Are we hugging yet?: Personal notes from FDCI x LFW

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FDCI x LFW, the primary really phygital Indian vogue week put up pandemic, featured 11 on-ground exhibits. Private notes from the second version

The phrase ‘phygital’ (a coming collectively of the bodily and digital worlds) was filed for copyright in 2013 by Momentum, an Australian advert company, however 2020 noticed it talked about in every single place. That the style world would adapt to it has been a revelation.

Most not too long ago, we had the FDCI x Lakmé Style Week — the primary post-pandemic phygital present in India within the true sense of the phrase — that includes 11 on-ground bodily exhibits (with on-line showcases), and digital previews. For these of us who discover inspiration, freedom and livelihoods within the Indian vogue scene, this was excellent news.

Tarun Tahiliani’s set at FDCI x Lakmé Fashion Week, Jio World Convention Centre

Tarun Tahiliani’s set at FDCI x Lakmé Style Week, Jio World Conference Centre
 
| Picture Credit score: Vaqaas Mansuri

A giant new world

Jio Conference Centre was the venue (FDCI x LFW was held as a pre-launch occasion for the house). It seemed bigger as the gang was miniscule. The standard drinks lounges, media centres, and cafeterias weren’t part of the plan. And with its excessive ceilings and tech-driven safety, it was the most secure I’d felt in a public place shortly.

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There was a strict masks, RT-PCR, and vaccination protocol to enter exhibits, and Neeraj Gaba, the present director, mentioned, “We have been examined daily for 12 days, quarantined alone earlier than the bodily exhibits started, and maintained safety bubbles.” The viewers sat six ft aside, on particular person chairs, in circles (gone are the times of combating for a entrance row seat). However I missed the thrill of stylists, photographers, bloggers, editors and celebs hanging round exhibits and stalls.

Kareena Kapoor Khan and Gaurav Gupta at the FDCI x LFW finale — a drive-in show with an aquatic-themed set

Kareena Kapoor Khan and Gaurav Gupta on the FDCI x LFW finale — a drive-in present with an aquatic-themed set
 
| Picture Credit score: Vaqaas Mansuri

Hiya from the opposite facet

Many people have been seeing our friends for the primary time for the reason that begin of the pandemic. There was hilarious confusion earlier than greeting anybody — ‘Are we hugging but?’ — and air kisses are actually a correct vogue joke.

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As I walked out of a present, Mitali Rannorey, a mannequin I’ve styled a number of occasions, texted me: “So glad to see you within the viewers right now! I can’t come nearer as a result of we’re in a bubble!” After I requested her how the 2021 expertise was, she replied, “Strolling on the ramp feels the identical — the blinding lights and music make every part else disappear. However I miss the folks.”

The Reunion

Whereas not formally on the FDCI x LFW roster, Vaishali S’ bridal line, Shakuntala, was the primary bodily present I attended in 18 months, a day earlier than vogue week formally started. On the Taj Mahal Palace lodge ballroom, it was Shadunglae’s first outing in India after her Paris Couture Week debut in July. It featured signature cording method on lehengas and fusion ensembles. Her dedication to indigenous weaves was commendable, however for some seems to be it didn’t translate nicely.

Tarun Tahiliani with the models before his show

Tarun Tahiliani with the fashions earlier than his present
 

In stark distinction — for the primary day, first present — veteran couturier Tarun Tahiliani opened the calendar with a mind-boggling 78-ensemble present (with mini capsules of crafts). “Neighborhood is of paramount significance; it grew to become important that we assist, assist, and information one another,” mentioned Tahiliani, as he put a celebration of Indian karigari on full show.

“Each FDCI and Lakmé Style Week share a long-standing relationship with Tarun. It solely felt pure to have him preview ‘The Reunion’, as each platforms returned to a joint phygital showcase,” mentioned Sunil Sethi, chairman of FDCI. There was a lot to soak up, however for me his chikankari experience stood out. It was good to see some acquainted faces on the catwalk, however sadly, but once more, I observed just one plus-size mannequin. The scene stealer throughout all of the exhibits I watched was non-binary, queer mannequin Tarun (from Mumbai-based FEAT company). He has beforehand walked for Marni internationally, and flits simply between menswear and womenswear seems to be.

A model at the R | Elan x Abraham & thakore show

A mannequin on the R | Elan x Abraham & thakore present
 
| Picture Credit score: Vaqaas Mansuri

Sustainability is as sustainability does

Abraham and Thakore showcased their new line in collaboration with R|Elan, a aware material firm by Reliance. The materials are recycled (from PET bottles), however are nonetheless polyester. Are they ‘sustainable’, I puzzled? “Sustainability can’t be checked out solely from a yarn and material perspective,” David Abraham advised me over a name from Bengaluru. “If we’re capable of reuse current materials to remake one thing, for use over a time period, it matches within the round vogue promise and is way extra sustainable than creating one thing fully new.”

Coasters from Green Sutra

Coasters from Inexperienced Sutra
 

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One other ‘Sustainable Day’ enterprise: Inexperienced Sutra. Sustainability consultants, they coach purchasers in rainwater harvesting, recycling supplies successfully, amongst others. FDCI X LFW partnered with them to gather used and discarded PET bottles, plastic packets, and many others, and recycled them on the venue, earlier than creating rustic however on-trend coasters and earrings for friends to take residence. The organisers hinted at this being a long-term affiliation, with a plan in place to report and implement the learnings.

Present and inform

“There isn’t a digital medium that may change the human expertise, the jamming of individuals at precise occasions,” Nishant Gadhok of Gently Altered — an organization that elevates occasion expertise by way of sound and lightweight design — advised me as he closed the finale. However he acknowledged that the time away from bodily occasions has helped him realign his visible language. And that’s one thing we’d like.

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Internationally, vogue weeks that returned to bodily exhibits this season have proven a number of creativity. As an example, earlier this month, Balenciaga’s Spring Summer season 2022 present in Paris took an revolutionary flip. Artistic director Demna Gvasalia had friends, fashions and celebs stroll the purple carpet, after which watch a model new Simpsons episode — the place the characters walked as fashions and made jibes about how costly the garments have been. An immersive expertise the place the viewers grew to become part of the present.

Sure, making vogue weeks go stay as soon as once more in India is the 1st step, however fashioning them to be extra inventive will assist carry some enjoyable in step two.