At Vogue India’s fifth anniversary celebration at The Trident in Mumbai tonight, all eyes will be on the six finalists of India’s Vogue Fashion Fund, announced by the magazine in collaboration with retailer Westside and the Fashion and Design Council of India in April this year.
A panel of 10 judges, comprising the Vogue India team of Editor Priya Tanna, Fashion Director Anaita Shroff Adajania, and Fashion Features Director Bandana Tewari, along with Condé Nast India Marketing Director Oona Dhabhar, FDCI President Sunil Sethi, designers Sabyasachi Mukherjee and Suneet Varma, retailers Tina Tahiliani, Alka Nishar and Westside COO Gaurav Mahajan, have chosen the winner.
The fund, similar to ones in the US, UK, Italy and China, has propelled designers like Joseph Altuzarra, Alexander Wang and Proenza Schouler, Christopher Kane and Erdem Moralioglu into instant fame. Priyanka Sharma gives a glimpse into the careers and design ethos of the selected six
NITIN BAL CHAUHAN (33)
Signature style: Chauhan’s edgy, experimental aesthetic reflects his personality. Designer by day and graffiti artist by night, Chauhan’s clothing is eclectic: bolero jackets with a panel of 200 handmade dome studs, teamed with a matching pair of contoured trousers with leather embellishments. The line “Bhootsavaar” (“consumed by passion”, says Chauhan) is inspired by the spirit of music, and comprises funky T-shirts and jackets in pinks, greens and fluorescent yellows, embellished with metallic spokes, and hand-crafted leather patchworks of guitars and audio cassettes. He also designs Patiala salwar suits and dhoti pants.
Shows: Wills Lifestyle India Fashion Week, Lakme Fashion Week, Tokyo Fashion Week Price range: While the t-shirts start at Rs 900, the jackets can go up to Rs 25,000.
Retails at: Bombay Electric, Aza, Ogaan, Samsara, Muse, Mai
Our take: Chauhan’s line offers refreshing options to the club-hopping night animal. Particularly eye-catching is one Bhootsavaar T-shirt imprinted with the face of Jesus Christ, his head heavy with a colourful crown of guitars. Worn with one of Chauhan’s bolero jackets, it would create a look that would do Lady Gaga proud.
RAHUL MISHRA (31)
Label: The Apple Tree
Signature style: Mishra shot to fame in 2006 when he used Kerala handlooms to make reversible dresses and trousers. He uses Chanderi, Benarasi silk, Chikankari to weave seamless, form-fitting dresses. Having designed for A R Rahman’s Oscar night as well as for actor Sonam Kapoor, Mishra believes he is the torchbearer of Indian textiles. His aim, he adds, is to make “crafts more aspirational for the modern woman”.
Shows: Wills Lifestyle India Fashion Week, Lakme Fashion Week, Australia Fashion Week.
Price range: Rs 5,000 to Rs 40,000.
Retails at: Aza, Ensemble, Ogaan, Melange, Pink Gold, Sosa’s, Ffolio, Aura.
Our take: Mishra’s traditional maheshwari and Chanderi weaves in bright colours are simple, casual and stylish. His lehengas, on the other hand, are ornate and elegant.
NIDHI (30) AND PANKAJ AHUJA (39)
Label: Pankaj & Nidhi
Signature Style: Dresses in geometrical patterns and floral prints, embellised with appliques of birds, butterflies and leaves. The six-year-old label recently won the India chapter of the International Woolmark Prize, for a structured dress with handcrafted elements in Merino wool, using the technique of cross-stitching. The couple also designs tops in natural fabrics and anarkali outfits in silk and cotton blends.
Shows: Wills Lifestyle India Fashion Week, trade fairs in Paris and London.
Price range: Rs 5,000-Rs 45,000.
Retails at: Two flagship stores in Delhi and Mumbai, besides Ensemble, Aza, Ogaan, Kimaya, Samsaara, Fuel, Creo, Melange, 85.
