India Couture Week 2014 followed close on the heels of Haute Couture Week held in Paris, and reinforced India’s prowess when it comes to design and craftsmanship. Taking a cue from last year’s Couture Week, there was a continued focus on catering to a younger crowd as the designers experimented with newer, fresher silhouettes.
And while we definitely missed Anamika Khanna, there was still plenty to love this year too. After a thorough scanning of all the looks that set the runways ablaze, we bring you the collections that made us fall in love with Indian couture all over again!
In yet another avant-garde tribute to womanhood, Anju Modi used her collection ‘Manikarnika’ to bring regional craft to the forefront, while staying true to her earthy design sensibility.The line centered around dhoti pants teamed with asymmetrical jackets and cropped jackets and half buttoned full length anarkalis. It was a pairing that felt fresh and fashion forward. The jewellery, as is always the case with Modi, was another highlight.
Gaurav Gupta’s collection was as dramatic and sensual as one would expect it to be. Think sheer panels, peek-a-boo cutouts and unforgiving fits. But there were also a few safe full-skirted lehengas with long brocade jackets and pants paired with structured jackets (to cater to the more conventional market, perhaps?). Gupta’s signature sari-gown made several appearances (how could it not?), this time spruced with stunning, embellished capes.
Hands down the most recognized Indian designer abroad, you can always count on Manish Arora to bring a dash of irreverence, playfulness and eclecticism to a couture showing. At this years show, Arora’s set was full-on disco themed, and saw models walk down the runway in kalidar midi skirts, bell-bottom shararas, plunging (actually that might just be an understatement) necklines, mirror embellishments and statement baubles. Couture kitsch, anyone?
Manish Malhotra’s ‘Portraits’ collection was all about unabashed glamour (what else), with a vintage spin. There was ample of mirror work, zardosi, sequins and resham embroidery. Silhouettes ranged from lehengas and saris paired with jacket-style blouses and unexpected sheer necklines to sleeker, more restrained floor length kurtas. And of course, Bollywood show stoppers—Alia Bhatt and Aditya Roy Kapoor.
An extension of the sentiment of her previous couture showing, Monisha Jaising’s ‘World Bride’ collection continued to target the modern Indian bride who likes her bridal repertoire to be contemporary. Hence there were plenty of draped saris in flirty colours, printed and gleaming gowns and a lehengas galore. The icing on the cake, however, was the black leather lehenga worn with a white shirt and traditional jewellery, modelled by Lisa Haydon. Fierce!
Rohit Bal chose a cocktail preview over a runway show to display his capsule collection, one that was replete with classic, free-flowing anarkalis, saris and lehengas in ivory, spruced with elegant jewellery. The pop of color came by way of the menswear on display.
Sabyasachi’s show was drenched in the genius and sheer magnificence that only this Kolkatta-based designer can bring to the table. His collection ‘Ferozabad’ retained the maharani-chic, vintage vibe his creations are generally associated with (in fact, many felt that the entire collection had a sense of déjà vu), albeit with a relatively more modern touch. There was a special focus on menswear in bright chintz too. The set, which resembled a luxury train headed to Ferozabad in Uttar Pradesh, was the real hero though.
A fresh collection, targeted at a younger clientele, Varun Bahl’s showing had a varied color palette—starting with noir and then moving on to ivory, teal, canary yellow and bridal pink and red. Sure the conventional bridal pieces made an appearance, but what really caught our eye were the asymmetrical kurtas paired with sheer leggings, embroidered gowns, OTT floral motifs and Bahl’s signature sheer blouses.
Until next season!
Check out our Couture Week reports from 2012 and 2011 here.
Praachi Raniwala for Luxemi