India has long been a creator and manufacturer of high fashion for Western designers and brands such as Dries van Noten and Christian Louboutin. Now, the country’s homegrown talent is hitting the global stage and will be on show in Hong Kong during the first edition of ICE (Indian Couture Experience) on March 18.
The one-day event was conceived and is being curated by Ankita Sareen Batra, a former model and managing partner of Delhi-based creative agency Green Room Creative.
“I’m a globetrotter and noticed a need and demand for good Indian designers in countries like Hong Kong (sic), Singapore and Australia. Not only do these places have a big Indian community but locals are also looking to discover new talent. Our designers aren’t easy to access outside of India, so I wanted to bring them to a new audience,” says Batra.
ICE, which will be held at a showroom in Kennedy Town, will feature a range of labels, from bridal and ready-to-wear designers to accessories brands – a mix of high-profile names favoured by Bollywood actresses to rising stars in the fashion world.
“I want to change the current mindset of the international market, who have this very clichéd view that Indian designers only create clothes with heavy embroidery, that are gaudy and over-the-top. In truth, India has amazing designers who can appeal to a range of aesthetics, whether it’s minimalist and understated to powerful and glamorous,” says Batra.
Headliners at the event include designer Nikhil Thampi – a favourite of stars such as Deepika Padukone and Priyanka Chopra – who is known for his glamorous red-carpet gowns, body-conscious dresses and chic jumpsuits. Many of the collections also highlight Indian craftsmanship, which is given a modern twist by designers such as Zoraya and Pariah Pranami, who will be showcasing her Boho-inspired pieces handmade from traditional silks.
Lola by Suman B is another Bollywood favourite thanks to her casual yet luxe staples such as sheer blouses, calf-length dresses accented with details such as hand-drawn prints. There also will be costume jewellery by Prerto and home accessories by Casa Pop.
While the majority of clothing will be Western in silhouette, there are some traditional collections that will also appeal to foreigners and prospective brides. Favourites include those of Gujurat-based designers Shyamal & Bhumika, who are known for heritage textiles and traditional crafts, and modern East-meets-West silhouettes by Izzumi Mehta, including long, cape-style tops with palazzo pants. Prices range from US$200 to US$2,000.
The event will also include makeovers and styling sessions.
“We really want to bring in the Chinese and expat community. So many of these pieces can work for different events or occasions, no matter what your culture,” says Batra.