“I showcased how maharanis in the older days would spend a day"
The FDCI’s India Couture Week 2021 took part from August 23-29, featuring nineteen designers.
The pandemic has really hit India’s fashion scene hard, especially when it comes to runway shows.
A virtual format has come in as a replacement, with people watching them via their smartphones.
India Couture Week went digital for the second time as social distancing measures and safety remain paramount.
Nineteen designers created fashion feature films for the event, which is in its 14th year.
The designers included Manish Malhotra who opened the event, Anamika Khanna, Gaurav Gupta, Rahul Mishra and many more.
The engaging fashion films are available to watch across FDCI’s social media platforms and they promised classic ideas, exclusive pieces and a fusion of ideas. The FDCI describes them as:
“The fashion films come embroidered with details that the new-age customer can view with a click of a button.
“As we celebrate the shifting landscape to wearable couture, we ensure the evolution of design in a post-pandemic world.”
We showcase the designers and their fashion films in more depth
Manish Malhotra: ‘Nooraniyat – The Bridal Edit’
Manish Malhotra opened India Couture Week with his fashion film ‘Nooraniyat – The Bridal Edit’ starring Bollywood actress Kriti Sanon as his muse.
His film is all about bridal couture with lots of colours.
Kriti wears an elaborate bridal red lehenga, embellished with gold and silver. Exhibiting a regal air, for accessories, she has a maang tikka, stacked bangles and beautiful Bengali bindis.
Customary bridal red is the main focus of the film but there are soft peaches and gold ensembles as well.
The new collection features a lot of embroidery with zardozi, badla (needlework) and sequin work.
It shows Manish’s exquisite craftsmanship, with outfits that are all about sheer opulence and beauty. The elaborate lehengas contrast, with the floaty chiffon dupattas worn as grandiose veils.
The models wear beautiful polki and floral jewellery from Manish’s jewellery collection.
Traditional meets modern, perfect for the new-age bride. It is a celebration of diversity, with models of different ages, shapes and ethnicities being included.
Talking about the film Manish said:
“We are often looked at as a label for sangeet or mehandi functions. Since our last collection ‘Ruhaniyat’, we’ve seen an increased interest in bridal looks. We wanted to push that fold further.
“ ‘Nooraniyat – The Bridal Edit’ is designed keeping the modern-day ‘dulhan’ in mind.”
“Each of these looks can be worn by the bride. So, you will see classic bridal colours of red, pink and rose.
“The glamour of feathers and sequins makes its way to the bridal lehenga as well, because why restrict that just to the sangeet?”
One model is Noyonika Chatterjee, a supermodel of the ‘90s who plays an older bride getting her second chance at happiness.
Influencer Sakshi Sindhwani who promotes body positivity through her platform also plays a bride.
The film shows the brides enjoying getting ready for their big day with laughter and smiles. There are no shy, demure dulhans here.
Siddartha Tytler: ‘Ambrosia’
Siddartha Tytler opened the second day of India Couture Week with his film ‘Ambrosia,’ which showcased his menswear and womenswear collection.
The film opens with a trippy feel as we are introduced to shades of ivory and gold.
‘Ambrosia’ means ‘nectar of the gods’ in Greek mythology and the collection is androgynous and ethereal.
Both men and women wear anarkalis, with outfits featuring sequins, lots of ruffles, beadwork and thread embroidery.
The anarkalis are voluminous with 50 kalis for both men and women as well as lehengas with fourty panels. Sherwanis have gigantic skirts and the ruffled kurta sets for men are stunning.
Ruffled dupattas have been created from sixty metres of fabric, with laser cutting and quilting used throughout. There are gorgeous gold saris embedded with sequins on both short and long dresses.
The structure and volume of the designs are exaggerated and the tones are mesmerising.
His men’s collection shows how to experiment, with different styles of outfits. The Delhi-based designer is known for sharp cuts.
Cotton silk chanderis, silk organzas and taffeta are all in focus, with sequin details, gold borders and floral motifs.
Both men and women wear bridal-style necklaces and have a gold leaf in their hair and on their faces.
Bollywood actor Aditya Seal is the showstopper and wears an ivory angrakha. The genderless anarkali is a balance of masculinity and femininity that epitomises the androgynous look of the line.
