Creates new language of high definition fashion

This year, India Couture Week was bigger and better than ever before with some of the country’s best couturiers showcasing their new collections. For the first time ever, the most coveted names brought alive, unmitigated splendour in a lavish seven-day affair from July 24-30, 2017 at the Taj Palace hotel, and a few off-site locations in the capital. The country’s biggest style extravaganza showcased 14 top couturiers in the industry. The ramp enlivened by designers, who set the mood for trends that will remain relevant in a country that loves to celebrate life with sheer abundance, colour and unabashed shine.

Sunil Sethi, President FDCI said, “This is a momentous year for us, 10 years of Couture Week has been an incredible journey, which has been the only event in the country to offer a prestigious platform to couturiers to showcase their talent in offering irrepressible indulgence. The journey would not have been possible without the support of board members and the FDCI team.”

Her also said, “The ICW has entered its tenth year and what has been most interesting is that our couturiers have influenced the evolution of the luxury consumer. They have not just been revivalists, but also innovators. Our embroideries and hand done crafts have found a place on the world map too that is why it is imperative to promote the ‘Make in India’ endeavour. We hope to create a new language of high definition glamour through our celebrations.”

Couturiers Anamika Khanna and Rohit Balwere the opening designers for the India Couture Week 2017. Both showcased at offsite locations on 24 July. While Anamika Khanna unveiled her collection, Luxury 2017, at The Kila, Mehrauli, RohitBal showcased his designs at Bikaner House.

This event came to close with a scintillating grand finale show by Manish Malhotra. The Mumbai designer kept his date with India Couture Week with an elaborate show that showcased not less than 85 garments from his Sensual Affair line. The icing on the cake, of course, were showstoppers Ranveer Singh and Alia Bhatt who closed the show for Malhotra.

Rohit Bal’s Shaahaan-e-Khaas

Opulent, innovative, awe-inspiring and magnificent are just a few words that describe ace designer’s latest couture collection. An ode to the lost craft and tradition, Bal’s couture collection, inspired by the splendid Mughal costumes, aims to ‘revive and reproduce heritage pieces from collections of royal Mughals costumes, which are now only found in museums’.

The designer’s ethereal creations set forth a perfect example of how one can fuse the rich heritage of India with a tinge of modernness to cater to the modern sensibilities. While Bal’s signature intricate embroidery remained a part of the regalia inspired collection, to everyone’s surprise, this time around, the designer instead of playing along with his signature motifs – lotus and peacock, introduced a new patented motif – cock. The colour story gradually shifted from ivories and beiges to more royal ones including luxurious maroon and emerald. The ensembles featured densely woven in gold and silver threads. The collection also featured garments in black.

Happily Ever After by AnamikaKhanna

As obvious as the name suggests, this collection is an amalgamation of the various rituals of the Indian wedding, and the clothes relevant to them. The designer has used different techniques and embellishments for the outfits based on which function they have been created for. For instance, outfits for the wedding lunch had embellishments ranging from thread work to various techniques of zardozi. Garments for mehendi featured embellishments including gota, old kinaris, dori work and burnished gold and silver work whereas the cocktail ensembles looked more experimental with zardozi burnt to black, beating silver metal, tassels and beadwork.

The collection is ethereal and romantic, yet eclectic and experiments with border shapes. For the welcome lunch, the colours remained pastel, ranging from ivory to washed blues, jades and beautiful pinks. For mehendi, the palette shifted from pastels to mustards, deep Indian purples, corals and reds. For cocktail of course, one had to be a little bolder and experimental therefore black and metallic gradually became a part of the colour story as one shifted from one occasion to another. The wedding ensembles featured the classic Indian colours including pinks and reds and also a few unconventional colour options like ivory, purple and a hint of orange.

SunehriKothi by Anju Modi

For the winter of 2017 she recreates a mystical ‘Sunehri Kothi’ (Golden Chalet), resplendent with waif like muses dressed in slender, exotic Indian costume akin to those that graced the miniature art of 16th century Rajasthan, especially Kishangarh. Very significantly, this collection builds on bravery, honor, chivalry and virtues that Rajputana culture has ever been known for.

