Anamika Khanna to close Lakme Fashion Week 2015

Anamika Khanna might be firmly established as one of the most respected fashion designers in India, but she is still feeling the pressure ahead of her next show. It’s mere days until her creations will be on the ramp for the grand finale of Lakmé Fashion Week summer/resort 2015, one of the biggest events on the Indian fashion calendar, which kicks off tonight in Mumbai.

The strong link between Bollywood and the fashion industry means that a host of celebrities will be at the event representing various designers. Actress Kareena Kapoor is tipped to be the showstopper and will wear one of Khanna’s creations at the grand finale.

Expectations are running high, and Khanna can feel the heat.

“More than excited, I think it’s the nervousness that drives me insane before any collection,” says the 37-year-old designer.

Lakmé Fashion Week, which is celebrating its 15th year, will showcase the hottest names in Indian fashion, including Manish Malhotra, Tarun Tahiliani, Wendell Rodricks and Raghavendra Rathore, plus 84 other participating designers. Khanna, who is based in Kolkata and features among the cream of the crop, nevertheless stays away from the limelight: her shows are few and far between, and she rarely gives interviews.

The theme for the finale is “Sculpt”, during which Lakmé’s new make-up collections will also be showcased.

The collection is “quite edgy” and “quirky”, Khanna says. “It was a challenge for me to be able to [come up with] my own interpretation of what I would interpret as ‘sculpt’.

“It’s a bit of an experimental collection. It’s not just Indian embroidery taken to an Indian silhouette – it’s almost the ­opposite, actually.”

Khanna says she has given a “modern” treatment to Indian outfits.

“Basically what you’re going to see is that I’ve had fun with the collection,” she says. “They’re easy, versatile pieces. They can be dressed up or dressed down. “I’m making my own rules and I’m just enjoying myself doing that. I’ve deconstructed things. I’ve put things together that are not meant to be together.”

Colours will include summery pinks and plums merged with primary colours, as well as her signature use of ivory and black.

Khanna is well known for ­stylishly combining ethnic ­designs and contemporary silhouettes with the use of traditional embroidery techniques.

The designer, who has had no formal training in fashion, says she got into designing “by chance” after she won a competition with some sketches when she was in college.

She has “avoided becoming too commercial” because she prefers to focus on her craft and sees herself as a perfectionist.

“For me it’s about the love of what I do,” says Khanna. “It’s not just about the business. I’ve realised that it needs acute attention. Each and every piece that comes out of here needs special attention and treatment. I’ve decided that I’m going to do what I love to do and not just go into the competitive market and fall into that space.”

• Lakmé Fashion Week summer/ resort 2015 opens today and runs until Sunday. For details, visit

Lakme Fashion Week highlights

Sabyasachi Mukherjee – today

Sabyasachi Mukherjee, whose designer clothes come under the Sabyasachi brand, will open the fashion week this evening. The designer, who lives in Kolkata, has designed costumes for a number of Bollywood films, including Raavan and Babul. His clients include Aishwarya Rai Bachchan, Kareena Kapoor, Renée Zelleweger and Reese Witherspoon. Mukherjee has described his collections as having an “international styling with an Indian soul”. He is known for his use of traditional methods such as bandhani, gota work, block printing and dyeing.

The Blue Fashion Runway by Manish Malhotra – tomorrow

This is the launch of a global campaign by WEvolve, which aims at encouraging young people to challenge norms that lead to gender-based violence, a topical and important issue in India. Celebrities and models are set to join the campaign that will showcase the work of leading Indian designer Manish Malhotra, who is well known for styling for Bollywood’s leading actresses, as well as international celebrities including Michael Jackson, Kate Moss, and Kylie Minogue. “Fashion has a comprehensive and universal appeal and can thus, be a powerful instrument to raise awareness and promote action,” says Malhotra, who is from Mumbai.

Indian handloom and textile day – Thursday

Anavila Misra, Deepika Govind, Kiran Uttam Ghosh, Soumitra Mondal, and Shruti Sancheti will present collections inspired by Indian handloom and textiles. Raghavendra Rathore, who is described as “one of India’s traditional yet avant-garde designers” and is considered one of the biggest names in luxury menswear in India, will close the evening with his collection.