Suneet Varma: ‘Noor’
Suneet Varma’s ‘Noor’ film is an outstanding showcase of beautiful colours and styles. It’s a journey of a couple and their wedding as well as all the outfits that are featured in their celebrations.
Pastel colours including mint, blush, yellow and ice-blue all play a part in the men’s and womenswear collection.
Men are seen in mint sherwanis, sherwanis embroidered with floral motifs and a contrasting yellow kurta with a pink Nehru waistcoat.
The sherwanis have thread embroidery and modern hemlines. Apricot oranges and peaches are embedded into the ivory base.
The women wear incredible dresses and lehengas that are adorned with crystals, threadwork and delicate beads.
They are seen in flowing silhouettes with off-shoulder necklines, sheer sleeves and ruffled shoulders. There is a blush pink sharara set and bandhgala jackets, with zardozi embroidery.
Speaking about the collection, Suneet says:
“I understand the importance of finery and couture at an Indian wedding, and I also understand the needs of the modern young Bride and Groom- whether the wedding is a lavish one or an intimate elopement.”
The showstopper is a bridal lehenga in vermilion red.
It is especially stunning with its silver zardozi work and heavy gold zari thread work, giving the traditional look a modern twist.
The dupatta features mirror work and the entire look is mesmerising. Her groom wears a sherwani in the same bridal red colour, with silver embroidery.
Gaurav Gupta: ‘Universal Love’
Gaurav Gupta’s ‘Universal Love’ is a celebration of deep affection and his collection for men and women showcases his signature sculpted creations.
The film features different couples in love, all unbound by societal norms.
We see two women in love, two men together and an older woman with a younger man. Diversity is celebrated with models of all ages, shapes and ethnicities included in the film.
Models wear gowns in glittering fabrics, with seashell-shaped sculpting. There are structured shoulders and pleated contouring makes up the bodice.
Layered tulles and silk crepe are used throughout.
Fan detail is featured in a burgundy coloured lehenga, with both shape and shadow being highlighted by the pleats. It also appears on a blue dress shaped like an hourglass, adding movement.
Men wear bandhgala and tuxedo sets, with colour blocks of black and white, teal and blue. Fresh flair is created with lines drawn across the jackets and sharp metallic embroidery on velvet tuxedos.
The trousers are flared with extra exaggeration as if to create an illusion of flight.
Commenting on the inspiration behind his work, Gaurav stated:
“The collection is inspired by the cosmos. The galaxy, the stars, the nebula. The menswear is very sharp, tailored–very sexy. For the first time, menswear has metallic accents.
“Constellations of sorts with lines and details running over the velvet bandhgalas and tuxedos.
“One of the most interesting pieces we’ve done is the men’s corsets–a new cummerbund on the tuxedos.
“We’ve explored hues with depth this time as well–think night teal and a bottle green, for instance.”
One gown has embroidery strokes that look like flying comets and a concept lehenga in cosmic grey is embellished with sprinkles of shaded glass.
A hybrid Indian gown has a large, layered skirt and rainshower patterns. The collection is full of glitter and glamour. Gaurav’s website clearly outlines the aim of the film:
“We strive to bring perception to the dialogue surrounding sexualities, gender fluidity, boundaries and identities because there is always a reason to keep celebrating love in all its forms, ages, sizes, shapes and colours.”
The video presentation certainly has all the elements of universality.
Pankaj & Nidhi: ‘Afterglow’
Pankaj & Nidhi’s ‘Afterglow’ collection is one of the few at India Couture Week that did not feature motifs or prints. Their women’s line used sequins, pearls and fringing for a futuristic effect.
The monochrome gowns were ethereal and had a mermaid-like effect. They were entirely covered in sequins and featured long trains and exaggerated shoulders.
There were hues of pink and gold, as well as yellow and red styles.
One stunning yellow lehenga really captured the modern focus of the collection. The designers are hoping to attract younger consumers with this experimental aesthetic, with Pankaj expressing:
“We want more young girls to adopt our couture, as we have established ourselves somewhat you can say modestly in the prêt market, this new arena of couture is both exciting and challenging.
“We are not selling a story, and neither are we trying to romanticise, what we are attempting to do is get across a beautiful idea.
“Frankly, it is not easy to sell ornamentation when you are not rowing the zardosi/heavy embroidery boat.”
The collection symbolises a new dawn and is looking towards a brighter future.
