Designers and beauty brands - new tie-ups in the making

New Delhi, Aug 25 (IANS) If some seasoned fashion designers widened their horizons in 2012 by stepping into the lifestyle space or writing books, popular names of the Indian fashion industry are busy tying up with leading cosmetic brands this year to explore new creative mediums.

Take, for example, veteran designer Ritu Kumar. She has teamed up with direct selling beauty company Oriflame to create a range of accessories for women.

Also, cosmetic giant Lakme has signed a deal with celebrated designer Sabyasachi Mukherjee for its new Lakme Absolute Royal collection. This limited edition collection pays a tribute to the regal era of queens and will transcend to silhouettes at the grand finale of Lakme Fashion Week (LFW) winter-festive 2013 on Tuesday.

Vikram Phadnis, one of Bollywood's much-loved designers, has associated with cosmetic brand Pond's for his LFW line. Phadnis will showcase a collection of western silhouettes inspired by the Pond's Gold Radiance range.

The designer feels the "sky is the limit for creativity" and associating with a beauty brand "is a natural progression".

"As a designer, I interact with different people, skin tones, body types and personalities. A beauty brand and a fashion designer are in the business of enhancing beauty and hence, there is a connect," Phadnis told IANS.

"For example, my upcoming collection at LFW is inspired by the Pond's Gold Radiance and epitomises this ultimate radiance that gold stands for," he added.

Ritu Kumar and Oriflame's association is special as it marks 17 successful years of the cosmetic brand's existence in the country. It aims to highlight the company's new brand promise - "Your Dreams Our Inspiration".

Talking about Ritu Kumar's association with the brand, Sharmili Rajput, marketing director, Oriflame India, said: "Both Ritu Kumar and Oriflame are inspired by traditions and nature and this inspiration is reflected in Oriflame's products and Ritu Kumar's designs.

"The collection is a unique combination of beauty, style and Indian tradition, and we are honoured to be associated with the first lady of the Indian fashion industry."

Ritu Kumar believes such associations will help both the designer and the brand to expand their global reach.

"Women today are confident about themselves and of the choices that they make. A part of this is to be able to access accessories and fashion cosmetics which enhance personalities.

"Today's woman is comfortable in her own identity, and the range we have created is both classical in its inspiration and blends with the products from Oriflame," Ritu Kumar told IANS.

Designers treading new paths away from their stores and the runway is not new. But how important is it for them to explore other creative mediums?

"I would not say it is the need of the hour. But, yes, I believe in a concept rather than a collection being made for the runway. Exploring another creative medium is a challenge that gives me a high and I feel like I am exploring a new world," said Phadnis.

"When you explore another creative medium, there are no limitations or pre-conceived ideas. You start right from scratch and this gives birth to a collection that is innovative, dramatic and fresh," he added.

Such tie-ups away from the core collections of the designer have been varied in type and style over the years.

Ace designer Rohit Bal is among the few names to have a range of collaborations to his credit - Hidesign, Oriflame, Mitsubishi Outlander and Zippo are some of the brands that he has tied up with.

Designer Suneet Varma is another person who believes in lending his name and creativity to different products and brands. He also brought the international luxury brand Armani Junior to India through his Unique Eye Luxury Apparel Pvt. Ltd firm.

Add Manav Gangwani to the list. He holds a stake in Infinite Luxury Brands Pvt. Ltd., a company jointly set up by him, Dubai-based entrepreneur Sahiba Narang and finance expert Rahul Kapoor. As part of his association, he managed to bring Italian luxury brand Roberto Cavalli to the Indian fashion market.

Then, the internationally popular Ritu Beri, a pioneer of the Indian fashion industry, experimented with the mighty pen for her book titled "Firefly - A Fairytale". The book was her way of relating her journey in the design world.

From drawing sketches to writing a book - this is a transition also taken by other designers like Wendell Rodricks, Pallavi Jaikishen and Samant Chauhan too.

(Nivedita Sharma can be contacted at nivedita.s@ians.in)

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