Decoding the Year Gone By – FDCI X Lakme Fashion Week 2021

Decoding the Year Gone By – FDCI X Lakme Fashion Week 2021

Reading Time: 6 minutes

While endlessly scrolling through the fashion week posts on your social media channels, did you ever sit back and wonder – Why fashion weeks? Yes, it can happen because we are so mesmerized with what the fashion weeks have to offer that we forget the ‘How’ and ‘Why’ of it.

A long time ago, when the fashion weeks did not exist, designers showcased their work to their clients through sketches and illustrations. And, after completing the design process, it was presented on a wooden dummy until, Charles Frederick Worth, a British couturier in Paris came up with the idea of a living mannequin in the 1860’s. It was only in the early 1911 that fashion brands and designers began promoting their collections through models. Over the years, the famed ‘fashion parades’ became a mode of communication between fashion designers and customers where designers showcased new ideas through merchandise on live models.

Whether we agree or not, today, the basic reason for fashion week remains to sell and gain media attention. Most of you could also argue that they set the table for the future fashion trends. Too right! They do. But is that all that these fashion weeks can offer?

Well yes. Thanks to the year long pandemic that made us question everything in and around us. Much like the other industries that took the brunt of the lockdown, the fashion industry saw gloomy days too with fashion weeks and shows across the world getting cancelled and retail spaces closed down. But it not only survived but came out more resilient, both in India and across the globe.

Breaking the fundamentals of commerce and consumerism, the Fashion Design Council of India and Lakme Fashion Week presented their first-ever joint phygital event that took place from March 16 to 21, 2021. Adopting a visual vocabulary brimming with fascinating motifs soaked in India’s unique heritage and textile, the schedule brought forth the most creative designers from all over India.

But what caught Ciceroni’s attention was not the enigmatic ensembles, hairstyles and makeup that laid founding stones to the trends of tomorrow, it was the themes that the designers and brands delved into, resonating with the emotional turmoil and turbulence each soul felt and how it was hard to imagine a time when we all dressed up again.

Read through as we decode the 5 best themes, we loved at this year’s first phygital fashion week!

  • Timeless the World – Anamika Khanna

Opening the year’s first phygital fashion week, Anamika Khanna’s collection was all about transience and timelessness. The four-minute film called ‘Timeless the World’ invariably reflected her emotional journey while conceptualizing the collection that featured embroidery rich jackets, asymmetrical skirts, one-shouldered crop tops, lehenga, bodice with a skirt and more. Each timeless piece spoke of abstract and floral art with artists Deepak Kumar Saw, Smriti Lekha Gogoi and Amlan Dutta painting live with vibrant hues on the canvas of flowy white pieces of clothing. Dominated by a mix of India’s rich craft forms and modern design elements like the tassels and the fringes, AK’s collection was a mélange of looks that will remain classic for years to come.

  • The Gypsy’s Wife – Nidhi Yasha

Nidhi Yasha’s collection titled ‘The Gypsy’s Wife’ was an ode to love and longing, depicting the free-spirited gypsy woman. The collection narrated a dramatic tale of love through a series of tribal, geometric, nature inspired floral prints reflecting true Bohemian vibes. Reminiscing a folklore, Nidhi made use of the playful ruffles, tiers and silks to create urban wanderer silhouettes from deconstructed, leftover and upcycled pieces, keeping true to the label’s zero waste and sustainable values. If you relate to the feeling of freedom, you are sure to find the vintage leather corsets and belts and bodice with feminine silhouettes, utterly alluring and rejuvenating.

  • A Room of One’s Own – Payal Pratap

What got you going when you were confined within the four walls? Music, art, books, meditation? That’s exactly what Payal Pratap clinged on to – The tools of survival at the fashion week. Payal Pratap’s collection took the viewers back in time, as if taking a page out of their own lives, to the childhood days when books were a man’s greatest friend, a rescue from the present and a path to the unknown. Metaphorically commenting on our lives after the boom in social media, Pratap’s collection featuring statement jackets with a melange of clashing prints in earthy browns, floral wrap dresses, hand-embroidered shoes with floral motifs and books replaced with shimmery clutches, made the viewers see the world through the eyes of Virginia Woolf.

  • Celebrating Life – Suneet Varma

Were you too driven by the uncertainties to cherish and celebrate life? Suneet Varma’s couture collection – ‘50 Shades of Happiness’ didn’t let the post-pandemic anguish keep him away from adding a ray of light to his curation only to remind us that the human race hasn’t lost its will to celebrate the magic called life. As the name suggests, the collection exudes a joyful and creative energy inspired by fine arts and the artist’s inspirational journeys. The fact that happiness can be found in the darkest of time deems fit in the designer’s collection as he portrays romanticism through a mix of modern beauty with a valley of flowers synced with the age-old art and crafts of India.

  • Ready. Set. Play – Bodice by Ruchika Sachdeva

Inspired by the idea of finding happiness and joy in little things, Ruchika Sachdeva’s collection was called ‘Ready. Set. Play’. Remembering the time when we gave away our highly embellished ensembles for the ‘basics’ – a time she predicts is here to stay considering the growing consumption patterns and the wastefulness, Ruchika’s curation on the closing day was an effort to make the viewers understand that ‘sustainability’ and ‘minimalism’ are no longer a trend, they are a need. Filled with geometrical, sporty and functional silhouettes in bright millennial colours with pattern cutting techniques, the collection was consciously created for the ones who believe that while fashion is fun in its truest form.

The world of fashion is indeed changing, slowly and steadily and its only a matter of time that both the designers and consumers walk out of the vicious trend and consumerism cycle to become what’s called humane – towards emotions and nature alike.

Aishwarya Menon

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