The pieces are timeless and the gowns radiate an effervescent beauty. Techniques used include origami folding and handcrafted latticework.
The new-age materials give the dresses an iridescent glow. Some have trailing jackets and capes, with all the colours being inspired by the afterglow of a sunset.
Dolly J: ‘Ah-Lam’
Dolly J’s collection for India Couture Week came with her opulent, dream-like film ‘Ah-Lam’. The women’s collection is a modern twist on the shimmer effect that dominated 90s fashion.
The basis is a liquid silver textile that was woven and used for pieces including voluminous skirts and bustier-style tops. Exquisite gowns featured feather detailing and a fairy-tale-like look.
The eye-catching gowns came in strapless versions, with modern-day lehengas having sparkle and shine.
Belts encrusted with crystals added even more sparkle, with thigh-high slits and plunging necklines adding to the modernity.
Dolly J talks about the two prominent aspects of her collection:
“Comfortable and fresh are two things that are predominately on my mind, some experiment, others follow trends, I feel Indian weddings are still traditional.
“One has to walk the tightrope as the bride wants ingenuity. Texturing is the key, last year I had woven fabrics, this year it is lurex, with stones and crystals.”
Feather neck collars dominate the collection in hues of pink and gold. The gowns have exaggerated silhouettes, along with gold and silver crystal work.
Bridal lehengas come in hues of pink and red, featuring also the feather collar.
Amit Aggarwal: ‘Metanoia’
The ‘Metanoia’ film by Amit Aggarwal is an ode to the three elements of earth, water and air. This is easily one of the most thought-provoking films of India Couture Week.
The models are seen in a barren landscape, with the sculptural designs being created to represent flowers and sea anemones. Amit narrates the film, pondering concepts of spirituality and freedom.
The craftsmanship in his designs is impressive and varied; he has used thirty-five different styles and silhouettes. The colours are beautiful, ranging from forest green and moss to eggplant and indigo.
Materials used include optic fibre, glass fibre and raffia palm. Solid structures are made and the contrast with the sheer, light fabrics show form and fluidity as one entity.
Lehengas, saris, gowns and capes are seen throughout. Amit has hand-painted a marbling pattern over PVC and handwoven polymer also on tulle and silk.
The metallic cording and 3D hand-embroidered thread work add even more texture. The polymers create intricate pleating in the silhouettes.
Forest green gowns with feather details and capes that look like the tail of a mermaid are mesmerising. The marrying of structure and fluidity represent hope and new paths.
A beautiful short fuchsia dress features layered ruffles and one gown has a large bow at the side.
There are balloon style dresses and ones that are made to look like they have wings.
There are silver dresses with floral patterns and embroidered with delicate beads. Amit sheds light on his collection:
“We use a polymer to hand weave our clothes, so the garments are woven just like traditional textiles, it’s just the materials that have changed and that is why our language is different.
“Couture means custom-made. It is made for you.
“But it is not just about the fit, it is what makes you feel yourself, in your most authentic skin.”
Amit’s collection is one of the most impressive at India Couture Week, thanks to his incredible use of colours, techniques and textures.
Ashima-Leena’s ‘Nazm-e-Mahal’ is all about royalty and grandeur. Classic silhouettes are created with antique gold fabrics in a film that re-creates the Mughal era.
Designer Leena Singh showcases delicate saris, lehengas and classic blouses. Royal princesses are wearing weaves that are embroidered with gold and silver.
The saris have jewelled tassels and the collection shows weaves and embroideries being revived after being lost over the years.
Bold blues and reds are seen as well as hues of pink and peach. For the film, antique brocade saris were sourced from the original Rajasthani palaces and restored by weavers in Banaras.
Lengthened jackets that can be worn with all silhouettes are shown and the intricate embroidery dominates the designs. Leena emphasises the royalesqse side to her collection:
“I showcased how maharanis in the older days would spend a day in the Haveli so it’s a very emotional and beautiful film shown through the beautiful royal collection.
“We have shown a beautiful classic collection comprising of saris, lehengas, and other outfits.”
“The collection titled ‘Nazm-e-Mahal’ combines delicate hand embroidery with woven textiles with classical royal authentic silhouettes worn by maharanis in palaces in the Mughal era.”
It is a nostalgic collection and the handwoven saris in hues of pink and purple are luxurious.
