Innovation, inclusivity, festivity at heart of Lakme Fashion Week (Curtain Raiser)

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Mumbai : With 90 designers showcasing an array of ensembles at the forthcoming Lakme Fashion Week's Winter/Festive edition, the gala will witness a celebration of wedding wear, festive wear and provide a sneak peak of famous Canada-based live entertainment company Cirque du Soliel's show "Bazzar", apart from making a statement on drag culture with a show.

Commencing on Wednesday, the event will treat fashionistas to over 40 shows in the span of five days at the St. Regis here.

It will see veterans like Ritu Kumar and Rajesh Pratap Singh, as well as new-age designers such as Kunal Rawal, Payal Singhal, Naushad Ali and AM:PM by Ankur and Priyanka Modi, presenting their latest collections.

"This edition caters to the wedding wear market as well. You will witness a larger incidence of festive wear designers showcasing this season. Every season -- be it the Winter/Festive or Summer/Resort -- we aspire to put forth new and innovative collaborations and ways of storytelling through experimentative presentations and showcases," Jaspreet Chandok, Vice President and Head - Fashion, IMG Reliance, told IANS.

The first day will see the Gen Next show in association with the International Institute of Fashion Design (INIFD), which has given the Indian fashion industry names like Kunal Rawal, Rahul Missra and Masaba Gupta. This will mark the debut of five labels.

As for the closing show, designer Monisha Jaising will bring the curtains down on the gala with her collection "Shades Of a Diva" with Bollywood star and Lakme brand ambassador Kareena Kapoor Khan as showstopper.

"Lots of evening glamour, shine, attitude and colour is what you can expect from the finale. The show also comes with a lot of fun surprises which you will know only closer to D-Day," Jaising said.

Chandok too promises the finale will be a grand show.

"For the finale, our most grand show, we are tying up with Cirque du Soleil, who will be doing a preview of their upcoming show in India called 'Bazzar'," he said.

LFW's Day 2 will be dedicated to sustainable fashion. It will also pay a tribute to the rich heritage of Indian handwoven luxury. There will also be a show on Fashion for Sustainable Development with the UN.

"We have Yuri Afanasiev, representative of the UN in India, who will be present at Lakme Fashion Week this season, just like the last, to discuss clarity in fashion. We feel that owing to our digital strengths we can broadbase our offerings to a larger cross-section of people," Chandok said.

Designers Nachiket Barve, Gaurang Shah and Amit Aggarwal are some of the names showcasing on Day 3.

Aggarwal, who is "excited" to unveil his maiden menswear line inspired by NEXA, told IANS: "It's an extension of our aesthetic into a new silhouette and that challenge always drives me."

The event will also see interesting shows inspired by the millennials, drag era, plus-size individuals and a show titled "Away" inspired by the concept of breaking free.

Actor Prateik Babbar, who will walk the ramp for Chola The Label, which will delve on the drag culture theme, said: "This attempt is to normalise those topics that are usually not discussed in the mainstream by trying to engage in a dialogue on sexuality in the public domain."

Having styled the likes of stars Salman Khan, Akshay Kumar, Ajay Devgn and Ranbir Kapoor, designer Kunal Rawal will show a range titled "Perspective".

"The Kunal Rawal Perspective show this season has about 60-65 looks starting from the lighter versatile pieces leading up to the groom and festive looks. It's almost like the evolution of the Kunal Rawal man," he said.

But what's a fashion show without any glamour?

Apart from Kareena and Prateik, the five-day extravaganza will have a stream of celebrities like Aditi Rao Hydari, Hema Malini, Esha Deol, Shikha Talsania, Kalki Koechlin and Rhea Chakraborty adding sparkle to the runway as showstoppers.

(Durga Chakravarty is in Mumbai at the invitation of the Lakme Fashion Week organisers. She can be contacted at