Bangalore Fashion Week makes Bangkok the first stop on its international tour
Since its inception in 2009, Bangalore Fashion Week has become a much-anticipated, and often star-studded, event on India’s yearly fashion calendar. These bi-annual showings see up-and-coming designers from around the country and beyond rubbing shoulders with already-established names, all congregating in Bangalore – India’s IT city” - to showcase the best, and the newest trends, in Indian fashion. And in an attempt to translate that onto a bigger stage for a global audience, organisers Dream Merchants are taking the show on the road starting this year, with their BFW - World Tour editions. The first stop on the international route: Bangkok.
Held from Friday to Sunday at Central Live, Central World, BFW’s Bangkok edition was, as expected, a flurry of colours, textures, and skilled couture. Collections by a number of Indian and Thai designers were presented in runway shows, alongside onsite stalls featuring clothing and accessories by around 80 exhibitors, culminating in offerings that ranged from the eccentric to the sublime.
Works by the well-known Abhishek Dutta were the highlight of the first day, comprising a youthful, wearable line dominated by vibrant tones of orange and green in a variety of material and prints. Young designers Tannishtha Saha and Abhishek Singh put up a good showing as well, with Saha’s eclectic dresses, gowns, and saris (with a twist, of course) and Singh’s delicate works in ivory silk, embellished winningly with metal and pearl. Also notable was the collection by Filipino designer Len Nepomuceno, made up of gorgeous cocktail dresses and wraparounds in bright, shimmery shades. And rounding off the day’s shows was bold-printed casual wear by Geetika Suneja, and Neilam and Sudha’s more traditional Indian designs.
Day two saw more classic eastern fare take the stage, with designers Amrita and Kanchan, Phavini Kalra, Dianna and Monapali all presenting their distinctive takes on the sari, the kurta and the lehenga. While some chose to go in a more “modern” direction, like Dianna, whose reimagining of the basics resulted in some unconventional concoctions, most stuck to the roots.
Monapali impressed particularly with a number of intricate pieces, especially her embroidered ponchos, as did Kalra’s vividly-coloured and detailed offerings. Another of the day’s exhibitors, Uma Rati, meanwhile, opted for a jazzy line-up of print-heavy casual and party dresses.
Noynah Sunitha and Vijay Rana’s collections were undoubtedly among the concluding day’s best displays, both striking a balance between eastern and western influences, and revelling in clean, classic lines and minimal embellishments. Bonny Sethi’s traditional pieces, marked by some seminal embroidery, were also spot on, as was the variety of sleek, black-and-gold clothing that made up Neeta Lulla’s show, an intriguing mishmash of pencil-skirted dresses, sheer saris and corseted lehengas - all dramatic, all beautiful.
The day also saw a range of gowns as part of Rupa G and Avinash’s “Thread Craft” that combined deep greens, blues and purples, alongside Kartick Kapoor’s neon-punctuated “Fame of Mind”, a collection of graphic prints and youthful silhouettes, and the only one that included male models out of all the runway shows.
BFW’s Bangkok edition was ultimately a fitting tribute to the worldwide appeal of Indian fashion, and more importantly, a mark of its fluidity. After all, one can no longer conceive of fashion - or any other form of art, for that matter - as a stagnant entity confined within geographical boundaries, but as something that is constantly evolving with increasing contact with the world outside. While certainly still rooted in India’s distinctive cultural landscape, the event demonstrated how traditional philosophies and concepts in fashion are incorporating elements from the west and other Asian cultures, resulting in the sort of creative fusion that characterises the arts in a globalised era.
The BFW – World tour will be a bi-annual event, with tentative plans to hold the next edition in Dubai at the end of this year and London at the start of 2014