The colours and embellishments are a traditional style, with the film giving a romantic look at a bygone era.
Royalty and simplicity are combined, creating timeless and majestic creations. They show the classic yet exquisite style of the maharanis from that era.
Amit GT: ‘Scintilla’
Amit GT’s collection for India Couture Week is a showcase of majestic gowns and lehengas.
The ‘Scintilla’ film features exuberant textures, voluminous gowns and modern-day saris. Floral motifs and ruffles feature as well as capes and trains.
Stunning beadwork and delicate embroidery create illusions of snowfall, dewdrops and flowers. The colours are varied and range from nude tones to deep aubergines and emerald greens.
There are saris with one-shoulder blouses as well as ones with flowing trains. One gorgeous princess like gown is white, with silver embroidery and the sheer volume of the skirt makes it opulent.
There are gowns adorned with feathers, one with tiny black feathers that give the impression of hundreds of butterflies sitting on the dress.
Brushstroke linear embroideries, a signature of the designer, also features.
One purple and pink gown is stunning with sequin work and a train. There are so many textures and techniques used throughout. Amit has his say about the designs:
“This year I did sari drapes as well as sari dresses, earlier such ensembles would be seen only on the red carpet, but now they are being worn at every Indian wedding.
“Duchesse satin gowns with detachable trains with large bows, organza textured ball gowns, saree drape gowns had been a constant feature of my collection over the years.
“I always believed in pushing the envelope and making a way forward in fashion and I will continue to do more.”
A black and silver gown is structured adding to the majestic value. The film moves beautifully from nude tones to bold greens and reds, making it is very mesmerising.
Shantanu & Nikhil: ‘Oasis’
The ‘Oasis’ film by Shantanu & Nikhil’s is the first one of India Couture Week that focuses on menswear.
The collection is modern and edgy and full of the fierce glamour the designers are so well known for.
It’s a regal take on their signature military-inspired detailing and tribal motifs. Men wear draped silk kurtas with kaleidoscopic prints and bandhgalas that have intricate detailing and ornamental collars.
Embellished bundi jackets are worn with kurtas. Glamourous sherwanis are paired with cowl trousers as a modern update to the dhoti.
They go well with both the sherwani as well as the shorter jacket.
Digital prints are seen, breaking free from classic embroidery. Regalia-inspired accessories adorn the outfits too.
Jewelled brooches are seen on couture turbans. Royal colours of gold and red feature as well as classic black and navy.
The beadwork on the sherwanis is impeccable and asymmetrical hemlines add to the edginess of the collection. Womenswear is also featured, with the designers mentioning:
“For women we have blurred the boundaries between ballgowns and lehengas, creating hybrid styles that will wear well anywhere from New York to New Delhi.”
There are voluminous drapes that are embellished with embroidery and crystals and the colour palette matches that of the men’s collection.
Red and gold, as well as navy and black, are shown along with couture prints on beautiful fabrics.
A stunning white blazer has architectural digital prints, while many of the gowns include beadwork and ruffle designs.
Zardozi work is seen across the lehengas and the red designs are particularly impressive.
The designers have created a collection that merges royals with rockstars, tradition with modernity and style with edginess.
Reynu Taandon: ‘Zuri’
Reynu Taandon’s film for India Couture Week is ‘Zuri,’ featuring Bollywood actress Chitrangda Singh as her muse.
The women’s collection features ethereal colours with lehengas, saris, shararas and anarkalis.
Soft pastel colours ranging from blush pink and baby blue to mint and white add to the femininity of the line. There are outfits embellished with pearls as well as others adorned with Swarovski crystals.
The collection has been divided into three parts, all of which showcase a different colour palette.
They are greens, pinks and nudes, with all the designs being light and breezy, creating a dream-like effect. Reynu discloses more on the crafting, giving women a very stylish appearance:
“The silhouette is crafted keeping in mind all generations making the collection versatile yet trendy. The nude ones are my favourite since they can be worn at any function.
“I want my brides to look elegant and maintain the old world wedding charm in a contemporary way.”
The models are filmed surrounded by flowers as we see the different creations. Some feature a belt in the same colour so the outfit does not clash. This is a very modern addition to the traditional style.
There are lehengas in white, with intricate silver embroidery and shimmery dupattas. An ivory sharara set is equally stunning, again adorned with a belt.
