The final day of PCJ Delhi Couture Week saw schedules running haywire and almost a stampede for yesteryear superstar Sridevi. The crowds that had gathered at 9pm to catch the finale by Sabyasachi Mukherjee had no inkling that the previous show by Manav Gangwani had only just ended. So the numbers kept swelling and so did the chaos — so typical of such finales in the city.
For his collection New Moon, Sabya tried an amalgamation of five different influences and cities in a collection that cannot completely be called couture.
He mixed Russian needlepoint with zardozi from Agra, block printing from Bengal and Rajasthan with boutis from Provence, chintz from the UK with Bangladeshi kantha work, and toile de joy [a type of decorating pattern consisting of a usually white or off-white background on which a repeated pattern depicting a fairly complex scene] from France with pashmina from Kashmir.
While a hunting lodge reminiscent of the British Raj was built on the ramp — complete with mounts, blue pottery and antique furniture, models were given a nerdy look with all of them wearing spectacles.
There were Parsi and zardozi bodices, teamed with khadi shirts with zardozi and Kashmiri detail and textured khadi high-waisted ghagra skirts; embroidered tulle saris with hand - block printed chintz petticoats; Russian threadwork lehenga on textured silk with textured silk blouse and hand - embroidered tulle wrap; embroidered strapless peplum kurti with velvet salwar and tulle dupatta; hand-block printed tulle and silk bodycon and trumpet shirt with Russian skirt, complete with Russian threadwork detail.
Models walked in French grey bodycon gowns in textured silk, tulle wrap with couching detail; zardozi slip kurta with velvet salwar and hand-embroidered tulle wrap; blue and black tulle and silk godet skirt with zardozi tank top and hand-embroidered tulle slip.
Texturisation was a highlight of the collection. Sabya also used a lot of embroidery on fabrics like khadi, 400-count rare muslin Jamdaani, raw silk, velvet, tulle, cotton and tweed among others.
The effort showed that Manav Gangwani actually managed to put together a collection for the Couture Week is in itself laudable. Just a month before the show, his assistant had reportedly vanished with all the designs. While his collection didn’t match the brilliance of what he showcased at last year’s edition, it does have quite a few pieces that manage to catch the eye.
His collection Infused with Imperial Splendor, was inspired by royalty and had Bhutanese queen Jetsun Pema wearing his creation, sitting in the front row. The show began with a bang, with a model walking in in a fishnet dress. Models walked in cocktail gowns, lehengas, chudidars, anarkalis, shararas, ghararas, pre-draped saris and sherwanis crafted out of silks, laces, tulle, velvet, satins and Dupions.
The first sequence consisted of monochromes with lots of flounce and layers, asymetric cuts on anarkalis, elaborate cholis, mermaid-shaped hemlines, tassels on shoulders, cocktail dresses with bold scoops on both waists and a thigh-high slit, truckloads of chunky Swarovski crystals and even a swimsuit [why on the Couture ramp though?]. The second sequence had cocktail dresses and lehengas in various hues of red.