The recent fashion weeks at Paris, London and Milan have confirmed that clothes are indeed becoming more casual, practical and seasonless. This continues a trend that started during the pandemic, when comfort overtook trends. Some might still want to invest in a statement dress but many prefer buying separates that can remain a hero piece in their closet and be mixed and matched with other pieces to remain timeless and offer true value for money.
This is the approach to fashion that is expected at the four-day Lakmé Fashion Week x FDCI, starting on 9 March in Mumbai.
Designer Shruti Sancheti, who is all set to present her collection Khadder on Day 1, is focusing on easy breezy, wearable and classic separates. “Co-ord sets are a pandemic phenomenon and have found a permanent space in many wardrobes for their sheer comfort and easy elegance and will be relevant for many seasons,” she says. “The post-pandemic consumer remains a buyer of resort- and lounge- wear and these segments will be popular…like kaftans, duster jackets, fluid dresses.”
There will also be sharp tailoring, with a focus on textiles that are more season-fluid, like Khadi, poplin and silk, says Sancheti.
Old but new
Designer Saisha Shinde says the overarching theme in shopping is value-added pieces. “Clients want to purchase items from the high-end brands that have value as they are paying a lot more than before thanks to inflation. I have been affected by inflation as well. Our star fabrics like silk and chiffon have shifted from ₹350 to ₹750 per metre,” says Shinde, adding that it’s all about owning pieces that are one-of-a-kind. Known for statement-making ensembles like evening gowns, Shinde has upcycled some of the brand’s old embroidered looks to create a new collection for her Mumbai showcase on 12 March.
Aakriti Grover’s show on 10 March will also focus on upcycling. The brand’s diaphanous resort-wear offers a choice of customisation, ranging from colour and size (made to measure) to brief styles, even coverage options such as high or low cut. “We have moved towards converting waste to wear. Our core fabrics are made from fibres that have been recycled from a range of post-consumer waste, including plastic,” explains Grover.
Nanki Maggo Papneja, co-founder and creative head of Limerick, has two things on her mood-board this season: Kashmir motifs and waste reuse. “We donate the katran (fabric waste) to quilt and dhurrie makers for whom this is the main raw material,” says Papneja, without divulging too much information on her showcase, scheduled for 10 March.
All about practicality
On 10 March, Deepit Chugh of Line Outline will present his take on separates, mixing tailored looks with sporty trends. “I believe that the idea of multiple-use garments is the way forward. Keeping the global scenario in mind, I am creating looks that can be worn as is or as individual garments paired with various separates that add the value-for-money factor for the current consumer,” says Chugh.
While officewear has become more casual, special occasions are still dominated by indulgent outfits that create a stir. However, a touch of the casual has entered this arena too. “Formal and casual attire is taking on a new definition as shoppers rethink how they dress for work, weddings and other occasions. Cottons and attention-grabbing silhouettes, along with layering options, are gaining momentum,” says Chugh.
Designer Prreeti Jaiin Nainutia of Nirmooha, too, notes that “practical” is the buzzword in fashion globally. “Customers are looking for a unique aesthetic but comfort is the first found term in their index. If layering looks chic, the designer might also add pockets to make the garment practical and extremely useful,” says Nainutia , who has trained her focus on unisex wear for her current line.
She is busy preparing for her show on 12 March. “Summers give us a chance to create sets that would suit anyone and we are looking at making them wearable any time of the year, depending on the occasion,” she says. “That’s how flexible we are trying to make our lines to match the trending fashion language. This way, you are also pushing sustainability to cut down creating separate styles unique to each gender or season.”
Manish Mishra is a Delhi-based journalist and content creator.