A baby blue anarkali, with hints of mint, creates a gorgeous contrast.
Voluminous skirts and plunging necklines as well as elegant doris are all seen. Chitrangda Singh closes the show in a white and gold lehenga with a sheer dupatta.
Varun Bahl: ‘Memory/Mosaic’
Varun Bahl’s ‘Memory/Mosaic’ is a trendy collection for the modern woman. It pays homage to all that is couture, the shapes it continues to evolve into and the unique pieces it is made up of.
Signature floral prints are teamed, with a touch of bohemia and lots of glamour. Jackets with exaggerated shoulders are seen, as well as beautiful saris, skirts and dresses.
Fabrics including silk, tulle, satin and organza are seen with velvet and denim. These models wear their ensembles by the pool and even to the gym, showing their carefree attitude.
The designer has used pieces from previous collections to craft into these new, unique mosaic creations.
Flowers are used to adorn pieces, with lots of mirror work utilised and gorgeous tassels made from beads.
The mirror work creates the kaleidoscope effect that fits in well with the bohemian theme.
The collection has a youthful feel yet the handcrafted ensembles display timelessness. Varun highlights more about the line:
“I’ve tried to simplify my designs and cuts to reduce the ritual of wearing haute couture, and infuse them with a certain refreshing lightness so that you’re encouraged to wear them more often, and in different ways.
“My colour palette plays with ivory, black, red, sage green, and blushing pinks—light, contrasting, and refreshing, ideal for the upcoming festivities no matter where you are in the world.”
The hues of bold reds and pinks dominate, creating a colour palette that is beautiful to watch. Each piece is unique and so has its own history, just as the one wearing it has.
Falguni Shane Peacock: ‘Love Is’
Falguni Shane Peacock’s fashion film is titled ‘Love Is’ and features Bollywood actress Shraddha Kapoor as their muse. The film is set against the backdrop of the Taj Mahal, aiming to highlight its beauty.
The designers are the only ones in the world to film their collection within the World Heritage site.
“The details of the collection seek to translate the visionary saga of love by borrowing from the beauty of Taj Mahal.
“We have transcribed the innumerable motifs of the gem on the ensembles and varnished them with refined adornments of Swarovski crystals, pearls, mirrors, sequins and beads.
“The intricate crafting techniques replicate the structural marvel on the fabric via architectural motifs of domes and minarets, filigree of foliage, and motifs of the century’s fauna and birds.
“The cuts are traditional yet au courant, think trailed lehengas, fitted-and-flared silhouettes, and ball gown-style lehengas that make for a befitting wedding day bridal trousseau.
“The line is innovative in terms of method but strongly rooted in terms of approach, a signature aesthetic of our label.”
Hues of whites and pinks feature, with details including beaded tassels and extravagant eye make-up. Gold and red are also seen as well as a bubble-gum lehenga with feather detailing at the hemline.
It has intricate detailing and is adorned with sequins, beads and Swarovski stones. The corset blouse is cropped and has a long cape with a train. The feathered bow is an outstanding detail.
Shraddha wears an exquisite, handcrafted red lehenga with silver embroidery.
It is a mix of traditional elements with modern aspects. The short choli and lehenga are embellished with floral motifs and sequins and crystals.
The dupatta has scallop borders and is encrusted with beads and crystals. The full-sleeved blouse is completed with tassels. The entire collection has been completely crafted by hand.
Rohit Gandhi + Rahul Khanna: ‘Alchemize’
Rohit Gandhi and Rahul Khanna have been designing for over 24 years but 2021 was their first year at India Couture Week.
Their film ‘Alchemize’ presented a men’s and women’s collection that is cocktail couture.
Although they say their audience consists of brides and grooms, this collection is very different from the lehenga lineup that has dominated so far.
The line is all about surface ornamentation and a lot of embellishments.
The women’s gowns are adorned with layers of crystals and we see capes finished with fringe, as well as fitted jackets and bodices. The cut-outs and embroidery are made for the red carpet.
The menswear is very strong, showcasing anything but the traditional dinner jacket.
Tuxedo sets are embroidered and velvet lapels and metallic fringed sleeves are so very modern.
Colours range from bottle greens and blues to classic black and deep reds. Glimmering gowns and sharp tuxedos dominate with sculptural ruffles and feathered cuts adding texture.
