There was a lot of derivative and mediocre fashion at the Lakmé Fashion Week’s (LFW’s) Winter/Festive 2016 edition, which concluded in Mumbai last Sunday. It may not be a glowing opening line for a piece on why seasonal trends matter, but it’s only when mediocrity is dominant that brilliant work gets noticed. This is a truism at most fashion weeks, for there is a multiplicity of them. But since multiple designers participate in most shows at the LFW, its five days run a bigger risk of becoming a glut, representing an industry that may be adding numbers in the form of younger, untried designers but little heft through innovation.

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Even so, Indian fashion, as it stands today, is a bundle of provocative polarities. There is a constant churn and restlessness. Sometimes, extraordinary talent surges through like a wave. Some designers display market insight. And there are some admirable instances of brand definition and experimentation with fabric and silhouette.

Here is a selection of moments that stood out. In some cases, the clothes were the stars of the show; in others, the format and execution broke the boundaries that fashion must, distinguishing attention-seeking gimmicks from new frontiers.

Milliner and accessories designer Shilpa Chavan curated the much-publicized plus-sized fashion show, the first such in the country. She styled 10 debutant models to highlight the current trend of body positivism. Chavan calls her show “a strong statement, a movement and a challenge”, and says it is one thing to argue for inclusivity in fashion and another to actually do it. She styled the 10 models (chosen out of the 160 who auditioned) in clothes by aLL, trying an assortment of accessories and looks, but none from her own creations. “Fashion week is for business. Designers will have no choice but to create plus-sized fashion if we have to be relevant for a majority,” she says.

Garg, an established name in design intervention for hand-weaving, added a compelling nuance to his work with his collection Monkey Business. Shown (unfortunately) in a humid and poorly lit venue that diminished its overall impact—the parking lot of the Palladium mall in Mumbai—Monkey Business meant business. It showed the best silhouettes of this season. Working on “pleating” as the core, inspired by sari pleats that enable movement, he rethought how fabric is wrapped around the body, creating skirts, shirts, saris, lehngas, trousers in woven Banarasi brocade, silks, tissue, Mashru and Gajji silk. Quilting, printing and minimal embroidery were employed as techniques. “I want to create the stitched sari without using a single stitch,” says Garg. It was a standout assembly.

Planet Love, a limited-edition line by The Small Shop designers JasonAnshu, was one of the outstanding showcases at the LFW. This wasn’t a ramp show but an artistic display with models who stood on podiums, doubling up as installations in a room doused in neon glow, for the audience to walk around them. The loveliest part was the distinct fusion of silk and crêpe fabrics with techniques like flamingo patchwork, textured stockings, and a cocktail evening dresses with panels stitched together. Capris, bomber jackets, dresses with hoodies, a couple of asymmetrical dresses in soft colours—aqua green, pale lilac, crayon pink, soft grey and black. Coloured hair, unconventional headgear, floral anklets gave it a youthful, optimistic vibe. Nothing brashly rebellious, nothing conformist either.

Stainless steel yarn woven with pure silk was Pratap’s tool to create a glamorous spin on the school-style uniform. Modelled by Bollywood star Jacqueline Fernandez, the Pratap show launched Trends, an apparel and accessories format of Reliance Retail. Pratap sent out Fernandez wearing a skirt, shirt, jacket and trousers in silver as she meandered through piles of books on striking pointy stilettos. One look and you know the garment (and the collection) is another notable example of Pratap’s weaving dexterity.

“Never has Kareena (Kapoor Khan) looked so ravishing as a show-stopper,” said a spectator at Sabyasachi’s finale, titledIlluminate, for the LFW. The mom-to-be, who is the face of Lakmé Absolute, wore a silver-embroidered and sequinned bridal ensemble with a ‘maang tikka’, her head covered with an embellished diaphanous ‘dupatta’. The moment managed a beauty sweep, a visibly pregnant Kapoor Khan, her hand suggestively on her belly, wearing clothes that can only add an overdrive to Sabyasachi’s carefully constructed business of bridal couture. There were many other garments, including bejewelled micro mini sets, saris and ‘lehngas’. But Kapoor Khan’s natural radiance stole the show.

Inspired by French artist Henri Rousseau, designer duo Shivan & Narresh sent out a collection with linear textures created from crafted leatherette and “skein work”. The latter was a geometric intervention of floral motifs in thin resin. “Resin and leatherette are water-resistant and light to wear,” says Narresh. Thinly cut resin strips featured as tuberoses, opium buds and kites on garments made from neoprene or Italian jersey. Palazzos, saris, skirts, shrugs, bralettes, draped gowns, jumpsuits and swim shorts completed the looks for “destination weddings”. “The resin surface treatment gives lustre to clothes, while sheaths of thin leatherette give a brush-metal look. This technique will remain in the brand’s library for years to come,” adds Narresh. And so it will in the Indian fashion vocabulary too.

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Purple reign! Melanie Brown — aka Mel B — showcased every curve on her body in a skintight latex cocktail evening dresses in Los Angeles on Wednesday, August 31.

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The America’s Got Talent judge, 41, headed to lunch at Serafina in a purple latex minidress with a nude inset, long sleeves and an open back that displayed an edgy tattoo above her left shoulder. To match her dress, she put on a sky-high pair of purple suede Christian Louboutin pumps. A few gold bracelets and round black sunglasses with mirrored silver shades served as her accessories. For most of the day, including her time in front of the AGT camera, the former Spice Girl wore her brunette hair in a structured topknot. But that evening, she let her locks cascade in a high ponytail that reached her shoulders.

This isn’t the only wild outfit that fans should expect from Mel B, the mom of Phoenix, 17,Angel, 9, and Madison, 5. Along with GEM, a trio that includes her fellow former Spice GirlsGeri “Ginger Spice” Halliwell and Emma “Baby Spice” Bunton, she dropped a huge hint to her loyal devotees. The group — minus Victoria “Posh Spice” Beckham and Mel “Sporty Spice” Chisolm — thanked their fans in a July 8 YouTube video to celebrate the 20th anniversary of “Wannabe,” which dropped in 1996.

"We've been thinking, we have the best fans in the whole entire world. … We want to celebrate and have a party! And when we do, you’re all invited,” Brown said, slyly addressing the rumors of a reunion tour.

While Mel B’s sexy cheap prom dresses certainly spiced up our lives, we must ask: Do you love it or hate it? Vote in the poll below and let Usknow!



But The Sun can reveal mum Patsy, 66, was uninvited after a series of rows led to an ultimatum about her attendance.

Relations between the pair are said to have been strained for months.

Tensions first arose when they fell out at the christening of Samia and Sylvain’s first child Yves, one, last year.

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Relations between the pair have reportedly been strained for months

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The actress is said to have refused to let Patsy join in any of the wedding planning or marieprom shopping

A source said: “Patsy was left sitting at the back of the church during Yves’ christening. She felt isolated and an unwanted granny.

“There’s been tension between the pair ever since.”

The actress, Maria Connor in the ITV soap, is later said to have refused to let Patsy join in any of the wedding planning or dress shopping.

She even cut her out of her hen-do spa party.

There is also said to be friction between Patsy and Sylvain, 36.

But the final straw came during “the mother of all rows” in June.

It ended with Patsy giving Samia a “yes or no” ultimatum about whether or not she was wanted at the wedding.

She was struck off the invite list and the pair have not spoken since.

A source said: “Samia might be all smiles on screen but behind closed doors it’s been nothing but a nightmare for her.

“Her ongoing family feud is more suited to something from Coronation Street than real life.

“Some people were shocked her mum wasn’t there. It’s very sad.”

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