With 113 designers participating in the 22nd edition of the Wills Lifestyle India Fashion Week (WIFW), it was never going to be an easy job to sift, sieve and sort the emerging trends for the summer of 2014. Trust us when we say that catching back-to-back fashion shows, sometimes as many as seven in a day, can leave you with serious red-eye issues. Thankfully, this time around, most designers kept unnecessary bling at bay. And that has got much to do with the fact that Spring/Summer collections were being showcased. Indian silhouettes were far and few with clean cuts and understated elegance as the strong points. Here’s a look at the highlights.
- SPORTY FASHION
Quite in line with the global trends, sports-inspired fashion and androgyny has been a favourite theme with Indian designers this fashion week. And proving that the term sporty fashion or sporty chic isn’t just about active wear with psychedelic trims (à la Adidas) were designers like Namrata Joshipura, Rahul Mishra, Pankaj and Nidhi, and Sanchita Ajjampur. Think baseball-caps with huge crystal motifs, sequined jumpsuits and jacket dresses, oversized boyfriend shirts, sports jackets with mosaic embroidery, embroidered zippered gilets and printed training pants. For the sports enthusiast, the collections are ideal to splurge on post a smashing win. Think Saina Nehwal in a golden jumpsuit.
- FASHION DIPLOMACY
International presence on the Indian ramp is something the Fashion Design Council of India (FDCI) has always worked towards. After successful Japanese and Dutch collaborations, it was time to go Down Under. The inaugural day of WIFW Spring/Summer 2014 saw Sydney-based designer duo Anna Plunkett and Luke Sales present a specially created collection under their label Romance Was Born. Known for their vibrant and quirky designs, the collection of 25 ensembles was made using silk brocade sourced from weavers in Varanasi. It was interesting to see an Aussie interpretation of the weave in a fun, contemporary way. The ramp show was followed by the unveiling of a limited edition woollen scarf line by Australian cricketer Brett Lee. Made from 100 percent Australian merino wool, the scarves have been woven by Kumaon-based Panchachuli Women Weavers. Though the launch of a woollen line in the middle of a summer show looked odd, spotting Lee togged in a suit and a scarf was certainly pleasant.
- PRINT PERFECT
An increasing number of designers are now relying on digital prints to realise their creative vision. At this edition, it was Jenjum Gadi who shone bright with his selection. Crickets, ants, dragonflies and beetles – Gadi’s muse were insects and he did a stellar job at making them look pretty and not icky. Red dragonflies and marching ants on dresses were our favourite picks for a breezy garden party. While Gadi used prints for the first time in his collection, the print-on-print specialists Masaba Gupta and designer duo Dev r Nil were in line too. Ikkat, the classic patterned weave, made a delightful appearance in the Spring-Summer collection by Dev r Nil while Masaba’s collection with ice-candy prints as well as Chandragupta typography print was delicious. Monochromatic tones blended well with pink and ice blue with occasional bursts of neon. The sporty elements in her collection came through with skirts and sheer sweatshirts. And who could miss the models strutting in white canvas shoes barring the showstopper Alia Bhatt who pouted and preened with élan. Husband-wife designer duo Pankaj and Nidhi Ahuja paid an ode to the Renaissance period in their collection. Prints derived from the painted facades of European churches of the 14th to 17th century ruled the collection as did opening designer Anupamaa Dayal’s collection, Gulabi. True to its name, the pink hued were omnipresent and we loved the floaty-flowy, easy-breezy vibe. Also exploring tribal motifs and architectural graphics was designer duo Ankur and Priyanka Modi via their collection, Tribus. The lip jewellery used during the AM:PM show was quirky and fun.
- SHEER ELEGANCE
One of the strongest trends that has emerged in this Spring/Summer showcase is the use of sheer fabrics. Light, ethereal materials have been used abundantly with many designers picking georgette and tulle to take their design story forward. Our pick would be Rohit Gandhi and Rahul Khanna of Cue whose collection, Quiet Vanity lived up to its name. Elegant ensembles that made the most of tulle, georgette, silk and organza were showcased and the silhouettes were razor sharp. Sheer hemlines will be a defining statement in summer of 2014. Rahul Mishra showed just how well to do it as did designer Zubair Kirmani. When it comes to understated elegance, designer Ashish Soni made a befitting finale. A dramatic red set was the perfect backdrop for a monochromatic collection that transported the audience to the opulent days and nights of Hollywood of the 1960s through the collection titled La Dolce Vita. He presented both menswear and women’s wear and was a compilation of dresses, pant-suits and tuxedos (for women too). The silhouettes were fulsome and the bows and polka dots were classic fashion. The showstopper was equally retro - Anil Kapoor who looked dapper in a black tuxedo and he surely seems to be making the most of appearances 24/7 (pun intended).
- MIXED PALETTE
No one colour dominated and the colour palette was magnanimous to include everything from cold grey, pale peach and nude shades to muddy browns, indigo, orange, pink, black, white, red and more.
- SEXY SWIMWEAR
Can a Spring/Summer fashion week be complete without swimwear and resortwear collections? Making a sexy splash with cuts and colours were collections by swimwear experts Shivan and Narresh along with beach babes or resortwear specialists Pia Pauro and Malini Ramani. The Italian artist Lucio Fontana was the inspiration behind Shivan and Narresh’s collection Fontana. The collection emphasised the subtle seduction of the skin with lacerated maillots, colour-blocked bikinis and trikinis. The collection also saw the debut of the Neoprene Lehenga. A water-friendly, high-waisted lehenga with crystal motifs, it’s just what a bride having a destination wedding would need. Designer Pia Pauro was inspired by her travels to Tanzania for her collection, Zanzibar. High on wanderlust, the collection brought in sexy swimsuits, maxi dresses, fringed skirts and the likes. Her contemporary, Malini Ramani it seems took off to exotic locales with party on her mind. The collection titled Wanderlust Wonderland saw the designer roll out maxi dresses, racer back tops, kaftans and gowns. The swimwear with cut-outs worn under flapping long jackets reminded us of a beach far, far away. Now all we have to do is wait for summer.