Space-age inspired fabrics, crystallised mesh, knits woven with glittery Lurex threads, sparkly chainmails—whether it’s the H&Ms of the world or the Louis Vuittons, most luxury and high-street brands are focusing on shine this fall-winter season. Even the go-to party essentials include holographic textiles, PVC accessories and footwear, and ensembles like pailletted jumpsuits and lamé separates. Think Gucci’s mirrored sequinned skirts and crystallised lace shirts, Louis Vuitton’s gold tweed dresses, Versace’s mesh minis, Zara’s sequin berets. Even ASOS Design’s straight-cut jeans come in shine-on fabrics, and Skims has introduced a metallic swim cycle suit.
For designer Gaurav Gupta, who experimented with sparkle in mesh format at the recently concluded fashion week in Mumbai, this metallic trend points to the changing way people are looking at fashion after the pandemic. “With gender fluidity becoming a key phenomenon, I see a lot of men now opting for crystal mesh bodysuits. Who would have thought such a change would happen?” he says. “This winter, shine has become mainstream and is being explored in all kinds of colours,” adds Gupta.
His fashion week collection featured ensembles that reimagined infinite stars twinkling all over the body. Like the clothes, he crafted the shoes in crystal mesh as well.
“I recently dressed a bride and a groom who opted for a Metaverse-themed wedding. There’s a new feeling to sheen—a mix of futurism with pop culture,” he says, adding: “Metallics are here to stay. Also, there’s a sexiness to it as it’s being played out in translucent fabrics.”
He suggests opting for sparkly stockings, metallic T-shirts and pieces which suit one’s mood and personality.
At the same fashion week, Prreeti Jaiin Nainutia also focused on sequinned pieces—apt for a night out and also for a sundowner by the pool. “More people are embracing maximalism for a night-time look, taking inspiration from the disco era,” she says. To elevate the look, she recommends some statement jewellery and sky-high metallic shoes. “Or you can tone it down for a daytime look with dainty jewels, fresh face with ample blush, highlights and fresh colours paired with your bling in the form of your pop-hued bag,” she says.
For designer Namrata Joshipura, it’s all about the controlled bling. Keeping the trend in mind, she has played with colours like purple and lavender and her signature metallic jumpsuits. She has also extrapolated micro pearls, peppering them in a gradient style on sporty twinsets and glam-leisure denim pieces. “I have used mesh as a base to link the dainty beads together and then removed the mesh, which resulted in a fluid chainmail-like fabric encrusted with micro beads,” she says. “I don’t see them as embellishments but clothing as an elevated form of jewellery imparting heightened elegance. When I craft a bejewelled fabric, it becomes jewellery for me.”
The bling is not restricted to garments. The label Jade recently unveiled a line of vegan metallic accessories handcrafted by artisans from Bengal and Rajasthan. It includes 18-carat gold and silver-plated minaudieres that can lend instant drama to any outfit. The label’s designer, Monica Shah, says, “The key is balance and to tone down the bling with casual separates.”
Agrees designer Jeetinder Sandhu, who has created a line of unisex metallic brogues. The mood is definitely buoyant right now. But that doesn’t mean you go too blingy, he says. Wear one statement piece for maximum impact such as metallic shoes or a bag in fun pop colours. “If you overdo it, you might end up looking like Tin Man,” he cautions.
Not just occasion wear
Shine is no longer occasion wear but an everyday essential, points out designer Aniket Satam. Across categories, he says, “we are seeing more embroideries and sequins, from bubble sequinned skirts to foil co-ords to Lurex blend jumpers or T-shirts. It’s less about decoration but more about living in the moment”.
Initially, metallics were a constant trend for fall owing to festivities like Christmas; now people want to be in celebratory spirits around the year. “We can see a lot of dazzle on spring-summer 2023 runways too, which is a reflection of revenge dressing post-pandemic,” Satam adds.
That’s why lamé is a huge trend, says designer Shruti Sancheti. “I see a lot of design houses opting for crystals and pearls are big this season,” she says.
The key to pulling off high shine fabrics is confidence.
According to designer Mayyur Girotra, the focus should be on one thing. “If you are opting for a flashy/blingy mesh garment, then let it be the point of emphasis and go nude with the make-up or go minimal with your accessories,” says Girotra, echoing Sandhu.
Sama Ali, creative director at House of Kotwara, suggests embracing chainmail body accessories to wear over vests and crop tops.
“Or, as bags and jewellery, or you can go all out in a chainmail dress or top. Or style it with an oversized shirt underneath it, mixing the comfort trend along with this more edgy one, paired with some cool boots,” she says.
Stylist Meagan Concessio adds, “Don’t forget that hair and make-up should be in sync with the look. There should only be one hero or statement piece in the entire look so it doesn’t look too overdone.”