“Traveling through the land of the kings, Rajasthan,I found myself on a road less taken to a humble yet resolute mansion, The Sunehri Kothi. Weathered and rugged exteriors did little to give away the grandeur of what was once a ‘Golden Chalet’. In this collection I bring alive its gold emblazoned interiors and intricate architectural detail, allowing a peak into the SunehriKothi that also emerged in the miniature art forms of that region, “Anju Modi. The collection exhibits grandeur and magnificence, a regal edge to each piece having intricate details inspired from traditional artworks. The specially designed heritage jewelry for Anju Modi Couture ensembles are made of uncut and rose cut diamonds, emeralds and precious stones.

Sensual Affair by Manish Malhotra

With each passing year, Malhotra’s beliefs have extended the design-language of Indian couture beyond the typical use of reds and golds. The collection was a translation of his definition of feminism – where the modern woman embraces and fearlessly expresses her sensuality, a realm that has always belonged to a man. The label has refined its silhouettes to accentuate the curves of a woman’s body. With three-dimensional embellishments, layered motifs and elaborate juxtaposition of texture, the label has astutely traded formal couture with flowy silhouettes and infinite skirt trails.

Sensual Affair weaves together the subtle nuances of modern artistry with the intricacy of true couture; voluminous, billowing skirts with embroidery art, fitted corsets and shimmering cascades. The collection presented an array of rich fabrics such as satin organza, silk tulle, micro velvet, satin velvet, two-tone silks, brought to life using antique metallic threadwork, pearls and luminous crystals. Swirls of sequins and swathes of shimmer and sheer play with light, like a canvas of a dreamy illusion. Voluminous gowns and billowy lehengas have been crafted in shades of ivory, soft grey, vintage rose, burgundy and teal. For the men, structured Sherwin’s have been contrasted with fluid kurtas to create a bridge between the conformist outer-self and the liberated inner-self.

Manav Gangwani’s India @ 70

The collection was an amalgamation of the rich heritage of India along with modern edgy elements that are incorporated in each garment. MG has incorporated elements of design from different regions like Kashmir reflecting Jamawars, Bandhanis of Rajasthan, Kathakali from Kerala and Brocades of Varanasi. Using different techniques like Badla, Chikankari, Zardosi & Parsi etc. MG has created every garment to perfection. From the God & Goddesses of India to Miniature Art of Mughal Empire to Meenakari to Patolas to Panthani all forms have been used to reflect India. With each garment having an unusual and unique element, MG believes that through this collection he has showcased the best of what India has to offer.

This collection incorporated intricate motifs that have been embroidered on the garments making each garment a storyboard that depicts interesting scenes from the Mughal era. Motifs of the traditional Kathakali, gods and goddess add a touch of mystery to traditional elements of design. The use to miniature paintings in this collection projects the cultural diversity that India has to offer. Accentuated vintage gold elements adding a touch of royalty to every garment has been thoughtfully crafted to induce the fragrance and grandeur and opulence of India. The colour pallet for this collection is colours that are most commonly seen in India, royal blue, crimson, ivory, orange and green. Enthrallingly feminine luxurious silk brocades, rich velvets, sheer gauzy tissues with gold, are the fabrics chosen for this collection.

Monisha Jaising’s Opera

Inspired by the Opera, this collection harmonizes with the evolution of displaying one’s finery and the mesmerizing dynamics of performance on stage. Demonstrating the individuality of these fashion ensembles, the collection radiates elements of exuberant fabrics and airy silhouettes. The strong character and fragility of the Opera singer personifies the colour palette of each couture piece implementing a smooth transition from burgundy to rose pink and from metallic to ice blue.

The collection sets the stage with a theatrical variation of fabrics composed of lamé, velvet metallics, tulle, chikankari, Italian organza, banarasi, metallic satin and much more. With a dramatic ethnic flair infused with contemporary details, the assortment of pieces carry concept lehengas, evening dresses, cocktail saris, evening gowns, crop tops and ball skirts.

