Post Pandemic, pared-down couture – fashion and trends

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Couture weeks are usually brimming with a flurry of garments – crafted with extravagant embroidery and one-of-a-kind embellishments. However, this season, couture’s collective reaction to the pandemic has been a rather pared-down approach. Most designers have recontextualised their design process by scaling down their collections, toned down the excess and focused on creating timeless pieces to suit the post-Pandemic bride, while staying true to their brand ethos and signature styles. Hence, the 2020 edition of India Couture Week organised by Fashion Design Council of India (FDCI) in partnership with Hindustan Times will witness an array of edited offerings comprising investment-worthy, seasonless pieces. Couturier Manish Malhotra, whose collection is all about celebrating the spirit of timelessness, shares, ”The collection is timeless with old-world work that I have seen in museums across the world – Doha, Jaipur, Ahmedabad, Delhi. But it is all about celebrating the moment, the craft, artisans, textiles and textures,” says Malhotra, who will be showcasing 25 pieces and close the couture week.   

A sketch from designer Anju Modi’s collection Sindoori

A sketch from designer Anju Modi’s collection Sindoori

While the weddings are getting smaller from 500 guests to 50 guests, brides want practicality and also a sense of heritage in their ensembles. All in all, a more wearable approach to design is what defines couture this season. Designers are also going back to the classics and reinventing them with an of-the-moment touch. “Brides today don’t want to be weighed down by the embroidery. The garments are not very heavy this year, we have toned down the embroidery,” says designer Anju Modi, who went back to her archives and Indian crafts to design this collection as things slowed down. Even designer Shantanu Mehra of Shantanu & Nikhil revisited his work, “We as a brand are going back to our archives and reinventing the wheel by re-visiting some of our hero products and classics across various categories and giving it a more accessible look. As a brand, we have been advocating seasonless for some years now and as such weren’t over producing designs. This pandemic has only further reinforced that thought process,” he adds. 

The garments per collection have also been reduced this year due to lack of time and business strategies. A designer who made 90 garments has come down to 55-60 this year. “Everything has been pushed by a few months, the buying behaviour has changed, so we are producing precise lines. We usually made 85-90 couture garments, this year, we have made 50-55 and will showcase about 27,” confesses designer Suneet Varma. Moreover, while showcasing a film the line should be precise, says Modi, “When we are showcasing a digital film, the garments anyway are lesser. Twenty to 25 garments is what we are presenting as after the lockdown,” she adds. Agreeing to this designer Rahul Mishra also feels that time and attention is precious and moving forward a precise line will have more impact and give craftsmen more time to make it. “Time is evolving and we need to get away from unnecessary collections as it is not sustainable and also confuses the client as well as our team. Small and precise lines have a larger impact,” says Mishra. 

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