The cutwork of sheer fabric pieces is quite exceptional too.
Organza also features in the women’s collection through cocktail dresses and evening gowns. The men continued to stand out in their jackets adorned with metallic thread embroidery and crystals.
Delicate pieces of sheer fabric were hand-embroidered onto the outfits that veiled but revealed the female form.
Layers of tulle were covered with organza frays. The men’s modern-day silhouettes had movement and layers. The designers elaborate on their collection:
“We have worked on a couture collection for the first time. We specialize in textural surface ornamentation, and our hand embroideries are all based on old Indian crafts.
“It was a very natural transition to infuse our hand-done techniques on couture ensembles.”
“The modern Indian bride and the groom were looking for something unusual, which is global yet traditional.”
“We believe our collection with its emphasis on sculpted silhouettes softened with sensual shimmer is apt for the modern bride and groom who are breaking conventions by trying unusual silhouettes for their big day.”
There were jackets with tassels as well, with zips instead of buttons. The men’s blue suits were especially exquisite.
The cocktail dresses shimmered in rich gem tones and were all bejewelled, feathered and beaded.
Tarun Tahiliani: ‘Artisinal Couture’
Tarun Tahiliani’s ‘Artisanal Couture’ collection is made up of six smaller capsules: Chikankari, Pichwai, Rangrez, Cocktail Goddess, Pakeezagi and Bridal.
The collection is focused on womenswear but menswear does feature also.
It is a contemporary line where the designer has used embroideries, textiles and techniques in a modern way. There are gorgeous lehengas, shararas, kurtas, choli capes, skirts and concept saris.
Fabrics used include silk, tulle, crinkle, organza brocade and moonga silk brocade.
Blouses are shown in different cuts and shapes and are embellished with mirror work, pearls, sequins and cut dana.
We also see doris, gota patti, flowers and embroideries including zardozi and aari. The Rangrez capsule, as the name suggests, is a celebration of colours that range from pastels to bridal reds.
The Pakeezagi capsule features an ivory palette with beadwork and zardozi. Belts are also a big part of the collection overall.
The men’s sherwanis come in rich colours including orange and pink to a deep aubergine. Tarun mention the variation in their collection:
“We are offering a variety of beautiful designs that women can choose from. It is a celebration of colour leading from the Rangrez capsule.
“Thousands of metres of woven brocade strips are cut out and applied in different forms.”
“The bridal collection is presented in a palette of colours ranging, from traditional bridal reds to contemporary pastels and beiges.”
“Our Pichwai collection takes inspiration from the ancient Indian lyrical paintings from Rajasthan that depict big monochromatic scenes of the Raasleela and our traditional motifs from peacocks to cows to lotuses.
“Finally, the Chikankari capsule is reminiscent of the tomb of I’tim?d-ud-Daulah in Agra, whose latticed carvings and inlay work form the basis of the collection’s motifs.”
The saris have divine drapes and the silver ones shimmer with sequins. Modern silhouettes are merged with traditional techniques to create new innovative pieces.
Anamika Khanna: Untitled Collection
The collection of Anamika Khanna for India Couture Week 2021 may not have had a name but the film was still very impressive. The designer description says it all:
“This collection is an emotion, a way of rejoicing beauty. It is an acceptance of what is and a celebration of what we are given.
“This way, we pay homage to the most intricate crafts of India, take from there, the spirit of what was and what will be for eternity.”
In 2021, we saw Rhea Kapoor wearing the designer’s pearl veil for her wedding. These pearl veils and hairnets are used in the film. They go beautifully with the range of white saris.
There are draped skirts and jackets, a signature of Anamika’s work. Lehengas are seen with patchwork style intricate embroidery.
Metallic zari and threadwork are applied to a base of ivory and black as well as pastel hues.
One red lehenga is adorned with beaded tassels. The men’s collection features kurtas and stoles with kala dori work.
They were styled with neckpieces and chokers, giving the traditional look a very modern twist.
These come in pastel colours with glitter and embroidery work and dhoti-style bottoms. Bandhgalas are plain black, with colourful embroidery, showcasing an opulent look for the modern Indian man.
Kunal Rawal: ‘Vision Quest’
Kunal Rawal’s menswear collection in the film ‘Vision Quest’ is stunning, presenting looks that are rooted in tradition but conceptualised into modern-day luxury.
