Oct 13, 2008
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Hemlines rise in India fashion despite global doom

Oct 13, 2008

NEW DELHI, Oct 13, 2008 (AFP) - Skirts will inch up when Indian designers launch their new collections at two competing fashion shows this week despite a popular theory linking rising hemlines to a booming economy.

"In these times of global doom and gloom, Indian colours will bring out the bloom," said Sunil Sethi, the president of the Fashion Design Council of India (FDCI), which will host India Fashion Week Wednesday.

"Indian colours and creativity offer the freshness everyone looks for in these times," Sethi told AFP.

The 'hemline theory' proposed by US economist George Taylor in the 1920s says that skirts get shorter when the economy is doing well -- certainly not the case at the moment.

"Our shows are all about luxury. People want to experience luxury, which makes them feel good," said Sumit Nair, consultant to the Delhi Fashion Week that starts Tuesday.

Twenty-three designers will put out their collections at the Delhi Fashion Week to be held at one of India's first luxury fashion malls.

Models will walk the ramps in elaborate tents set up outside the mall, which hosts premium world brands such as Louis Vuitton and Christian Dior.

"The shows will be several notches above anything that has been seen in India in terms of quality and luxury," Nair told AFP.

Designers and organisers said that Indian fashion was still largely insulated from global trends. To a certain degree, the same is true of the country's economy, which is feeling the pinch from the credit crunch but not showing the same degree of panic as elsewhere in the world.

"There is an emphasis on softer colours and comfortable clothing in the West when the economy is doing badly, but we are unlikely to see such a pared down look on the ramps here," Nair said.

Both the rival events say they expect up to 200 buyers each, including from top department stores such as Harvey Nichols and Liberty of Britain.

More than 70 designers will launch their spring-summer 2009 lines with a rich dose of colour and crafts that define Indian fashion.

The highlight of the India Fashion Week will be a grand show by Manish Arora, one of India's most celebrated designers and a favourite with international buyers.

Arora's circus-inspired show will feature his trademark vibrant colours, digitally-printed sequins and traditional Indian embroidery in a line of short dresses and mini skirts.

"The hemlines will be going up as the show is for spring-summer 2009," the designer told AFP. "I do what I want to do, irrespective of trends."

Arora debuted the collection in Paris two weeks ago, sending out models dressed as clowns with whited out make-up and conical hats and real acrobats following them around the stage at the Cirque d'Hiver "Winter Circus" venue.

By Parul Gupta

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