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M ASTER couturier Rohit Bal cast a veritable spell over the Capital's fashion fraternity, with a gorgeous couture collection titled Husn- e- Taa'iraat, or beauty of the bird, at the Amazon India Couture Week 2015.

Day 4 of the grand event turned into one which fashionistas won't forget in a long time, for in true spirit of grandeur and regality, Bal transformed the royal ballroom of The Imperial hotel into a valley of elegance with trees placed on the runway bearing real apples and pomegranates.

The excitement in the hall was palpable even before the show began as voices

before the show began as voices and laughter of guests rose and mingled with the charged atmosphere.

After a few rounds of champagne and spirits, the lights dimmed and the backdrop on the runway came alive as a large skirt opened up with ropes to the playful tunes of a live pianist and cellist.

The collection began in shades of cream with models dressed in chic maxi coats over crinkled floorlength angrakha s. White flowers made of cloth formed clusters on tilted headbands, the cuffs and around the necks of models -- somewhat like the frilled collaret of pantomime character Pierrot of the early 18th century. And like the character existed for his beloved, Bal showcased his deep love for nature and birds with the exquisite embroidery on the garment pieces.

Almost photographic, the embroidery captured birds in flight with remarkable precision and detail.

Models sauntered down the ramp with theatrical aplomb, holding filled flute glasses in hand, posing on round elevated stages and sitting on guests' laps as part of the act. Famous names like Noyonika Chatterjee, Sonalika Sahay, Carol Gracias and Tamara Moss flirted away with a visibly happy Bal, with hugs and flying kisses galore.

The next round of ensembles moved to the contrasting colour of black velvets with vibrant embroidery and brocade inner lining. Women's wear saw a host of jackets in varying lengths and cuts, angrakha s, saris, and full lehenga skirts while menswear was treated to smart bandhgala s and Jodhpur pants with embroidered slip- on shoes.

the finale round was met with Bal's customary jig on the runway and camera flashes going off to capture the moment. The couturier was later lavished with praise and congratulatory hugs, including from FDCI president Sunil Sethi and ace couturier Sabyasachi Mukherjee.

In a statement, Bal said: "I have always wondered what it is about art and fashion that makes it so elusive, sometimes intimidating, but always thought provoking... ( Auguste) Rodin explains it quite simply. ' The main thing is to be moved, to love, to hope, to tremble, to live.' I feel also of these emotions. I breathe and consume Bridal wear slipped into the territory of deep maroon tones with gold and red embroidery as model Rikee Chatterjee led the way in a lehenga- choli set with a pink brocade dupatta drape.

The show was filled with rounds of applause, whistles and hoots from the admiring audience, and

all these thoughts." On the collection, the note stated: "It is a tribute to the incredible artisans and craftsmen of my country. It is a tribute to the beauty of wildlife, birds and flowers that found expression in the Indian decorative arts and flow through my collection today." As always, the front row had a strong presence with names such as Rajeev Sethi, Kalyani Saha Chawla, Suhel Seth, Jeh Bajaj, Subodh Gupta and Bharti Kher, Jalal Salahuddin among others.

At a time when the future of workmanship, embroidery and craftsmanship of the country lays uncertain and often questioned, Rohit Bal's work of finesse is a mark of pride for all.

B- Town beauties rock the runway

By Radhika Bhalla

WHO would have thought that Day 4 of the Amazon India Couture Week 2015 would turn into a dazzling show of Bollywood sensations in traditional wear! Saturday afternoon started off with designer Reynu Taandon's show titled Shahbanu, that was inspired by Persian culture and architecture and featured intricate zardozi gold embroidery and sequins work on long angrakha s and velvet kameez es with lehenga skirts and choli s. Masaan star Richa Chadha walked the runway as the showstopper in a heavily embellished red and gold lehenga set wit a gold organza dupatta covering her head.

Her royal wedding look was completed with a maang tika , side pasa , nath and necklace in kundan work. The show was accompanied by live music by Sufi qawwali group Nizami Bandhu, who have also sung a song for the latest hit movie Bajrangi Bhaijaan.

Next, yummy mummy Shilpa Shetty Kundra glided in gold for designer- duo Rimple and Harpreet Narula in a super sexy lehenga and choli set for their collection titled Maharajah & Co. Inspired by the Days of the Raj -- from then Calcutta to Kapurthala to chic Parisian saloons -- the line showcased smart, ethnic ensembles, including lehenga s with sleeveless jacketblouses, sweeping anarkali s, saris and capes in shades of ivory, beige, burnished gold and ruby. Shilpa looked stunning with her voluminous hair cascading down her shoulders, and just a statement necklace for extra attention.

For the third show, Kolkata- based designer Debarun Mukherjee traced the history of Indian cinema from the 1930s till modern times with the help of two Bollywood beauties.

Guddu Rangeela star Aditi Rao Hydari opened the show in a vintage avatar, dressed in a delicate pale blue- grey high- waisted lehenga and colour gradient sleeveless choli . A delicate dupatta and side- parted wavy hair with a side hair brooch completed the look. Moving through the decades, the designer presented many more traditional styles with embroidery work like zardozi , floral applique and brocade work on anarkali s and lehenga sets in a host of colours. For the ' heroes' of the show, there were bandhgala s, kurta s and jackets with regally draped shawls.

Chitrangada Singh closed the show looking beautiful as ever in an ivory coloured lehenga with red flower patterns embroidered on it, with a red choli and green shade dupatta. She wore a choker necklace to complete the look.

"It was so much fun and the collection actually looked like it is inspired from cinema... What I am wearing is gorgeous," Chitrangada said adding: "Aditi looked lovely. Our looks were so different even though both were Indian. She looked very pretty." Aditi Rao Hydari rocks the vintage look in a blue- grey lehenga- choli set by Debarun; Chitrangada Singh ( below left) closed the show for the Kolkatabased designer as she took to the ramp in another elaborate outfit.

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Publication:Mail Today (New Delhi, India)
Date:Aug 3, 2015
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