How many times has something that has raced across the runway actually bolted right into your wardrobe? The unanimous answer is barely ever.
Yet finally, I saw designs in a fashion week that are inevitably poised to be a commercial sell out. For despite my addictive attendance at many New York Fashion Weeks, alongside a sprinkling in London, Milan and India, I have often exhibited qualms over the wearability of what models adorn themselves with. But my recent attendance at Wills India Fashion Week in the opulent Delhi resurrected my languishing hope in fashion weeks, showing me that they too could provide immediate and wearable gratification. These three menswear collections will undoubtedly find an irreplaceable slot in my wardrobe.
My favorite duo Shantanu and Nikhil were inspired by the sand dunes of the surreal Thar Desert with their collection titled The Dunes. The male models were akin to a gang of broody travelers, for the designers strapped their men with round Gandhi-style eyewear to ward off the stares and to eye their prey, alongside over sized duffel bags for a timeless, modern and masculine look. The tailored cuts flattered the bodices that worked hard at the gym, with fabrics drenched in golds and oranges and blues, reminiscent of the sands and skies. Jackets, kurtas and blazers were fabricated with cotton, cashmere and linen, which ensured they flowed crisply. From tone-on-tone prints to recurring motifs and jeweled sprinklings on collars, this was perhaps the most elegant and understated mens collection that I have seen in recent years, making it an inevitable commercial success. While I’d take the blood orange embellished Indo-Western with cropped skinny trousers over the black drapery kurta any day, it was the midnight and daylight blue blazers that caught my fancy as must-haves for a jazzed up version of a corporate workplace. Oh, and send more of the cropped trousers and checked scarves my way, any day!
Tarun Tahiliani, best known to me for his gaudy Punjabi wedding wear (at least in my mind, courtesy of the many designer dipped weddings I’ve attended), gave a menswear collection that was all sexy cuts and stingy on the embellishment. Which, for a change, I didn’t mind. Clearly he had taken to layering fabrics upon fabrics, owing to his inspiration from the dramatic sanctity of the Kumbh Mela, a collection of saints and sadhus in various levels of clad, draped clothing and Tangled Rapunzel-like levels of hair styling. It showed through the mischievous streak that ran through his rather dead choice of colors, a wild tribute to his aptly titled Kumbhback Collection. Quirky twists on classic elements were a seeming forte, be it carrot fit harem style pants with long length blazers, or a classical white dhoti with a well cut heavage popping waistcoat, or shawl style maroon cardigans borrowed off feminine clutches and well suited to the male form. My favorite was the slim chocolate hued over sized jacket in Indo-Western style, a simple piece that radiated timeless sheen.
Manish Malhotra, best known to transform women from awkward to vivacious, went traditional and heavy with his menswear, which works best for my over-the-top personality. He paired all his kurtas with Aladdin pants, bidding farewell to the age of skinny and churidaars. My favorite was a deep brocade indigo kurta and the collection of enviably red, maroon and gold scarves with hypnotic and kaleidoscopic recurring patterns. The overdose of black was both broody and deadly, making all silhouettes dapper. Probably the least inspiring was the fairly ordinary Nehru jacket and white dhoti sported by the teenage eye candy showstopper, where even my favorite color red was subdued at the cuffs and collar.
Looks like yours truly knows what he’ll be sporting this season, thanks to the transcendence of runway fashion into wearable clothing. Especially menswear!