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New Delhi: Actor-model Malaika Arora walked in the colours of Varanasi sunset as she turned muse for designer Sulakshana Monga's clothing line inspired by the temple city at FDCI India Couture Week (ICW) on Thursday.

Dipped in warm hues of yellow and green, Malaika wore a choli and lehenga with a train and net dupatta. She completed the look with emerald drop earrings and necklace, and a loose bun.

The actor, who turned showstopper for Sulakshana for the first time, said walking the ramp for the couturier was a treat.

It's a real pleasure to walk for Sulakshana. I know her work. I'm really glad that I could be here tonight. It is a really beautiful collection, Malaika told reporters at the post-show conference.

She also gave credit to her styling team and designers for making her look good. "They are the ones who work for us tirelessly behind the scenes and I think credit is due to them. We may have a sense of fashion but it is they who put it all together, she added.

From dull pink to red, the 2019 Varanasi collection reflected the Indian culture and heritage through seven colours. It also saw embroidery techniques such as nakshi, dabka, sequins, Swarovski crystals, ghungroos, feathers, raffia and lace with a contemporary take.

With a big marigold waiting at the end of twinkling marigold field, the show began with the sound of Hindu priests chanting shlokas and the ringing of the temple bells, which harked to the spiritual vibe of Varanasi city, and slowly developed into a fusion with Indian Classical music blending into heavy bass and cello tunes.

In womenswear, which was coupled with minimal jewellery and hair tied into neat buns adorned with matching bows with the garments, the showcase ranged from saris, sari lehengas, kurta pants and salwar kurtas.

Some of the lehengas with solid colours of green and yellow had the quintessential windows in the city in fine embroidery, while the others showcased scenes of women chatting at ease and dancing as a part of the wedding festivities.

We tried to create the ghats of Varanasi, the bells, the beautiful jharokhas in the city and the Indian calligraphy in the collection, Sulakshana said.

Talking about her muse for the evening, the designer called Malaika the perfect fit for both Indian and international clothing choices.

Malaika can look good in any garment. She knows how to strike a balance between Indian and western looks, Sulakshana said.

The male models made a groom-like entry as they walked down the ramp to the sound of shehnai, conch and cymbals. Sherwanis with choodidar salwar, choodidar with ghaghra and jacket and heavy embroidery on the cuffs were the major highlights in menswear.

ICW runs through Sunday, July 28.


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