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India's colorful catwalk catches the world's eye

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As he spoke, Mr. Nair gestured around him at the setting of India's Fashion Week, a clean, airy space with black-and-white furniture designed by the FDCI in a corner of Pragati Maidan, a crumbling concrete conference center in central Delhi.

Outside, stray dogs sniffed piles of stinking litter. But inside, fashionistas in vertiginous heels and short frocks rushed from show to show clutching skinny lattes.

India's fashion business is still small: Indian designer-wear is thought to generate between $50 million and $250 million in sales in a market segment worth some $35 billion.

But new designers are quick to point out that a year ago, no Indian designer had shown at Paris Fashion Week. Since last October, three of the country's brightest fashion stars – Manish Arora, Anamika Khanna, and Rajesh Pratap Singh – have done so.

Watching the catwalk from the front rows, buyers from boutiques in North America, Europe, Japan, and the Middle East said they were eager to scout out new Indian talent.

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