The recently concluded India Couture Week was a grand presentation of how the country's designers stay true to their signature style while introducing playful and innovative silhouettes and blending traditional embroideries and textiles.
Rahul Mishra's collection, We, The People, highlighted the artisans behind couture, featuring gravity-defying silhouettes, flamboyant capes, voluminous lehngas adorned with ornate bloom appliques, and shimmering paillettes, inspired by the Sundarbans and its majestic tigers.
Ritu Kumar, on the other hand, returned to the runway after close to a deacde with an evocative collection that celebrated her iconic design elements. The collection reimagined heritage textiles, accentuating the beauty of kasab and floral kashidakari work in a range of covetable dresses, jackets, capes, and anarkalis.
The key trend of the season was jaali work, prominently featured in Tarun Tahiliani's For Eternity collection, drawing inspiration from the rich heritage of India, Egypt, and Persia. Mughal and Egyptian jaali motifs merged with Mumbai's Art Deco trellises in 100-plus exquisite looks, which included draped lehngas, kurtas, shararas, and saris adorned with hand-painted prints and hand-embroidered panels.
Falguni Shane Peacock's collection, Renaissance Reverie, showcased 80 looks. It featured bejewelled groom headgears, delicate bow detailing, and sherwanis adorned with dramatic feathered hems, plumage-heavy sleeves, ornate capes and theatrical veils.
Feathers have become a hot trend in the bridal fashion world. Designers like Falguni Shane Peacock, Suneet Varma, Dolly J and Varun Bahl have all embraced this trend, using plume accents in their collections for various wedding events. Feathers instantly elevate the ensembles, adding glamour and luxury to the overall look.
This trend's popularity is on a par with the classic embellishment, sequins, making feathers a must-have element in contemporary bridal fashion. With the widespread adoption by designers and brides alike, it's evident that feathers are here to stay and will continue to make a statement in the bridal fashion scene in the coming season. After all, they are a good choice if you want a touch of opulence and elegance to your wedding attire.
Another notable trend that has surfaced is the modern reinterpretation of traditional men's clothing. During the showcase, the runway featured a range of men's traditional wear such as sherwanis, bandis and kurtas, paired creatively with dhotis and its modern interpretation. Kunal Rawal's collection saw actor Ranbir Kapoor donning a concept dhoti-trouser hybrid. Similarly, Tarun Tahiliani and Rimzim Dadu incorporated dhotis into their designs, pairing them with elaborate wedding separates like jackets and bandhgalas. What's more, Rahul Mishra presented a unique menswear look that featured a dhoti draped over a pair of pants.
The prevailing sheer-core trend has dominated the fashion runways not only in India but also globally over the past few seasons. Renowned labels like Saint Laurent, Balmain and Gucci have been promoting a wide array of sheer and textured separates for men. This trend was evident in Rohit Gandhi + Rahul Khanna's collection, Equinox, which featured sheer and beaded jumpers and textured gowns with thigh-high slits, emphasizing that transparency is a lasting trend. Shantanu & Nikhil's collection also showcased sheer and textured separates, layered beautifully with ceremonial jackets, adding to the allure of the sheer-core trend.
Falguni Shane Peacock's collection featured richly beaded ensembles in shades like strawberry yogurt, Acapulco sand, Portland grey and sandshell beige, complemented by matching or sheer veils, adding grandeur to the overall look. In Suneet Varma's showcase, veils with a subtle and intricate charm were enhanced by classic Indian music in the background, leaving the audience in awe and evoking wonder and admiration.
Capes have taken centre stage as the new alternative to traditional dupattas, making appearances in collections by Rohit Gandhi + Rahul Khanna, Anamika Khanna, Falguni Shane Peacock and Gaurav Gupta.
Bollywood actress Janhvi Kapoor graced the runway as the showstopper for Gupta's showcase Hiranyagarbha, wearing an electric blue lehnga embellished with 3,000 hand-embroidered bugle beads, paired with a matching bralette and a stunning floor-sweeping cape.
Gupta's mesmerizing show reimagined celestial elements with deep symbolism. The collection featured whites with holographic pearls and crystals, representing space's starkness. Smoke pearl embroideries on moondust shades depicted the wind, while electric blue with glass bugle beads symbolized oceanic currents. Malachite represented earth, and acid yellow denoted fire, infusing the collection with elemental energies. The menswear showcased 3D embroideries of dragons, pegasus and centaurs on tuxedos and bandhgalas.
Rimzim Dadu's metallic expertise was evident in intricate mesh and lace designs, evoking ripples in water bodies and exploring abstract perception and the fluidity of identity.
The other new trend that stands out is the replacement of the traditional choli with edgy bralettes. Some bralettes are sliced to reveal the midriff, while others are adorned with beaded harness-like detailing. Suneet Varma, the creator of metallic breastplates, showcased a sensuous collection featuring alluring bralettes paired with lehnga skirts and saris. Designers like Rimzim Dadu and Falguni Shane Peacock also presented sculpted bralettes worn effortlessly with lehnga skirts.