he 29th Batch of four amazing Gen Next designers presented by INIFD enthralled the audience at the opening show during Lakmé Fashion Week Summer/Resort 2020. The Gen Next programme since its inception in 2006 has been the most desired platform for designers to make a grand entry into the Indian fashion industry. Internationally renowned names like Rahul Mishra, Masaba Gupta, Nachiket Barve, Kallol Dutta, Swapnil Shinde, Anuj Sharma and many more have carved a niche for themselves since their Gen Next Debuts.
AKHIL NAGPAL – CUTTING EDGE FABRICS EXPERT
The AKHL label started in 2019 by Akhil Nagpal has a strong fashion foundation. A degree from Central Saint Martin’s College of Art and Design in 2019, equipped Akhil with the fashion knowledge that got him a job with Peter Pilotto in London and India’s top creators, Manish Arora and Amit Aggarwal in Delhi.
Inspired by arresting features like tensile structures from tensile architecture, art installations, industrial equipment the manmade membranous objects; the designer used them for a visually dramatic line of garments. Akhil’s hunting ground for the raw materials was the various fishing villages in Maharashtra from where he sourced the surplus fishing monofilament yarns.
These, in turn, were treated with dyes and turned into yarns for embellishments. His experiments in using industrial glass yarns, rayon and silk as well as cutting edge fabrics like latex and metallic foils ensured that the designs had a surreal almost futuristic visual appeal. His silhouettes were heavily textured with excessive layering that created a dramatic impact on the ramp.
Stunners on the catwalk were the multi weave dress with an impressive train, the geometric maxi with the in-built bustier, multi looped maxi, sheer pants with a long strappy floor-length creation and the majestic floor kissing poncho with an awesome panelled maxi skirt.
The collection moved effortlessly from Indian to western as tactile evening wear vied for attention with cleverly crafted drapes giving an almost art deco like feel to the engineered materials and ensembles.
ANANYA MODI JAIN – CONVERGENCE OF PERFECT STYLE
‘All2Defy’ is the quirky name of Ananya Modi Jain’s label launched in 2018. Her fashion fundas span two continents – a BFA in women’s wear from Parsons, New York and a Masters in Luxury Accessory Design and Management from Istituto Marangoni, Milan.
Ananya’s fashion aesthetics were perfectly balanced with a convergence of stylish forms and functionality. Merging minimalism with exaggerated proportions, Ananya’s bold and vibrant motifs were a delightful mix of classic stripes and plaids merged into a creative offering.
The men’s and women’s line featured a lot of colour, excitement and quirky construction. Creating and impact was the printed hoodie, the Bermudas with biker’s jacket, as well as the Bundi/kurta and pant creation. Women’s wear made fashion statements with a drawstring waist jacket, and great pant/top and cropped jacket with an attached backpack, 2-button wrap skirt with a biker’s jacket, a funky pleated apron skirt and the long-knit jacket.
With reversible garments as the focal point of the collection, the apparel had a seasonless appeal with limitless possibilities. Here was streetwear with separates taking centre stage as ready-to-wear options. Aimed at the young global dresser, bomber jackets, sweatshirts with bold slogans and cropped trousers ensured that the relaxed silhouettes and prints, some with the reversible options would be ideal wardrobe additions.
From daily wear to timeless staples the ‘All2Defy’ label from Ananya Modi Jain offered a variety of stylish options.
CHANDRIMA AGNIHOTRI – RURAL CRAFT DIVERSITY
The ‘Chandrima’ label launched in 2019 by Chandrima Agnihotri was created after much thought and a solid professional base. A graduate of fashion design from the National Institute of Fashion Technology, Mumbai, Chandrima further honed her skills in fashion designing with industry stalwarts like Rohit Bal, Abu Jani and Sandeep Khosla.
Throughout the collection called “Warps of Mélange”, the distinct embroidery of the Jat community of Kutch was the leitmotif of the collection. Amalgamating the craft forms with techniques and fabrics, Chandrima presented them in a variety of international silhouettes. With an aim to preserve the cross-stitch style of embroidery from Kutch, Chandrima had jumpsuits with side embellishments or wide collars edged with the craft, which will be sure-fire winners with the fashionistas.
Adding European hand cutwork lace, Chandrima further accentuated the beauty of the garments and gave them a striking visual appeal. Creating a fashion stir on the catwalk was the intricately crafted off-white jacket.
The cutwork on the garments was exquisite and appeared on jackets, slim sleek dresses with embroidery and the black intricately cut-worked maxi with mutton-chop sleeves. Pleating was detailing for a floppy-sleeved dress with an embroidered waistband, the peasant style long skirt with blouse and bolero had a rustic flavour.
MANNAT SETHI AND HARSHA KANDHARI – A SWEET AGE-OLD TRADITION
‘Graine’ is a label that has an amazing collaboration between mind and soul. A finance whiz kid Harshna Kandhari, teamed up with Mannat Sethi, a history of art and design degree student from the National Institute of Fashion Technology.
The duo’s debut collection at Lakmé Fashion Week Summer/Resort 2020 had an Indian sweet “Kaju Katli” as its inspiration. Giving the theme a New Age appeal the pair re-used discarded rubber tyres then reworked them into embellishments by painstakingly hand cutting them into strips and shapes that were embroidered with zardosi handwork. The Indian sweets’ colours, shapes and textures were recreated on the garments when sheer shirts and relaxed shimmering trousers made an impact, while transparent fluid palazzos were topped with long-sleeved, white, thigh-length tunic sporting intricate work.
Sheer layers were favoured for maxis, while the black frilled skirt had a fun element. The intricate detailing for the silver/ grey, long, skirt, choli and sheer dupatta gave this traditional trio a more contemporary touch. High pleated necklines for the robes and the glitter on the collection ensured that this was a line that will look great after the sunsets.