WLIFW'08 made history with 80 designers

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New Delhi, Mar 17: The five-day long episode of the 11th edition of Wills Lifestyle India Fashion Week -- the business of fashion concluded last night with Anamika Khanna and Ashish Soni's show. Starting March 12, the WLIFW'08 made history with 80 designers--9 debut--, host of sponsors, and an exciting delegation of buyers and media both domestic and international.

Some of the renowned and quality international buyers in attendance were H Lorenzo from Los Angeles, Biffi from Milan, Henri Bendel from New York, India from Toronto and Le Bon Merche from Paris. Top domestic buyers were Ensemble, Kimaya, Aza and Ogaan India Pvt Ltd. The Weeks opening show by designer Vikram Phadnis with a collection dedicated to the nature promised great times ahead.The first two days were dedicated to international designs with a lot of experiment with mini-dresses, jackets and coats. The later half of the week was devoted to the synthesis collection with sarees, suits, lehengas and jodhpurs. Not much of accessories like handbags could be seen this time.

The designers who displayed 'the best of the trade' were Manish Malhotra, Tarun Tahiliani, Rohit Bal, JJ Valaya and Monisha Jaisingh. A host of celebrities walked the catwalk for various designers through the week. Katrina Kaif walked for Ashish Soni at the grand finale. Also present during Falguni's show were Singer Alka Yagnic and beautician Shahnaz Hussain. Dusky beauty Bipasha Basu walked the catwalk for designer duo Gauri and Nainika on Day I.

Raghavendra Rathore took to the ramp flanked by Yuvraj Singh and Robin Uthappa on Day IV. His collection comprised tunic dresses, maxi skirts, pants and also striking formals for men. Designer Manav Gangwani's collection had a rich style quotient in terms of both celebrities and clothes with Soha Ali Khan, Zayed Khan, MTV VJ Sophie Chaudhary and designer Manish Malhotra walking the catwalk for him.

The fashion season also saw the debut designers using eco-fibres, something new on the Indian fashion scene. Nine debut designers got associated with Birla Cellulose, one of the sponsors of the WLIFW'08, to avail their R &D facilities for developing eco-fibres.

Designers who were buyers' favorite were Manish Arora, Rajesh Pratap Singh, Namrata Joshipura. Among the debut designers Azara by Alpana and Neeraj and Nitin Bal Chauhan's line was well-received by both international and domestic buyers. Carla Cereda from 'Biffi Boutique', in a conversation with UNI said, ''I am here for the first time and I can see the designers have done a great job with a lot of energy.'' ''Manish Arora made a statement and gave a shock to the buyers and the media with his fantasy warriors,'' she said.

The collection of constructed costumes encrusted with crystal and stones, was inspired from Japanese Samurais, European medieval knights and other military attires.

'Indiva' from Toronto picked up Rohit Bal's creations while 'Le Bon Merche' from Paris was all praises for Manish Arora. The new designers, as the buyers termed it, ''still have a long way to go''. Suneet Varma, Ranna Gill and Rina Dhaka termed the fashion event a ''success''.

''All in all we had an interesting event and interesting buyers,'' said Suneet. Besdies the hits, the hectic week had its own misses too. All the shows, right from day I, ran much behind the schedule.

The grand finale, for example, was scheduled to begin at 2100 hours but opened at 2300 hours. Designer Rajesh Pratap Singh's show was marred with late-opening, wardrobe malfunction and some of the models almost tripping.

The aqua blue cowl neck short dress was worn on the catwalk by German model Debby when the shoulder strap slipped off just as she reached the centre of the ramp, giving way to a "not so welcome" scene. Some of the models almost tripped on the ramp unable to handle the heavy skirts due to lack of proper pinning and some due to high heels.

And as if that was not enough, Payal Jain's show saw a pigeon flying over the head of the models walking the catwalk all through the show and peeing on the head of a few in the media and general section. But that was just a drop in the sea that the fashion week was.

Union Minister for Commerce and Industry Kamal Nath, who graced Rina Dhaka's show, promised government backing to the fashion industry that has build brand India.

''Anything that builds brand India must be backed by the government,'' said Mr Nath Fashion Design Council of India (FDCI) Executive Director Sumeet Nair said ''The event went smooth and was historic with the kind of trade we had this time. We have a host of sponsors. You have seen the buyers in force and more than ever before and not just numbers but qualitatively also we had the best of both the domestic and international delegation of buyers.''


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