Varun Bahl’s Art Nouveau period

Through his designs, this couturier aims to enhance the feminine beauty of the modern woman who revisits her tradition for a combination of classic and contemporary styles with exquisite craftsmanship. The designer borrows from art, and blends a vintage idiom with modern execution. Inspired by Chezh Art Nouveau painter and artist Alphonse Mucha’s masterpieces—like the Le Pater (1889), The Seasons (1896), and The Flowers (1898)—the collection has traits of the artists’ traditional bohemian influence and neo classical motifs. The range plays with curvi linear patterns, asymmetrical lines, and floral and plant motifs.

The colour palette is an eclectic mix of Varun’s signature ivory, pale pink, peach, burnt orange, pistachio, red, and old rose.The collection offers an assortment of lehengas, jacket anarkalis, saris, and a mix of tailored couture pieces to choose from. His experiments with hand embroideries that play between voluminous, structured, and layered silhouettes. The magnificence of Art Nouveau motifs on fabric like silk, tulle, and georgette creates a visual feast.

Anita Dongre’s Tree of Love

This collection pays homage to the Bishnoi community’s spiritual reverse for nature using intricate weaves and embroideries that celebrate fine Indian craftsmanship and a way of life. The presentation, combined traditional weaves and exquisite embroideries with silhouettes influenced by contemporary styles for both brides and grooms. Beautiful SEWA embroidered tabards were styled with tulle skirts, Mushroo and hand-embroidered tea-length dresses shared stage with exquisite gottapattilehengas. Every ensemble told the story of nature in hues of blue, rich maroons, inky black, and a stunning emerald green.

With this collection Anita Dongre introduced obi belts to hold drapes, embroidered flat shoes and cross-body potli bags that give a bride space to truly enjoy her day while the clothes take care of her instead of the other way around. Tree of Love struck a perfect balance between elegance and comfort for today’s brides and grooms to enjoy their wedding day.

Shyamal and Bhumika present The Princess’s Soiree

Their collections had an eclectic mix of artisanal crafts, a fascinating play of colours & timeless silhouettes. The collection featured European details, Victorian inspirations and Baroque decorations amalgamated with rich Indian heritage. The colour story of the new line ranges from champagne golds, ruby wine, verdant green, coral blue & the staple black. This fairy-tale bridal line is an ode to the forgotten lifestyle lived in elegance and reality for the dreamer in the modern-day woman. The collection consists of floor sweeping gowns, sheer tulle capes, ruffled blouses, supple frills, belted waists, kalidaar jackets & lehengas.

The designers enkindle a festival like aura by extensive usage of sequins, innumerable iridescent crystals and stone encrusting. Fluid beadwork, dripping gold embroidery in floral setting and luscious gold thread work is immaculately incorporated. The cascading ruffles sprinkled with glitter, twirling tulle skirts and magnanimous gowns with winding floral thread work transcend you to a fantasy like ambience. Traditional zardozi and aari work have been extensively used using glass pipes, zari, beads and dabka with an unconventional twist to illustrate the amalgamation of the varied styles that have moulded their inspiration.

Reynu Taandon CYAN – Time to Find the Calm in the Chaos

Reynu in her new collection showcases bold undertones of the Indian monsoon, intricate detailing and beautiful thread work that gently weave in the magic and mysticism of peacock blue hues. The underplay of carefully used patterns of stripe that break the monotony, use of bold whites, glittering gold’s, and the many shades of heavily embroidered silhouettes of aqua blue and green orchestrate a melodic symphony that is hard to miss. Her collection is the perfect balance of traditional handwork, with the captivating mirror work embellished on the screen print. It lies with the framework of the decorative stitches that hold the embellishment in place, yet is progressive in its design.

The draping of the dupattas has been elegantly fashioned to subtly reveal the essence of her entire collection, which is centred around the celestial beauty of calming cyan. Using handloom and mill loom chanderi fabrics with the beautifully printed colour palettes invoke purity in their every shade and radiate vibrantly through every silhouette. The entire collection has been artfully choreographed, styled and curated for everyone to celebrate the ever evolving fashion designs and trends in all their glory.

