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What's Hot This Festive Season?

From Sanyukta, Seasons Correspondent Mumbai,
October 1:

As the monsoon season ends and winter sets in, the colours in every wardrobe change dramatically from bold to mellow and bright to pastels. But not till Dasera and Diwali come and go. For the festive season is a time for ethnic threads with bold and bright undertones. However, most designers do not specifically work on festive themes. They make it only a reference point for the collection that will unfold for the following fall\winter. Manish Malhotra who has come a long way from Reverie to Sheetal in mainstream designing, has decided to stick to the feminine look this season. Manish loves working in all shades of pastels and that is going to be evident in the clothes he has in store for the festive and fall collection. He says, "as people like wearing the traditional during festive season, I am concentrating on Indian garments." Interestingly, he does not specify whether this Indian line is going to be ethnic or the Indo-western type. "I would rather want you to see the clothes in person to know what they really are because they are completely different from the existing categories. My accent, this season, is on softer tones though these days everybody works for a more bolder and modern look," he informs. Indeed, Manish like his Sheetal counterpart Hemant Trevedi has always believed in "less is more", that has been his forte all along.

Another designer who is opting for a softer look this season is, the ethnic and chic specialist, Shaina N C. The designer smiles from her south Mumbai Golden Thimble boutique, "festive season for me is about lots of sarees, blouses and borders. I would want the Indian woman to be innovatively dressed despite the traditional look." Shaina has decided to work in all shades of pink and fuschia for the season. "That is my colour this season," says the designer for whom pastel colours like peach, pink, silver, peuter and aqua shades have always been a favourite. Shaina, however, admits that the fashion scene this season is low-key as "there is no spending power and catchment." Going by her past record - she had recently held a fashion show with women achievers like Poonam Dhillon and Rashmi Uday Singh participating in it instead of the usual models - looks like Shaina has something really different in store for the coming season. The clothes they had displayed were specially designed for people like them or for whom Shaina calls, "the real people." The innovative concept was well received and set the trend for more such informal evenings.

However, Tarun Tahiliani, one of India's greatest designers, is sticking to the bolder look. The collection unveiled at Ensemble, Tarun's boutique in Mumbai, is all about ruby reds, emerald greens and deep blues, the colours traditionally meant for festive season. He also had on show evening wear, which was dominated by black.

Tarun's clothes are full of asymmetrical cuts, which is his favourite. But there is not much change from the traditional when it comes to designs, motifs and embroidery. For instance, one notices that his threads are full of heavy work like zardozi and lot of gold. Tarun reasons, "festive season is meant for traditional wear, you will hardly find anybody wearing something drastically Western on such occasions. It is only at cocktails that women wear innovative and Western-influenced or the Indo-western wear." Then there were clothes in chikan, Tarun's favourite fabric, apart from net, lycra and crepe. Tarun's designs for men ironically, have an elegant feel compared to women's.

Anita Dongre whose AND boutique at Crossroads is a favourite with many upwardly mobile people, is another designer who prefers working in pastels to bold. Anita who had experimented with block printing and Bandhani designs for Western wear has plans to continue with the colours and theme except that the clothes will look more Indian. Hopefully, she will give a go-by to fusion ensembles like tank tops and ghagras and palazzos and kurtas. Bela Sanghvi who specialises in designing sarees is planning to give a new look to Patola, Jamdani and Ashavali sarees by bringing in a lot of fusion. Especially in Ashavali she has used a lot of gold, silver and pink instead of the traditional colours.

A closer look at the threads available at leading stores like Seasons, Asopalav and Pantaloon suggests that suddenly ethnic is in. SEASONS's 'Sentiments' collection uses all the traditional Indian colours like ruby red and emerald green and floral motifs. "It is all about salwar-kameez in different shapes and sizes" quips Vandanna Roy.

Saturday saw the unveiling of Cinnamon, S Kumars' new pret line introduced keeping in mind the forthcoming festive season. With Hrithik Roshan as their brand ambassador they are sure to steal some limelight from other established pret lines. As Hrithik said, "this will change the way you think about your wardrobe. Let the world know that what's on your body is what's on your mind," the collection will definitely make a difference to most wardrobes.

The other designers to watch out for this season are Krishna Mehta, Wendell Rodricks, Seema Roye, Leena Tipnis and Benu Sehgal. Krishna Mehta who has been designing for men for a long time, is into women's fashion these days and is likely to go by the traditional. Rodricks has not yet made clear what he has in store for the near future. As for the others, they have always liked to work on the traditional look. Leena Tipnis' Linarika label is popular so also Benu Sehgal's innovative sarees. Not to forget, Meera and Muzaffar Ali who are also into traditional threads in a big way. EOMů

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