Once upon a time, fashion was supposed to set you dreaming, the clothing on the runway being too fantastical for everyday life. Sometimes you would be left wondering at ideas as absurd as a cotton ball being a cap. Today, however, functionality has become the flavour of the season, even for couture.
This shift was on display as 11 couturiers presented their collections at venues across the Capital, all part of the 10-day India Couture Week 2023, which concluded on 2 August. Most designers highlighted their signature styles, resulting in familiar, shiny silhouettes. If you looked closely, though, there was innovation. For instance, more bridal clothes than ever had much needed pockets. Garments, in general, were lighter, though they didn’t look it.
Menswear had more variety, with sheer embroidered blouses, trouser-lungi hybrids and anarkali-meets-bandhgala iterations.
The showcase was evidence that designers are responding to the changing needs of customers, who now want wedding clothes that are functional, easy-to-wear, chic, trendy, traditional as well as modern. Marrying these six terms is dif- ficult on paper. More so in fashion.
So, Rimzim Dadu, who made her India Couture Week debut this season, balanced structure and fluidity in her garments using materials like mesh, silk and lace. Whether it was a lehnga or a sari, each creation flowed like a tide in several pastel shades.
Some mini-trends emerged as well over the 10 days: the growing love for pastel shades, sheer fabric, and bows, as accessories as well as complete outfits in themselves.
The showstopper outfits, though, were underwhelming, lacklustre versions of a lehnga-choli. Or was it a skirt and crop top?
Here are some of the highlights from India Couture Week 2023.
An embroidered tiger became one half of a blouse, an embellished kaftan turned into a gown—'We, The People' was essentially a tapestry of the people who are the real stars of fashion: the artisans.
Falguni Shane Peacock
'Renaissance Reverie' offered more modern silhouettes, with fishtail gowns, bow-like blouses and cropped jackets, in pastel shades.
With dupattas embroid- ered to resemble mogra garlands, capes embel- lished like a painter’s canvas, she brought fun and art to couture.
Using Gujarat’s famous mashru fabric, the 'Baroda' collection served as a reminder of India’s wealth of textiles and embroideries.
Bollywood actor Janhvi Kapoor walked the ramp for Gaurav Gupta. His 'Hiranyagarbha' line, which he had earlier shown in Paris, had bit of a streetwear-meets-high fashion vibe.
The 'For Eternity' collection seamlessly blended chikankari, Persian motifs, kashidakari and Egyptian jaali work. There was a sense of ease and effortless style about the garments.
The Kunal Rawal collection included easy, gender-fluid clothes with innovative architectural shapes. Like his previous presentations, this couture week show was also like an immersive music concert.
From the set to the garments that included a bridal outfit in black, Rajesh Pratap Singh’s 'Desert Rose' was among the best showcases.
Rohit Gandhi and Rahul Khanna
'Equinox' was a lesson in how to make 'quiet luxury' clothes: Metallic brocade and silk velvet with three-dimensional embroidery ensured the clothes were blingy yet subtle.
Rimzim Dadu, who made her debut at the couture week, perfectly balanced structure and fluidity in her garments using materials like mesh, silk and lace.