Indian designers woo Australia with chiffons and silks

May 7th, 2008 - 11:07 am ICT by admin  

By Neena Bhandari
Sydney, May 7 (IANS) From cricket to costumes, as everything Indian permeates the Australian consciousness, two of India’s brightest new design talents - Vineet Bahl and Anupama Dayal - have attracted buyers and swayed audiences with their collections shown at the just concluded Rosemount Australian Fashion Week (RAFW) in the Harbour city. “Australians have been looking for costumes that go beyond ethnicity and blend with modernity. They love flowing fabrics - chiffon, georgette, silks, tussars, which have been a good selling point,” says Delhi-based designer Bahl, whose work was chosen as one of the top six looks of the season at the RAFW.

Bahl and Dayal are spending this week here to capitalise on the opportunities thrown open by participating in the RAFW, which concluded May 2.

On his first show in Australia, Bahl said: “It has definitely been a brilliant beginning. It is tremendous for India, Indian designers and for Australia.”

“Indian tradition itself is an inspiration. We are looking to the West, but have our strong Indian roots. My collections are very feminine and colourful. I use a lot of thread-work, embroidery and Victorian lace,” Bahl told IANS.

Trained at Nottingham Trent University, Bahl began his career as an assistant to designer Tarun Tahiliani and launched his label in 2003. His label now sells from international boutiques that include Apo in Paris, In Diva in Toronto, Krause Miller in Germany and Mann in Amsterdam and major stores like Ensemble, Aza and Collage in India.

The main challenge facing the two designers has been the season. While countries in the northern hemisphere are preparing for the spring-summer collection, in Australia it is time for autumn-winter.

Bahl’s “trans-seasonal” collection spanned garments ranging from summer to winter. He has had huge interest from David Jones, which is Australia’s oldest and most prestigious department store starting in 1838.

Both designers have kept in mind the fashion sensibilities of a different continent.

“My design philosophy is to achieve a global appearance with an Indian soul. I want every woman to look like a queen and I design with that philosophy in mind,” said Dayal, who has received orders from luxury boutiques in Perth, Brisbane and Melbourne, besides Sydney.

Her label Anupamaa, which was launched in 2004, has had tremendous success in the high fashion world. It is available at international luxury stores that include Indonesia’s Jane Hawkins, Maldives’ Thudufushi Island Resort, Turkey’s Asli Sargin, Greece’s Saks, Italy’s Nai, Portugal’s Cannelle, Spain’s Exclusive and Flamenco, Kuwait’s Moda-In, New York’s Indomix and in India at Ensemble, Ogaan and others.

“In Australia, the response from top-end buyers has been overwhelming. I have also had enquires from David Jones,” Dayal told IANS.

Her nature-inspired collection Clover manifests happiness and well being in sync with super nature, full blooms and floral patterns.

“I do have an ecological conscience, making green my favourite colour. I use the fabric as a canvas to express my heart. The elements are uniquely Indian, but the product is modern. The foundation of my work remains the revival of ancient hand printing and needle work techniques,” said Dayal.

The Delhi-based designers participated in the ready-to-wear group collections segment of the RAFW, which was held from April 28 to May 2 against the spectacular backdrop of Sydney’s Circular Quay and the Sydney Harbour. Supermodel Monikangana Dutta walked the ramp for the two Indian designers at the RFAW.

The ready-to-wear group collection shows are a platform for designers with a proven production capability who are continuing to build their brands’ reputation and to gain increased national and international exposure and sales. Bahl and Dayal presented their collection along with a selection of Australia’s and the Asia Pacific’s best designers.

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