Our take: The Ahujas use different cultural impressions in every collection — at the Wills Lifestyle India Fashion Week Autumn/Winter 2012, they broke the mould by showcasing ‘Wyncinanki’, the art of Polish paper cutting.
AMIT AGGARWAL (32)
Label: AMIT AGGARWAL
Signature style: Aggarwal’s gowns are colourful, structured and cutting-edge; he combines drapes and symmetry to create form-fitting bow-shaped dresses, giving the classic little black dress a contemporary look. The acquamarine-blue jacket (below) was recently bought by singer Katy Perry. The shy designer calls himself the “underdog of Indian fashion”; his clothes, he adds, speak for themselves.
Shows: Wills Lifestyle India Fashion Week, and trade fairs in London and Paris. Aggarwal was featured alongside Manish Arora and Sabyasachi Mukherji at Arken, the Danish art museum.
Price range: Tops starting at Rs 5,000 and gowns up to Rs 1.5 lakh.
Retails at: Ensemble, Evoluzione, Bombaim
Our take: Aggarwal is possibly the most experimental of the lot; his gowns are cut and draped with great skill and patience, presumably acquired during his two-year apprenticeship with Tarun Tahiliani. The creamy white form-fitting top (below), layered with lace and feathers, took him a month to finish.
ANEETH ARORA (29)
Signature style: Arora’s fashion is trendy yet simple and wearable. She uses muslin, jamdani, block prints and ikkat in her stoles, scarves, cotton jackets, shifts, panelled and crossover dresses. She also showcases striped mulmul shirts, block-printed jumpsuits and dogri pants. The pink and green scarf that Saif Ali Khan wore in Cocktail was designed by her, as were the clothes worn by the entire cast of Mira Nair’s The Reluctant Fundamentalist.
Shows: Wills Lifestyle India Fashion Week, Lakme Fashion Week, Berlin Fashion Week.
Price range: Rs 3,500 to Rs 19,000.
Retails at: Ensemble, Ogaan, Cinnamon in India, Barney’s Japan and Browns London.
Our Take: Arora’s chequered pants, mulmul shirts and ikkat scarves lend her label an easy accessibility. Her clothes are ideal for the college student or the professional who values comfort.
PAYAL PRATAP SINGH (39)
Label: Payal Pratap
Signature style: Singh’s two-year old label showcases a line of embroidered cotton jacquards and anarkali suits in crushed silk with velvet borders and Mughal motifs. She’s known for her cotton-silk blend anarkali suits in bright colours of fucshia, orange, red, green and yellow. Her target customer, she says, is a well-travelled, intellectual woman over 25 years of age.
Shows: Wills Lifestyle India Fashion Week.
Price range: Rs 10,000 to Rs 40,000.
Retails at: Ogaan, Aza, Ensemble, Evoluzione, Collage.
Our take: Singh’s focus is primarily on the Indian market and her anarkalis will strike a chord with women who like wearing bright colours. The heavily embroidered garments are a statement in themselves and often come without a dupatta.
|“Payal’s garments had poetic beauty, Aneeth’s passion for handlooms stood out; Nitin can design anything from record label covers to sneakers; Pankaj and Nidhi know what the customer wants. Amit has a strong sense of couture; Any woman will look good in Rahul’s designs”
Editor, Vogue India
|THE WINNER GETS
- Rs 25 lakh cash
- Coverage in Vogue India,
- Oportunity to retail at Westside
- Sponsored show at the Wills Lifestyle India Fashion Week.
- Year-long mentorship with an industry leader
|"Aneeth will carry her love for Indian handloom to the international market, Nitin will have a cult following of his own with youngsters. Payal is a solid talent, Amit is the torchbearer of cutting-edge gowns. Pankaj, Nidhi and Rahul are already a hit with the retailers!"
President, Fashion Design Council of India