is Gurleen in collaboration with Manish Malhotra is opening his first flagship store just a couple of yards away from Sabysachi at Carma on the One Style Mile across the Qutub Minar. The coming days will witness some tug-of-war for Carma loyal clientele. We will wait and watch how things unfurl!
The Private Equity (PE) arm of Paris-based LVMH Moet Hennessy Louis Vuitton – L Capital with Ravi Thakran at the helm of affairs gave a lot of hope to the Indian Fashion Fraternity to see ‘corporatisation’ of Indian Fashion Industry. Ravi Thakran being an Indian led the Desi fash-frat to unjustifiably believe that L Capital with a corpus fund of $ 650 Million would really see some huge investment in Indian Designer Labels. But as I mentioned – it was an‘unjustifiable’ expectation.
L Capital heavily invested in Genesis Luxury and took 25.5% stake in the company. Here I must say that Sanjay Kapoor of Genesis Luxury who is a former banker must have used his financial expertise to secure that huge chunk of investment from L Capital. Other brand where L Capital picked up stakes was Fabindia – L Capital holds 8% stake.
Finally L Capital turned its focus to the niche segment of Indian designer-wear. The reports of L Capital investing in Rohit Bal and Sabyasachi Mukherjee and in multi-designer retail chain – Evoluzione still stands unconfirmed. The talks are in final stages is what we still hear. This news sparked off various unconfirmed reports that Sabyasachi’s brand has been valued much higher than that of Rohit Bal’s and why Evoluzione and why not Ensemble. Ravi Thakran and Rohit Bal are old friends and when Thakran was heading Omega Watches, he sponsored a grand show of Bal’s at the American Ambassador’s (The Lundquists!) residence where Shahrukh Khan was the show-stopper. Murmurs of L Capital investing in Rohit Bal because Thakran and Bal are buddies had been floating but I personally discount it as gossip as PE firm of L Capital’s stature don’t do business on the basis of friendship. Gossip on why Evoluzione and why not Ensemble has many conspiracy theories.
But it’s high time L Capital comes out with a status report on what’s happening with the investments in Rohit Bal, Sabysachi Mukherjee and Evoluzione. Also how significant is the news that L Capital is planning to replicate the LVMH model in India? This is what I am reading - “Along with consolidating their separate labels under a single corporate structure, each of them will get a chance to scale up and reach domestic as well as global markets. L Capital plans to invest close to Rs 200 crores in the venture, which is being planned as a company that will own significant minority stakes in the design houses of these well-known designers and will forge a joint venture with Evoluzione for back-end distribution business. Gradually, more known designers will be brought on board to expand the business horizons.” Well if this happens I feel it is something the Indian designers always needed and it will definitely be an impetus to the desi designers. If LVMH-type structure comes up in India, it would definitely assist in consolidating and projecting Indian fashion to the world, besides helping brands with marketing, retailing and identifying suitable real estate to increase scale, pare costs, improve operating efficiency and boost profits.
The latest outing of Aishwarya Rai Bachchan in London at the opening of Bvlgari Hotel and Residences did not attract scathing criticism from Fashion Police on her baby weight. The credit I feel should go to designer Sabyasachi Mukherjee who has mastered the art of covering and concealing ‘muffins and donuts’ with the super voluptuous Vidya Balan. The black and white number of Sabyasachi that Aishwarya wore to the Bvlgari event had kalidar construction that is ideal to conceal weight. The popularity of ‘Anarkali’ kurtas in recent times proves how paneled (kalidar) Kurtas conceal the flabs yet giving a smart and tailored look. No doubt the style is hit and omnipresent.
The dhoti-sari with a chikan-kari full-sleeve top that Abu Jani and Sandeep Khosla designed for Aishwarya during her Cannes visit was an absolute disaster. Firstly the dhoti-style sari itself wasn’t flattering on Aish and the sheer top showed her tummy that would had been better concealed…in a sari draped in a regular style. By-the-way shouldn’t Aishwarya give-up the full-sleeved look???
Kudos to Sabyasachi; Thumbs Down to Abu-Sandeep for creations for Aishwarya Rai Bachchan!
The bi-annual Lakme Fashion Week was losing sheen with not so great designers showcasing their work. But the lineup of designers for the Winter/Festive 2011 edition of Lakme Fashion Week in Mumbai seems impressive and being a Delhi-ite I am only too proud to say that the sheen is added by Delhi designers.
Rohit Bal is doing an off-site show at the Winter/Festive 2011 Lakme Fashion Week. This doesn’t come as a surprise because Bal was inducted in the Team of Advisors of Lakme Fashion Week (LFW) last year. He is also on the Board of Fashion Designers Council of India (FDCI). What comes as a surprise however is the participation of senior Delhi designers who are (or were) in the Board of FDCI that holds the Wills Lifestyle India Fashion Week (WIFW). These designers are JJ Valaya and Rina Dhaka. Wendell Rodricks lately became a regular at WIFW and many say that Rodricks had a fall out with LFW hence the new found loyalty with FDCI. Well Wendell Rodricks too is showcasing at LFW this time besides other stalwarts like Sabyasachi Mukherjee and Narendra Kumar.
Though the friction between FDCI and Lakme is currently at its minimal state, there’s no denying that there exists a shimmering rivalry between the organisors of the two fashion weeks – WIFW and LFW. Major poaching and lobbying takes place like alluring designers with sponsored shows and what not.
Now we also have a new Head of Fashion at IMG Reliance post the exit of former MD of IMG Reliance, Ravi Krishnan. Anjana Sharma, Director-Fashion at IMG Reliance seems to be a team worker and I have heard only good things about her till now.
Now that the Lakme Fashion Week has got an impressive lineup of shows, I sincerely hope that they also improve on the business aspect of the fashion week and not forget that Fashion Weeks are essentially Trade Shows and not Bollywood Tamasha. Heard that the business aspect has been rejuvenated too. Well I will reserve my opinion on that till the week gets over!