Experimenting with colours, silhouettes, styles and presentation turned out to be the highlights at the recently concluded FDCI (Fashion Design Council of India) India Couture Week 2016, where 11 designers showcased high-end ensembles amidst dramatic settings.
While several names in the Indian design fraternity will continue to argue that couture in the country is majorly about bridal wear, the audience at the five-day gala got to see creations which were beyond wedding lehengas and sherwanis.
“Each designer had their own specialty that they showed on the ramp, so the ICW wasn’t only pure simple bridal… It was experimental couture, there were gowns for the red carpet and cuts were different… There was everything for everyone. The designers experimented with colours too,” Sunil Sethi, President, FDCI, which had organised the event, said.
In terms of colours, one could see the dominance of pastel shades over the routine red, pink and orange which are thought be quintessential colours for the couture-lover in the country.
Many designers have time and again said that since the wedding market in India cannot be ignored as that is one occasion when people are ready to splurge, couture has turned out to be more about bridal in the country.
Having said that, the designer line-up — Manish Malhotra, Tarun Tahiliani, Rohit Bal, Anita Dongre, Varun Bahl, Gaurav Gupta, Rahul Mishra, Reynu Taandon, Rimple and Harpreet Narula and Anamika Khanna — unleashed a melange of designs in the couture segment.
There were jackets of varying lengths for men and women, Bardot blouses with embellished and embroidered skirts and lehengas, and largely a mix of Indian and western silhouettes, the shows were a treat for fashionistas.
While Dongre showcased blouses with different cuts which could be worn otherwise with a simple pair of jeans or a plain skirt and not necessarily with a sari or a lehenga, Bahl draped models in floral creations which again could be mix matched.
The menswear line by most designers had layers. Different jackets, including floral ones, shawls, stoles and kurtas breathed fresh air into the styles that men with a taste for style could carry off easily.
Although Swarovski’s elements brought a bling to several creations, the collections in dabka and gota patti looked like they are here to stay — lending an old world charm to the modern-cut garments.
Talking about the business at the couture week, Sethi said: “Everyday when their show finished, the next day itself the business started. People have decided what they want to buy for which occasion. I have got calls from the designers confirming to me that they have started writing orders from this event.
“The extent of the orders will be seen in the next 15-20 days. But what is important is that they are flooded with confirmed orders.”
Given how popular Bollywood stars are at events such as this, they couldn’t have been given a miss. From Fawad Khan, Deepika Padukone and Kangana Ranaut to Yami Gautam, Divya Khosla Kumar and Saiyami Kher, they were all seen sashaying down the ramp in fineries, while celebrities like Bhumi Pednekar, Randeep Hooda and Pernia Qureshi had come to support the designers from the stands.
Amidst all of this, the couture week also drew some flak from some designers.
“We are seeing too much mediocrity and too much sub-standard (work) and a total lack of originality. One style becomes popular and suddenly, everyone is just doing a little variation of that and that’s it – that is not what it is meant to be,” JJ Valaya, one of India’s most popular couturiers, had posted on his Facebook account.
Last week, right after the first show at India Couture Week, Bal expressed his disappointment on “schmoozing” and the “wannabes” at the show, while Rina Dhaka pitched in about what “poor Deepika and Sonam” were made to wear.
Asked about how the FDCI ICW 2016 week went in totality, Sethi shared that he is more than happy with results.
“What is important is to see that the designers do substantial business, they show their creativity in best possible way. What was really satisfying was it was houseful on all days. And an unending list of request for people to come and watch these shows,” Sethi said.
“FDCI is a not for profit organistaion, we don’t charge people to come and see the creativity of the assignment. But unfortunately with a limited platform of 500 to 600 people, we could not accommodate more but it was for everybody to watch this on the live web cast and through different mediums,” he added.