His unexpected muse for the line is Bollywood actress Sonam Kapoor.
Silhouettes like the kurta kaftan that have never been seen before also feature. The redesigned bandi has new cuts and back buttons.
A patchwork sherwani is also introduced, created from leftover fabrics and embellished with micro motifs.
Long kurtas, bandhgalas, dhotis and sleeveless jackets are all showcased. The focus on intricate techniques can be seen through pleating, patchwork, double layering and French knotting.
There are looks in linen, silk, organza and cotton. Colours range from mint, sage and blue to lilac and salmon but the ivories and golds really stand out.
Traditional mojris were seen in faux leather and sneaker mojris were a hybrid of tradition and comfort.
We even see kidswear for the first time in India Couture Week 2021. Threadwork and the brand’s signature silhouettes focused on functionality and comfort, looking incredible.
Kunal mentions more on his line:
“This collection is aimed towards people who are looking for versatile pieces that they can relate to and pieces that can help them express themselves.
“It also targets those who believe in comfortable luxury.”
“All our pieces are made to ensure the comfort of those wearing them whether it’s via our sweat absorbent lining, hems and cuts, hidden pockets, or the deconstructed sherwani.”
The film ends with Sonam arriving in an embroidered bandhgala that had shades of champagne, beige and ivory. This was layered over a textured kurta and ivory shooting trousers.
It was a perfect example of the designer’s impressive couture collection that breaks the mould and represents individuality.
Anju Modi: ‘The Eternal Story’
Anju Modi’s collection for India Couture Week is titled, ‘The Eternal Story’ and celebrates generational legacy through rich textiles and bright colours.
Three generations of women dance and dress a dulhan in a joyful atmosphere.
Heavy skirts and chiffon dupattas feature in a line of saris and lehengas, while culture and family are celebrated. The designer is known for reinventing and reviving old textiles. She explains:
“Preserving our heritage and its unique craft legacy are the cornerstones on which our brand is built.”
The saris and lehengas show regional tradition being woven into ensembles that will pass down through generations.
There are lehengas in red with contrasting purple dupattas. Intricate embroidery and zardozi borders are used throughout.
A beautiful anarkali in white is embossed with a floral print and a pink border. The mixture of colours on each outfit is bright and bold. There are saris in purple and yellow.
Lehengas in white, purple and red with floral motifs show that colour palettes can be mixed without looking harsh. Blush pink skirts are decorated with silver zardozi and gorgeous flowers.
Mixed fabrics and textures create looks that are opulent yet traditional.
One beautiful red lehenga is interwoven with mint hues and it looks majestic. The colours are the most impressive part of this collection.
Rahul Mishra: ‘Kam-Khab’
The final film of India Couture Week 2021 came from Rahul Mishra and is titled, ‘Kam-Khab.’ They deserved the finale with almost fifty ensembles in the men’s and womenswear collection.
Thousands of 3D embroidered flowers dominate the line and we are also shown the craftsmen adorning the garments with their intricate handiwork.
Lehengas, saris and waistcoats are all featured in the collection.
Fabrics used include tissue, crepe, georgette and silk organza as well as Chanderi silk textiles and Banarasi cutwork. Skirts are embossed with motifs of flamingoes, birds and flowers.
Saris have mirror work and beadwork and the men’s sherwanis and kurtas are as embellished as the women’s collection. Women’s jackets are seen with trousers – a modern look that really stands out.
One pink blouse is made up of layered ruffles and it is clear to see just how delicate all the embroidery used is.
The colour palette ranges from pinks and whites to blues and yellows.
The 3D flowers are the standout part of the collection, helping to make a lasting impression long after watching the film.
Although India Couture Week 2021 did focus on bridal couture and the lehenga, in particular, there were plenty of modern cuts and styles that featured also.
New conceptions of traditional designs were created across the event. Cocktail couture was seen alongside elegant saris and different shapes and techniques were used.
Womenswear was dominant but the menswear offerings that were seen were impressive. Even kidswear was featured at the 2021 event.
From the traditional bride and groom to the more modern-day version and to those simply looking to add couture to their wardrobe, India Couture Week 2021 had it all and more.
You can watch all the phenomenal fashion films, showing the different collections here.