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Runway Report

Manav Gangwani's calling card is handwork at which he excels and his collections are craft-focused exercises in transforming luxurious fabrics into garments fit for a haute bride. And his showcase at India Couture Week. was no different! Titled 'India @70' it was a tribute to the nation's diverse heritage craft. ''India is all about  the co-existence of different cultures and religions and that was the idea behind the collection. Most of us have forgotten this is the seventieth year of Independence so I took inspiration from our rich heritage and designed a collection with elements from each region of India — fabrics, techniques, silhouettes and designs come together to form a perfect amalgamation of traditionalism and authenticity'' he explained before the showcase.


Embodying an ivory, wine, emerald and ink palette, models walked out in saris, anarkalis and voluminous lehengas—crafted with silk brocade, velvet and sheer tissue with gold—some with handwoven textile borders. The couturier had incorporated a kaleidoscope of design from diverse regions in his 70-look showcase — Jamavar from Kashmir, Bandhini from Rajasthan, recurring Kathakali motifs from Kerala and brocades from Varanasi. I personally loved the use of traditional Kathakali motifs, the miniature art of the Mughal Empire and the intricate embroidered motifs depicting scenes from the Mughal era though the audience favourite was clearly a lehenga worn under a sculpted jacket with power shoulders — there was enthusiastic applause for the statement look. In classic pieces, badla, chikankari, zardosi and meenakari served to heighten its impact.


Walking out of The Lodhi, I couldn't help thinking that what was remarkable was the way Manav Gangwani had applied the foundation of couture—time-consuming handwork—to each ensemble, ensuring that through this collection he showcased the best of what India offers.


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