Best of India Couture Week 2016
1. Rohit Bal
The master of intricate craftsmanship was inspired by the opulence of the Russian Czars and aristocracy. He appears to be caught between his love for Kashmir and his fascination with the excesses of the Russian regime which resonated with his own aesthetic of extreme luxury. The dichotomy and marriage of the two cultures is evident in every aspect of the collection.
The florals of Kashmir met the baroque gilded trellises from a bygone era. Kashmiri kani and crewel work flowed into rich golden zardozi work. The decadence of one welded beautifully with the austerity of the other. The colour palette stuck to reds, whites and blacks – a signature of Bal’s.
The silhouettes were typically fluid, voluminous and extravagant. Structured jackets were worn on dresses and full skirts. The bold modernity of the silhouettes lent elegance and chicness to a collection that could’ve been buoyed down by excesses.
We love: The regal but modern jewellery in the form of crowns, tiaras, belts and sashes.
2. Anamika Khanna
Anamika Khanna presented a collection that was equal parts innovative and rooted in tradition. Her attempt to move towards classics was successful as the clothes had a timelessness about them. They were adorned with the designer’s trademark flawless craftsmanship in the form of surface embroideries and interesting textures. 3D flowers and petals made of organza were seen on dresses, bustiers and blouses. Calico threadwork, pearls and subtle zardozi, all made appearances.
The colour palette that started with ethereal ivories and soft pastels ended with bold blacks and reds. The silhouettes were mostly draped and fluid, peppered with a few of her signature structured jackets. She reinterpreted classics like the saree and the sharara by modernising them.
We love: The dupattas worn as capes, with lehengas and dresses, which was her interpretation of the old school odhna.
3. Varun Bahl
Florals, a Bahl signature, ruled the ramp at his Couture Week show, albeit in a more vintage avatar than usual. The move away from the usual bridal palette of traditional Indian colours was a refreshing one. The soft pastels like duck-egg blue, pistachio and pale pink were followed by midnight blue and darker tones of blush pinks, peaches and reds.
While the threadwork and embroidery were Indian, the flowers depicted were vintage English ones, with a few tropical motifs thrown in. The silhouettes for women were kept lightweight, with global updates on traditional forms.
We love: His take on Indian menswear, especially the new crisp, narrow silhouettes shown in both long and short versions of kurtas.
4. Rahul Mishra
Rahul Mishra’s collection titled Monsoon Diaries was as dreamy as the name promised. A delicate and refined aesthetic ran through the collection. While the clothes were adorned and embellished with embroidery, they weren’t weighed down by it. In fact the fabrics, which included sheer nets and tulles among others, made the clothes rather lightweight, elegant and easy-to-wear. Along with flora, the fauna of a rain soaked garden like colourful peacocks and butterflies also made appearances.
Long kurta-coats with full skirts, sarees, lehengas and dresses were staples, along with cape-like jackets.
We love: The looks in shades of lavender and purple that washed into the blacks, much like an overcast sky.
5. Gaurav Gupta
His collection was a confluence of English, Greek, Roman and Indian influences. His trademark sculptural gowns were front and center, along with a few stitched sarees and lehengas with capes. Gaurav Gupta being the master draper that he is, this season experimented with more sculpted drapes. This lead to swathes of organza ruffles under corseted or bodycon gowns.
The running motif of the collection were waves, frozen in time. Everything from pearls and tassels to crystals were used to make them shine. This collection will be perfect for bride with a fiercely modern, global aesthetic.
We love: The colour palette that ranged from the deep blues of seas to the azure of skies, followed by the romantic tones of blush pink, lavender and pistachio green.
3 trends to try this wedding season:
1. Off-shoulder blouses
Since off-shoulder tops and dresses have been sweeping the international and Indian runways for the last couple of seasons, it was about time this trend filtered into the bridal couture shows. For a sexy look, wear a fitted off-shoulder blouse. For a more flirty, sweet ensemble, opt for a loose, crop-top version.
2. Dupattas as capes
A recurring trend you can try this year is dupattas worn as capes a la Anamika Khanna. On a more sculptural lehenga or kurta, the dupatta can replaced by a cape, as seen in Rahul Mishra and Gaurav Gupta’s collections.
3. Shirts or jackets as cholis
While there were many versions of the tiny, glittering choli as you know it, many designers experimented with longer tops or jackets worn as blouses over lehengas. Changing up your choli with a loose top or a fitted jacket will give your outfit a modern update, broaden the occasions and events you can wear a lehenga to and increase the repeatability of the ensemble.