India Couture Week highlights

Designers Manish Malhotra and Rimple and Harpreet Narula were inspired by Persian architectural influences while Rahul Mishra, Gaurav Gupta, Varun Bahl and Manav Gangwani flirted with an array of bird and floral motifs. A panoply of peacocks and parrots preened on beds of roses, hibiscuses and lotuses across the style spectrum. Ornate headgears made quite an impact at Varun Bahl and Rohit Bal while the sexy, come-hither off-shoulder blouse emerged to be the ultimate ‘it’ piece seen on Deepika Padukone, who walked for Manish Malhotra and Kangana Ranaut, who played a muse to Manav Gangwani.

Anamika Khanna

Inspiration: Lewis Carol’s saying, “How long is forever? Sometimes just one second”

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Review
Viewing any Anamika Khanna show is a meditative process, an exercise in tuning into the sharp currents streaming though her sensibilities. Looking at the rich cultural past and recontextualising it and making it ‘of-the-moment’ has always been her forte. Easily one of the most riveting collections of the couture week, this time, she was extrapolated the traditional kalamkari and dori techniques creating powerful embroideries. There were 3 D petals in organza, traditional zardozi employed with the daintiest of pearls. She modernised the traditional shararas and her signature sari pants and capes made the same impact as they did when she first showcased them years ago. The beading and surface texturing was so strong that one could barely see the fabric and the inside of the garment was as beautiful as the outside. The statement-making Amrapali jewellery accented the ornate ensembles beautifully giving it another dimension.

Rahul Mishra

Inspiration: German biologist and artist Ernst Haeckel’s Kunstformen der Natur (art forms of nature, 1989).

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Review
In a couture landscape inundated with blinding sequins, hyperventilating mirror works and cascading ruffles, it’s heartwarming to see a designer resensitise our minds to the first tranquil drops of rains falling on the parched earth and the mellifluous sonata of floral and fauna. This seminal line titled, Monsoon Diaries opened with a hand embroidered Kedia blouse and indigo khadi lehenga which set the mood for the rest of the show – a poetic flurry of Maheshwari silk dresses, silk chanderi jackets, bombers and cut-work Benarasi dresses. The multi-toned silk georgette sari paired with an embroidered jacket was one of the high-points of the show. The Rahul Mishra bride is firmly rooted to the past and yet tuned to the present. She’s not looking at arriving in life or trying to proving a point. She’s just timeless as she owns every room she walks into!

Varun Bahl

Inspiration: Vintage garden

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Review
Romantic florals, soft rococo pastels and a play of sheer and texture have always been the Varun Bahl insignia. This time a delectable creamy palette of ivory, pistachio, duck-egg blue, and pale pink to the bold tones of burgundy and midnight blue – evoked a melt-in-your-mouth sensation. A snapshot of an eccentric English high tea party serving macaroons and cakes instantly comes to mind.
There was a canny mix of luxe-lit baroque influences and tropical motifs. The line gloried thanks to strong embroidery and silken thread work. Nifty menswear pieces were the talking points of the show – from the heavily embroidered shawls accenting the sherwanis to tone-on-tone, head-to-toe-layering to vibrant kurtas paired with churidaars. The Varun Bahl groom and his entourage of groom’s men are the ultimate dandies and certainly not coy about going that extra mile when it comes to dressing up!

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