NEW DELHI: It's 6.30 in the evening of day 4 of the WLIFW, and everyone is waiting for the show by Rajesh Pratap Singh.
Was he worth the wait? Most definitely. As was somewhat expected, Pratap stole the scene efficiently. Showing perhaps the most finished, most well conceived collection of designs this week, till date.
Using a few set concepts, namely, pin tucks (his signature), yokes, ribbing and sequins Pratap managed to permute them in such a way that the clothes all formed part of the same unit and yet each was stunningly individual. Bows, another concept were used in varied ways, at the steep fall of a neckline at the back, at the waist, slung low at the hip.
Ribbing turned up as expected at collar and waist level, but also formed the high waist of a one-piece dress, as a yoke, as a back panel or in skirt waists. The diagonal stripes that formed the backdrop of most of his cottons ran contrary to one another, making quiet drama, adding flow and sweep to the garment. And yokes were quite another story, running sometimes across, sometimes curving downward or up, sometimes pleated, ribbed or plain! Silhouettes were interesting, unusual and completely individual, one from the other.
Summer, Pratap proved, is not all about whites; his fluorescent line of limes and yellows combined with rich reds, and also ended up fully sequined. Flowers in bright colours ran around hems of otherwise sedate garments, adding whimsy. There were a series of garments with intricate cutwork on mildly printed, diagonal lined fabric. Phew!
A red and white sequined line evoked almost audible gasps from the audience. Did not like his showstopper in red with white cottonwood like circles, but then, no one's perfect. Though, Pratap comes close!
Earlier, there was nothing spectacular from the opening designers Ashish Pandey and Aparna and Norden of 'Freefalling'.
Priyaa Awasthy put out some interesting black and white combos, and used denim as a base for some of her drama. Lycra, satin cord, and eyelet embroidery added their bit to make for a dramatic, eye-catching collection. Priyaa sells in quite a few countries overseas and the exposure seems to have done her god, the line was definitely 'exportable' and would find favour with Indian women too. Daring effects with jeans embroidered only on one leg and pockets, and a good use of crystals.
Swapan and Seema who shared the show with Priya mixed opulence with western wear; they had ghagras with crystals, and a bridal line at one end and soft pastel evening wear embellished with pearl and crystals on the other. Liked the light prints on the saris, dresses and skirts, and the sashes in silver, rainbow crystals. The pale blues and rose pinks were pleasing to the eye, and some of the chiffon tops with crystals at lapel or waist were quite appealing. Krishna Mehta's menswear stole a march over her rather ho hum women's line. There were shirts with 'origami texture', and there was a series of block printed pants with drawstrings at the waist, quite nice.
Macarame used at yokes, and as belts was somewhat off beat, but did not save the collection. Some flared, multilayered skirts worn with loose tunics belted low at the waist were pretty and romantic. And the floral prints were gauzy and ethereal too. If Kotwara, known for their chikankari decides to branch out into Benarasi saris, someone should be told, or like most of those in the tent, we would wonder why Muzzafar and Meera Ali were showcasing Benarasi saris. Luckily we asked the man himself and he told us it was his new venture.
For the rest, the Alis were almost cocking a snook at the fashion fraternity, showing vegetable dyed prints in a series of shapes, combined with chikan skirts. Nothing that could not be copied by your local darzi.
The only interesting aside was the calligraphy line. Great handiwork on silhouettes we have all seen before.
One expects so much more from a man who has in the past proved creative to the point of genius. And also when you consider the price points.
Deepika Govind seems to have found her Muse again. Very creatively combined colours and shapes, in her red, black and mustard line, and the makeup matched wonderfully. Her saris and off shoulder tops worked to good effect, so did the long jackets.