Pre Fashion Week Predictions

With Lakme Fashion Week beginning tomorrow it is only befitting that we publish this story that appeared in the DNA earlier this month on my trend predictions for this Autumn Festive showcase.


Want a sneak peak of the styles, fabrics and hues in store at the upcoming Winter/Festive 2013 Fashion Week? Radhika Dhawan predicts the trends from ramp to road.

The big four—Paris, Milan, New York and London—may have moved beyond the excitement of the Autumn-Winter 13/14 collections, but in India things are just heating up. Key themes that are likely to translate to the Indian catwalks include: 
The New York Metropolitian Museum of Art’s annual costume exhibition is always scrutinized and reinterpreted by designers. This year it celebrated punk with a ‘Chaos to Couture’ theme. The runways saw zips, chains, PVC, leather, tartan and studs. However, these were polished and not as scary as they could have been. Urban punk-chic was illustrated in collections by Versace, Fendi, Jean Paul Gaultier, Saint Laurent, Chanel and Moschino.

Punk interpreted by Versace 'Vunk'

Punk interpreted by Versace ‘Vunk’

Designer Nikhil Thampi is looking forward to seeing “Indian designers’ perception of punk”. With our diverse climatic conditions, going all out with fabrics like leather may not be optimal. However, it may be seen in tops, skirts or trims. “I’m mixing hard and soft, sheer with leather appliqués,” reveals Anushka Khanna.

Punk goes softer with a dark romance that’s both mystifying and lavish—think capes, high necks and toe-grazing hems, in opulent textures and grand silhouettes. Feminine, yet rocker-inspired, it dilutes tough elements like leather and hardware with flowing fabrics.

Sonam Kapoor in Shehla Khan

Sonam Kapoor in Shehla Khan

Think Meadham Kirchhoff, Christopher Kane, Givenchy. Key fabrics include lace and velvet. Gothic undertones are seen in prints and embroidery. Elements include studs, brocade and dark colours. “Opulent fabrics like ribbed satin, tulle, shimmer net, silk and organza offset edgy detailing (chainmail, crystals, leather applique) even as embroidered flowers and satin cords lend a romantic note,” says Ritika about her collection.

Velvet, never having fully disappeared from the Indian runways, emphasises dark romance.  Though not too appealing in large doses, designers like Manish Malhotra, Neeta Lulla and Rohit Bal often use it to signify opulence. Nishka Lulla concurs, “Velvet may translate well on the Indian catwalk, mixed with chiffon and lace.”

Retro resurfaces. Shehla Khan says, “This fall, my favourite trend is retro. I love how most of the international designer collections are based on the 60s, 70s and even the 40s!” Nipped-waist skirt suits, soft shouldered coats, sweetheart necklines–think Mad Men. Prada, Bottega Veneta, Christian Dior, Lanvin, Louis Vuitton, Oscar De La Renta exemplify this all-encompassing trend.

Louis Vuitton

Louis Vuitton

What’s His is Hers
The His for Her trend is still hot, though possibly approaching climax. Silhouettes will be less androgynous and more lady-like with sharp tailoring or drapes. Lanvin, Dries Van Noten, Haider Ackerman, and Dolce & Gabanna used traditional Savile Row plaids, hounds tooth, pinstripe and Prince of Wales checks and draped them with the ease of silk or had them embroidered. Shehla Khan says, “Internationally, structure is a common trend. Be it for outerwear such as jackets and coats or even blouses and dresses, every silhouette makes a statement. This trend can transfer to Indian wear in terms of separates, such as a sari with a jacket!”

Skirt Suits—a trend that emerged from the streets— are easier to wear than dress or trouser suits and can easily transition from work or daywear to the evening, by switching up accessories. Pencil skirts and belted jackets are essentials as seen at Prada, Marc Jacobs or skater skirts like Stella Mccartney. The new skirt, is longer at mid-calf length, with a slight flare at the knee, as shown by Hermes, Prada, Jil Sander and Celine. Nishka finds “the midi length very flattering on the Indian body type”. Mullet skirts like those of Jean Paul Gaultier are also expected to transition to Indian runways.
Monochrome continues to reign. You may spot these colours individually too. Black is black, so a liberal use of it would not be uncommon, especially in the Winter/Festive season. Be prepared to see a lot of white and not just as a day colour. On the Big 4 runways, head-to-toe winter white made strong impressions on Derek Lam and Proenza Schouler. My personal favourite was Celine’s use of all white for their ensembles. Shehla who loves white said, “This season my palette consists of deeper and bolder colours along with off white, which for me is always ethereal.” While monochrome might still rule, the palette on international runways encapsulated much of the spectrum from red to blue. Ritika agrees, “The colour palette ranges from dusky pink to a purple haze (a blue-tinted purple), crimson and black.”