Gaurav Gupta presents MOONDUST

For this season’s haute couture lineup, Gaurav Gupta looks to both the past and the future for inspiration. From the past, he picks up on themes like fairytales, princesses, and magical castles; from the future, he summons techniques and materials that tell the story of Moondust in new ways. This collection is character-driven and features elements of magical realism. “It’s like Cinderella wore these clothes to a Surreal ball and we discovered them centuries later.” On the clothes, bejeweled stages vie for attention with birds that flit across the bodice, and sculptural waves embellished with mother-of-pearl sequins form the hemlines of grand gowns fit for an ocean goddess.

To create such clothes, Gaurav Gupta takes his signature fabrics- Chiffons, crepes, dupions, tulles, nets, and lace; many developed from scratch in-house – and elevate them. He treats them like marble, sculpting them into fantastical shapes that accentuate the body. Shoulders become exaggerated, and the waist and legs are often glimpsed through translucent textiles. Colours of the collection speak of castles in enchantment, dove grey, stone blue, ivy blue, pearl blue, fern green, ivy green and night teal. He layers lace over precision-cut jackets to mimic the filigree window of a Persian palace, and plays with shadow and light through silken threadwork on transparent net.

Rahul Mishra presents Parizaad

Rahul Mishra, a champion for sustainable fashion, made couture look effortlessly breathtaking with ‘Parizaad’. The line showcased lehengas, kalidars and silhouettes inspired from traditional Indian ensembles that spelt elegance and sophistication albeit with an easy grace. Whites, greys, peaches and blush pinks were embroidered with intricate vegetal motifs, patterns of mosaic, chevrons and spandrels. The surface ornamentation was subtle, achieved using French knots, Gujarati embroidery and other indigenous thread work in diverse colours.

Mishra showered muted moquaish on organzas, georgettes, cottons and wools keeping the attires breezy enough to run in. His colour palette was a departure from the usual and hence, a sight for sore eyes. But the creative genius saved the best for the last. A small cluster of mandarins and yellows, with indigo borders and his trademark needle craft rounded off this brilliant halcyon collection.

Honor The Smile by Rina Dhaka

The collection featured voluminous pieces boldly parading the drama and opulence of royalty. Dripping necklaces, wondrous centre-pieces, oversized gems and entangled motifs showcased the unending, awespiring, magnanimous and complex persona of our ideal woman. The silhouettes were graceful in their softness and sensuality, the relevant half of yin and yang. The elements of royal Kundan jewellery, lending a glow into the metallic, especially created liquid golds, silvers, peuters to give lightness to the clothing.

The highlight of the grand show was of course the beautiful little girls from Smile Foundation holding the models’ hands and sashaying down the runway with innocent smiles on their faces. Actress Huma Qureshi dazzled in a Rina Dhaka ensemble as the star walked the ramp for the designer on the final day. The star’s outfit was paired with Narayan Jewellers timeless scintillating necklace defining opulence with a refined sophistication.

Tarun Tahiliani’s Tarakanna

The ready-to-wear bridal entourage featured elegant and stylish lehengas, sarees, saree drapes, anarkalis, capes, and gilets for the upcoming wedding season. The collection had a lot of bling in terms of crystals by Swarovski and embellishments were also in the form of ‘beautiful handwork’, ‘silk thread work’, vintage, zardosi and Parsigara embroidery, fringing, knit tassels, 3D flowrs, French knots and velvet detailing.

While rich textiles such as velvet, silk, brocades were teamed with soft tulle and georgettes to revive the age old charm of yesteryear, the collection’s colour story ranged from old rose, maroons, golds, olive, midnight blue, black and ivory. While the women wear was kept stylishly modern and elegantly Indian with sarees, saree drapes, shararas and other ‘India-modern’ silhouettes, the menswear collection featured bundis, panelled kurtas, dhotis and sherwani that were embellished with gota, zardosi, parsigara and resham threads on rich fabrics like matka silk, raw silk, velvet and dupion silk. Traditional chikankari embroidery of Lucknow was given a fashionably stylish twist in kurtas and sherwanis.