I wouldn’t be me if I didn’t fall for something quirky. With a disheveled streak. Some say my vocalization of disheveled is a synonym for psychotic or psychedelic.
After sharing the dapper menswear that is poised to be a commercial sellout courtesy of Wills India Fashion Week, as well as the ethnic whiff of outfits soaked in tradition and cultural heritage, the last in my trio of fashion reviews examines the fusion of Indian with anything transatlantic. Perhaps fusion is an overused filler that stands for art that is the electrifying birthchild of design and creativity. And obviously wearable if it has to pass my lens of approval!
Masaba, under the Satya Paul label, was the opening of the season. Having salivated over her tribal cow print blazers in retail outlets, this one was a feast for the creative eyeballs with designs that spelled quirky. Breaking away from a classical sari design of border and pallav and symeetry, she instead treated the fabric like any other art canvas and unleashed her imagination on it. Oversized lipsticks were splashed alongside their seductive swiveled smudges in animated black outlines on dresses and saris, exuding a modern and contemporary swagger. My favorite pieces were a gigantic pink one on a grey silken sari with pastel green graffiti-like swirls, and a contrasting extension sari design in grey and coral as well as black, neon green and coral. The models strutted with innovative drapes that redefined any pre-existing norms, stretching opportunistically to divulge the exaggerated lipstick print, which made for an alluring and pleasantly distracting facet. On closer look, the abstract prints were shimmering with sequins and embellishment, which was short of gaudy courtesy of a tone-on-tone strategy. On kaftans, the lipstick print married the yesteryear Middle Eastern grace with modern day funk. I was less of a fan of the English telephone boxes in newspaper hues splashed on bustiers with dead black skirts akin to a modern lehnga, but having the print on boxy luggage will definitely add to my frequent traveler collection.
While I don’t always enjoy jazz, I have a soft spot for the fashion of the era, and a pure addiction to the 70s disco style, which is what Nikasha brought to life in a more subdued format with her collection Raat ki Rani (Queen of Night), which had every silhouette imaginable. There were harem pants and jumpsuits in silky and velvety royal purple with metallic lining. One of these was paired with a sequin starred short sheer kurta (did I see snowflakes on a midnight night?), while the other was teamed with a tank top bustier and radiantly long sheer scarf. Playfully, the same work was translated to a round bottomed kaftan for a whimsical tribute, alongside the purple waistcoat combination for a longer kurta opportunity, again embellished with enough glitzy sequins to make the wearer a party ball. With my penchant for red, my favorite was the all red formalwear on steroids in the name of hugging fit and gold embellishments. The sheer ivory and pale saris in chiffon and organza exuded a calmer vibe, though I fell The seaweed water blue churidaar and its transparent Aladdin counterpart were ethereal in their flowing grace and simplicity, owing to the silken fabrics, which I imagine will be devoured by the market courtesy of their immediate wearability.
Pumping up the heat a notch with a fetish for boots and accessories was the funky exotic collection by Rajdeep Ranawat. Imagine everything Texan and medieval Europe, but with heavy Indian craft infused onto every layer. He had everything from royal crowns to court style garments, all lavishly decked up in textural fantasy. Best of all were the boots, especially in non-black and non-grey hues of maroon and turquoise, often lined with Swarovski and spiky metal. Kaftans, skirts and baggy shirts were all crafted with sheer georgettes and silks in a rainbow of hues like earthy browns, night sky purples and grassy greens, all with enough peekaboo to evoke mischief whilst retaining the splendor with curvaceous prints and embroidered accents. The dress and leggings concept was amplified with splendid artwork, and even a boring sheer shirt with trousers look for corporate was turned into a festive color block that the likes of Tim Burton would be proud of. Ditto for the leggings and flats look amped up with neon leggings, metal speckled cluthch bags, contrasting belts and tangled chains suspended from solid shoulder pads. Mainstays like the sari or lehnga were made timeless by combining velvets with sheer in bold colors combinations like maroon and black or turquoise and beige, all with full sleeves of embroidery and flare, and high necked bodices which were also encrusted with gold finery. And those who weren’t dazzled enough already could easily salivate over the trending luxe cuffs, the blingy crowns, the metal infused hatpins, or the gold leather gloves!
When it comes to creativity, this was by far the best set of shows I attended, for they pushed the envelope without tearing it into unwearable oblivion. Which concludes the trio of menswear, traditional and fusion from a land saturated with fashion prowess.
Now to shop, and gape at the leading ladies with an aspired expectance.