Exploring Intricacies of Life, Textiles and Fashion at India Couture Week 2021

Exploring Intricacies of Life, Textiles and Fashion at India Couture Week 2021

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Couture translated literally is dressmaking in French, while haute means high. These are garments created as one-off pieces for a specific client. No wonder that then in India, bridal garments carry the alternative nomenclature of couture. The 14th edition of FDCI’s India Couture Week 2021 that ended recently witnessed an exquisite showcase of ensembles by the country’s top 19 couturiers. The list comprised of Amit Aggarwal, Amit GT, Anamika Khanna, Anju Modi, Ashima Leena, Dolly J, Falguni Shane Peacock, Gaurav Gupta, Kunal Rawal, Manish Malhotra, Pankaj and Nidhi, Rahul Mishra, Reynu Taandon, Rohit Gandhi + Rahul Khanna, Shantanu and Nikhil, Siddartha Tytler, Suneet Varma, Tarun Tahiliani, and Varun Bahl who presented their fashion films, displaying their mastery over captivating storytelling through FDCI’s digital platforms with a pre-set show schedule as they showcased their couture collection for this year.

Commenting on the line-up for the event, Sunil Sethi, Chairman FDCI in a statement to the press shared “Couture is the finest form of expression as it reveals the brand narrative, immaculate construction and design ideology in its truest element. ICW this year has seen an unprecedented response, despite the trying times with 19 coveted names showcasing, making it the biggest and brightest show.”

From Manish Malhotra’s statement-making collection that redefined wedding couture to Shantanu and Nikhil’s ode to men’s festive fashion and Ashima-Leena’s collection that spelled the elegance of the minute details of fashion endorsed by Mughal and Rajput maharanis, explore the intricacies of life, textiles and fashion at the India Couture Week 2021 through Ciceroni’s lens.

Lens 1: The Big Fat Indian Weddings by Manish Malhotra

Addressing a modern bride’s need for customisation and maximalism, Manish Malhotra’s collection ‘Nooraniyat’ tried to capture those sentiments of the millennial Indian bride in his opening show. The designer’s bridal collection is a representation of his signature style that revolves around exquisite craftsmanship, larger-than-life glamour often represented through the prism of Bollywood, and voluminous silhouettes. Lehengas in the traditional bridal reds dominated the collection alongwith soft peaches and lustrous golds adorned with zardozi, badla and sequins. The fashion film captured many moods of a wholesome Indian wedding celebration and a bride who rather than playing demure, is seen enjoying her big day, as Malhotra mirrored the essence of the times.

Lens 2: Shades of Spring by Rahul Mishra

Couturier Rahul Mishra showcased his bridal couture collection ‘Kamkhaab’ as the closing show of FDCI’s India Couture Week 2021. He weaved in the magic of florals with ‘Kamkhaab’ with natural motifs blooming across the sheer saris, lehenga, tailored angrakhas, and jackets. The intricately embroidered bright flora and fauna are complemented with ruffles and 3D detailing. The intricate embellishments and age-old hand embroidery techniques are entailed in fabrics such as silk organza, georgette, crepe and tissue along with Banarasi cutwork and Chanderi silk textiles. The palette swerved back into Mishra’s signature spring shade with dusty pinks, classic ivories, pale blues, and summer yellows. “Creating this collection has been like creating a bouquet of flowers—with the beauty of old love and the lightness of new beginnings,” the press note for the collection states. A wedding under the Tuscany Sun indeed.

Lens 3: Queen’s Fashion by Ashima Leena

Combining delicate hand embroidery with jewel tones handloom textiles, Ashima Leena’s state-of-the-art couture offering ‘Nazm-e-Mahal’ was an ode to the maharanis of the Mughal era who valued the old-world charm. Regal reds and gold bridal sarees and champagne lehengas revealed the colours of the royals and emerald greens, royal purples, and deep magentas added the vibrancy. The high point of this collection was its antique brocade saris which were sourced from the original wardrobes of the maharanis from their palaces of Rajasthan, and restored by Leena’s own weavers from Banaras. Mixed patterns, heavy embellishment, and opulent accessories blended the designer’s poetic aesthetic. The fashion film showed a group of royal women carrying out all of the traditional festive preparations in a cloud of incense smoke and an ocean of petals. As the romance with nostalgia continued, one felt drawn in the old world charm where the life was slow.

Lens 4: Changing Concepts of Love by Gaurav Gupta

Gaurav Gupta, renowned for his expertly crafted masterpieces that seamlessly blend couture with architectural perfection in his ‘Universal Love’ collection spoke of relationships and love relevant to the modern ideas of love and gender. The collection pivots around the dialogue surrounding sexuality and gender fluidity with an array of silhouettes and patterns extending the inclusivity conversation to all genders, body types, and identities. Crafted in silk crepe, organza, silk dupion, silk georgettes, and tulle, the collection glittered in a space-like palette of space greys, midnight blues, vivid violets, soft pinks, and lustrous golds. Perfect for contemporary brides who look for modern styles.

Lens 5: The Man’s Attention by Shantanu and Nikhil

Focusing on menswear, Shantanu and Nikhil gave way to the Indian version of the western military-inspired fashion. Known for their draped kurtas, medallion-encrusted details and military-inspired fashion, the Delhi based designers Shantanu and Nikhil stick to their signature style with their new collection ‘Oasis’. From the digital prints that break free from the mundane embroideries and the versatile embellished bundi jackets paired with silk kurtas to the bandhgalas with ornamental collars that the Indian men wear like jewels around the neck and an exclusive assortment of saafas that add a festive touch, the collection boasted of rustic shades like burnt blues and slate greys.

Bookmark your favourites for this festive season as you scout through new collections for bridal wear.

Aishwarya Menon

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