Gold rules. As Thampi says about his upcoming collection, “Gold being a festive favourite, will definitely be a large part of the collection, but there would be a burst of different colours as well.”


Tavi Gevinson only gets bigger and better

Tavi Gevinson has been called everything from the future of fashion to the future of journalism (by Lady Gaga, no less). Gevinson created her first blog, The Style Rookie, at age 11. At the time, she didn’t have a grown-up helper or connections in the fashion world or access to designer threads—just a fascination with high-concept design (Comme des Garçons and Rodarte were and still are among her favorites), a gift for writing and the sensibility to turn a thrifted sweater, her mom’s skirt and a pair of oversized sunglasses with the lenses popped out into a full-blown fashion statement.

Whether you love her or haven’t heard of her yet, you must read her complete interview here:

Is Indo-Western a dated term now? My story in Mint Lounge

Indian summer

Rachana Nakra

‘Indo-Western’ stands challenged as local identities dominate Western silhouettes in Ikat jumpsuits and Chanderi gowns

The umbrella term “Indian wear” remains exciting work-in-progress—defying a predictable rotation within traditional options. At the recently concluded Lakme Fashion Week Summer/Resort 2013 in Mumbai, it was hardly about bling—a variety of kurtislehngas or anarkalis to be worn at Indian weddings or celebratory occasions. The runway was a blossoming of ideas and options in the realm of Indian: Silk shorts, lycra saris,mulmul skirts, Chanderi gowns, Ikat shirts, and jumpsuits with prints inspired by Indian history.

“Earlier, we gave a Western touch to Indian garments, such as a spaghetti-strap blouse with a sari. Now, designers are finding ways to give a Western silhouette a traditional Indian appearance,” says designer Payal Singhal, who presented shorts in embroidered velvet and net. To cater to an international clientele and make local heritage accessible to youth, this look, which presents a distinct Indian identity but in a wide choice of silhouettes, is the fashion aesthetic of choice.
A handwoven Assamese paat dress inspired by the mekhla.

A handwoven Assamese paat dress inspired by the mekhla chadar.

“Indo-Western” might now seem a dated, even limited, term to describe the unique twists these style makers are bringing to fashion. Gaurav Jai Gupta of Akaaro, who showed a collection of dresses, skirts, tops, trousers and jackets in handwoven fabrics such as Chanderi and Ikat, refuses to use that term. “My collection is Indian, global, practical and easy,” he says.
The influences are varied. Daniel Syiem used Jainsem and Jainkyrshah, the traditional garb of the Khasi tribe of Meghalaya, as inspiration to present a relaxed and trendy line of togas, dresses and wrap blouses in fabric sourced from the North-East. Hyderabad-based Asmita Marwa repurposed vintage Indian mirror-work garments, using motifs by artist Thota Vaikuntam, and embroidered her garments with the Telugu script, while Kolkata’s Rimi Nayak used Bengali typography on ensembles comprising gowns, kaftans and shirt dresses. “The importance of the language is declining and we are forgetting the rich heritage of Bengali literature,” says the designer.
At first sight, all these clothes look strongly Indian; only later do you realize this it is not an extension of the old story of saris and salwar-kurtas. Something else is happening here.
A silk jumpsuit with old Indian postal stamp print.

A silk jumpsuit with old Indian postal stamp print.

A growing love and pride for India’s textile heritage is the primary but not sole reason for designers experimenting with a sartorial mashup. The duo Shivan and Narresh—well-known for their edgy bikinis, maillots and accessories—showed a holiday line of swimwear and cover-ups peppered with saris. To cater to Indian sensibilities of their clients while keeping in mind today’s easy-to-wear fashion aesthetic, they included pre-tailored saris in linen and lycra that require no pleating, draping or dry-cleaning. “Many Indian women are not too comfortable with swimwear and look out of place in a holiday setting. We wanted to provide a familiar silhouette that is user-friendly to the Indian woman travelling abroad,” says BanarsiNarresh.
Those who, quite literally, like to wear their Indian identity on their sleeve, could pick from Singhal’s collection. Cropped anarkalis with palazzo pants, a Banarasi georgette gown and tulle embroidered shorts paired with a cotton kurta—ensembles that will fetch notice at a New Delhi party or double up as stunning separates for a holiday in Hawaii.
A cream silk mulmul and Katarva cotton high-low tunic with jaali work, with embroidered velvet and net shorts.

A cream silk mulmul and Katarva cotton high-low tunic with jaali work, with embroidered velvet and net shorts.

Read more at–Indian-summer.html