Walk into a Vikram Phadnis show and the first thing that will strike you is the bevy of Bollywood beauties occupying the front row. Kareena Kapoor, Malaika Arora Khan, Sushmita Sen or Karisma Kapoor – it’s any paparazzo’s dream come true. But when the show begins it’s the Mumbai-based designer’s opulent creations that steal the show. Indian wear in velvet, brocade and rich silk, gowns and even ready-to-wear embellished with Swarovski crystals, zardozi thread work and delicately woven lace – all worthy of modern day royalty.
Looking at the craftsmanship behind Phadnis’ creations, it’s difficult to believe that he’s not had any formal training in fashion design. Phadnis reveals, “my parents were doctors so it was their wish that I too should practise medicine. I would have been a miserable doctor though!” Before he launched his label 25 years ago, Phadnis started his career as a choreographer for fashion shows. That was his first introduction to the world of fashion and from there the next step was designing costumes for films. His first gig was the blockbuster film Hindustani (1996), “I always loved fabrics and clothes... and working in film was not planned but I loved it.”
For VIVA-LUXE, the Designer said he was looking to create something that would epitomise, “simplicity”, where, “absolutely clean and fuss free lines are the base”. Phadnis is not one to shy away from colour and this collection is no different with a range of cheerful hues as well as traditional shades all embellished with his signature, intricate embroidered motif work. While he does design plenty of international fare – case in point his Fall/Winter 2013 line of cocktail dresses, palazzo trousers and embellished jackets – for VIVA-LUXE, he’s chosen to focus on Asian wear, principally sarees, “I do traditional clothes because I love Indian silhouettes”.