Physical fashion weeks are in vogue once again, and quite frankly when it’s Indian couture, nothing makes them look more breath-taking than their presence on the runway. On 22 July, the FDCI India Couture Week returned to the capital. Completing 15 years, this year the FDCI India Couture Week was a 10-day extravaganza that took place between 22-31 July at Taj Palace, New Delhi. With a high celebrity quotient, one witnessed stunning couture creations in all its glory during the period.
The 10-day FDCI India Couture Week saw some of India’s biggest names showcasing their couture collections. Opening the FDCI India Couture Week on Friday, Tarun Tahiliani followed by Rahul Mishra showcased their collections on Saturday and JJ Valaya on Sunday. Here’s a round-up of all that took place at the couture week.
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Paying tribute to the incredible legacy of our Indian craft heritage, Tarun Tahiliani opened the FDCI India Couture Week with his couture collection The Painterly Dream. The collection embodied traditional sensibilities in Tahiliani’s signature modern style. A pastel colour palette brought together earthy tones of age-old patterns coupled with an artistic vision of the designer to form modern silhouettes.
From playful multi-coloured lehengas to long jackets over lehengas, achkans, jackets over lehengas, sarees, shararas, red sindoori sarees to well-tailored men’s wear with the traditional magic of drapes; this collection showcases the couturier’s artistry with fit and finesse. Each of the creations was further enhanced with embroidery techniques such as the chikankari, pichwai, kashida forming the strong craft pillars for this collection.
Tarun Tahiliani said, “Ironically as it sounds, the stillness of the pandemic gave me and the studio time to re-visit what we do, and think about how to technically, movement wise and flow-wise, make the garment experiential and not all dazzle and discomfort. We are also of the firm belief that a thing of beauty is a joy forever, and creating exquisite clothes that feel like skin are part of sustainable fashion because then one will wear them again and again, value them, and pass them on!”
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After a spectacular showcase at the Paris Haute Couture Week, Rahul Mishra brought to India his couture collection The Tree of Life at the FDCI India Couture Week. Mishra’s collection sought inspiration from nature’s abundance while celebrating its opulence and beauty. In this collection, two and three-dimensional embroideries replicate the beauty of nature in gold hues. Intricately embellished artworks articulate scenes from dense forests and metallics, add another dimension to the couture creations.
A contemporary application using a multitude of traditional surface embellishment techniques from the Indian subcontinent, this collection is a manifestation of artistic memory.
Ace designer JJ Valaya completed 30 years in the industry, and to celebrate this landmark the couturier put forth his new collection Alma at the FDCI India Couture Week. The collection marked the celebration of 30 years of the label and takes inspiration from Spain. An unapologetically glamorous collection, the line-up featured luxurious fabrics, elegant details, inspired prints and the designer’s timeless and much-loved embroideries. A dark colour palette of brown, red, maroon and black with abstract prints took the forefront.
No one does ballgowns quite like Dolly J. Returning to the FDCI India Couture Week runway, the couturier unveiled her latest collection Meraki. The new collection draws inspiration from the classic music form jazz. To reinforce the collection’s connection to jazz, the show set was reminiscent of a New York jazz club. Masterful structure and exquisite embroidery stole the limelight. From lehengas to pre-draped sarees, and ruffles ballgowns with corsets, the scintillating collection caught everyone’s eyes.
Speaking about her ICW ‘Meraki’ collection couture show designer, Dolly J. said, “Given that it is a couture collection, we wanted it to be opulent, and so we started with tones of molten gold and iridescent silver for the lehengas and gowns for our brides. This then progressed into a variety of other metallic hues, including deep yellows, maroons, and metallic charcoals, amongst other striking jewel tones.” Bollywood diva, Shilpa Shetty turned showstopper for the designer in a stunning cocktail gown that featured cut-outs on the waist.
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Sitara by Suneet Varma was a celebration of the modern bride. Romantic pastel hues of pink, blue, ivory and off-white we adorn with intricate embroidery techniques. The collection is for modern Indian women who embrace the romance of traditional Indian couture. The collection saw a mix of traditional motifs and abstract artworks enhanced by age-old crafts of India.
Anju Modi’s couture collection The Road Less Travelled celebrated Indian couture and contemporary draping styles. It was a collection encompassing one’s learnings and experiences through various walks around the world. Featuring a colour palette that ranged from deep maroon to earthy tones; Indian wedding couture and flowy silhouettes for daily wear; the collection was a treat to the eyes.
Making his debut at the FDCI India Couture Week was ace designer Siddartha Tytler with the collection Shan-shui. The designer who is known to create drama with his couture brought to the runway a host of western silhouettes with exaggerated details. A dark colour palette defined the collection with tones of indigo, and black with gold detailing as the hero. Floral details, balloon sleeves, women’s evening gowns and men’s sherwanis and kurtas took centre-stage.
Falguni Shane Peacock
Known for exquisite Indian couture that championed bling with a touch of feathers, Falguni and Shane Peacocks’ couture collection Love Forever was influenced by the rich French tapestries and artworks from the renaissance period. Bringing to the runway voluminous ballgowns, embellished veils, long trails and oodles of intricate craftsmanship, the designs take inspiration from Art Nouveau and French architecture.
The collection showcased the best of Indo-Parisian culture and architecture. From structures of the architectural gems on ensembles to embroidery with refined stones and pearls, the collection reflects the French tapestry essence with an Indian touch. The chrome applique technique replicated the structural marvel and elements from both cultures on the fabric.
Cropped blouses with sheer, feather and ruffle details are teamed with chrome applique and crystal work embedded in structured lehengas. The colour palette of the collection ranges from softer hues like champagne ivory, pale blush, pink parfait, old rose, peach whip, beet red and French roast to deeper hues like peppercorn, metallic stone green, metallic pewter, gilded gold and the signature opal whites. Sara Ali Khan turned show-stopper in a breath-taking indigo lehenga with exquisite work in silver.
Celebrating the 15th year milestone of the brand, Kunal Rawal brought ‘Dear Men’ at FDCI India Couture Week 2022. With kurtas that change colour in the sun, sherwanis that glow in the dark and reimagined traditional silhouettes which are gender-neutral, the Rawal has always been pushing the envelope with endless possibilities. “My idea of couture has always been about fusing beauty with smart design. An ensemble shouldn’t just look beautiful, but should also be super wearable across different occasions. It should definitely go beyond the main occasion and become a true part of your wardrobe. So yes, that is my inspiration – the men, the gorgeous country we live in, our traditions and everything that comes with them!” shared Kunal Rawal.
Speaking about his new collection and favourite pieces the couturier said, “Since 2022 is also our 15-year anniversary, it’s inspired me to play with elements we have stayed away from in the past, such as new silhouettes, tones, textures and patterns. These new silhouettes will also be very flattering for all body types. In fact, most pieces in the collection will allow for fluidity within genders. Another thing I am playing with is multi-purpose statement pieces, think of a formal jacket with a detachable stole.”
On asking him about his favourite pieces from the collection, he candidly said, ” Honestly, it’s hard to pick just one! I think the one that comes to mind at the moment is a texture-on-texture piece inspired by the weaves of India. An ensemble that brings the Indian traditional weaves to life in a completely unique fashion! The outfit actually looks like a 3-D version of the weave. The collection will actually have a lot of such innovative remixes of techniques, so I would say look out for the details.”
However, the couturier has always believed in designing collections with multiple personalities in mind to create complete wardrobes for all of them. Closing the show for Rawla was his dear friend from the film fraternity, Arjun Kapoor.
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