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Are we even interested in revenge dressing?

As the second wave of the pandemic hits us hard, style savants predict the comeback of the Roaring '20s with a comfort-driven approach

For the Dior Fall ’21, creative director Maria Grazia Chiuri presented a collection about fairytales that explored the idea of vanity.
For the Dior Fall ’21, creative director Maria Grazia Chiuri presented a collection about fairytales that explored the idea of vanity. (Courtesy Dior)

A section of fashion arbiters speculated last year that revenge dressing would be all the rage once the pandemic subsides. Given the deadly second coronavirus wave, it seems unlikely that there will be a comeback of the exuberant flapper era.

As many of us continue to stay inside our homes in comfy PJs and track pants, the very idea of wearing those high heels and look-at-me dresses seems rather far-fetched. But a section of fashionistas does crave to make bold sartorial statements without compromising on comfort they have gotten so used to.

Could fashion possibly offer an antidote to this conundrum?

Also read: Dior makes the past present

Christian Dior's creative director Maria Grazia Chiuri reflected this in her FW21 outing, which was a paradox of opulence offset by stark austerity. While her performance wear-like puffers reflected an outdoorsy spirit, her fairy-tale ensembles celebrated the idea of more is more. Virginie Viard at Chanel too sent out an athleisure-influenced line-up, featuring an array of jumpers and parkas, which were in contrast with ladylike lace camisoles and miniskirts.

Back home, couture labels like Abu Jani Sandeep Khosla have addressed this question with their pocket-friendly prêt lines, comprising leisure and festive separates, which could be dressed up or down.

"The second wave of the pandemic has affected us on physical and emotional levels, hence coming out of it will take time. It is not just summoning the faith and confidence to feel shopping is safe. It’s about having the desire to do so," says Sandeep, who expects to see a slow comeback of Indian couture as there aren’t that many occasions in the near future that call for it.

In the past few months, a wave of revenge dressing was felt all across the world as markets opened up. “The six-month window between the two waves saw a dramatic rise in sales across the board in fashion, travel and lifestyle. When the second wave hit at first everyone still hoped that things would soon be normal again and the crazy buying would once again happen. However, the huge loss of lives that India has witnessed has made everyone rethink their priorities and I do not see revenge buying repeating itself post this lockdown," says designer Monisha Jaising.

In October, Shivan & Narresh's lounge-wear pieces were launched that saw a surge in sales once the lockdown was lifted.

"This was a sign to help us understand what our customers really wanted, which was to escape through fashion and make a bold statement about celebrating life and the spirit of being alive. Everybody was just looking for a reason to travel. This kind of unprecedented demand was something we had never witnessed in the last decade of fashion. So, revenge dressing is not a myth as we experienced it happening just last year," says Shivan Bhatiya.

Some designers are hopeful that 2022 will be a rather interesting time for fashion. "On one hand, we are going to get more conscious of our consumption and on the other side, when we do get the opportunity to dress up just like in the roaring '20s, we will see a lot of embellishments, over-the-top outfits," says designer Payal Singhal.

There's also a section of designers who believe that being in loungewear for so long is certainly going to bring out the dressier side of people. "We’re no longer going to wait for a special occasion to dress up, but make an ordinary moment a special one," says designer Monica Shah of label Jade.

All in all, the next year will be a defining one in fashion, as contrasting styles and sensibilities are going to clash and create a unique style language of creativity, comfort and chic.

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