A Theatre of Dreams

With couturiers Rohit Bal, Gaurav Gupta and Varun Bahl, Day Four and Five of FDCI India Couture Week 2016 in Delhi was a heady mix of reimagined ideas.

Written by Somya Lakhani | Published: July 26, 2016 12:00 am
FDCI India Couture Week 2016, India Couture Week, India Couture Week 2016, Couture Week 2016, fashion week, rohit bal, Gaurav Gupta, Varun Bahl, FDCI week, fashion show, india fashion A model displays a creation by designer Rohit Bal at the Couture Week 2016. (Source: Express photo by Neeraj Priyadarshi)

Rohit Bal

A fashion week finale always holds the promise of much drama, especially if it features designer Rohit Bal. The drama this time around was limited to the clothes — no fancy sets, Bollywood showstoppers, live musicians or swimming pools — and we are not complaining. On Sunday night at Bikaner House in Delhi, the five-day celebration of couture ended with “Kehkashaan”, Bal’s collection that reveals his love for Czarist Russia, and reiterates his obsession with Kashmir. With his heart set on the opulence of the czarist regime and the stark simplicity of Kashmiri craftsmanship, the couturier created a line that straddled both worlds.

Black, burgundy and off-white were the primary colours of the range, with floral motifs — especially the rose — making several appearances. Zardozi, the dying art of Kashmiri kani and crewel embroidery, too found themselves on the floor — sweeping silhouettes such as anarkalis, long jackets, lehengas, tunics, quilted skirts, gowns and saris. Interestingly, Bal kept the skirts and lehengas mostly embroidery-free, concentrating more on the capes, jackets and phiran-like ponchos.

FDCI India Couture Week 2016, India Couture Week, India Couture Week 2016, Couture Week 2016, fashion week, rohit bal, Gaurav Gupta, Varun Bahl, FDCI week, fashion show, india fashion Designer Rohit Bal, receives applause next to models wearing his creations at the end of his show at the Couture Week 2016. (Source: Express photo by Neeraj Priyadarshi)

The menswear range too stuck to this cultural blend, with male models strutting on the ramp inside the revamped Bikaner House, in Jodhpur pants and jackets, and heavily embroidered sherwanis with churidars. Obviously inspired by the czars and czarinas of Russia, Bal accessorised the look with golden crowns, and, since it was all about opulence, he collaborated with Delhi-based jewellery label Shri Ram Hari Ram Jewellers.

The only grouse was the venue — the small, claustrophobic hall inside Bikaner House — where the show was held. It couldn’t contain the people and the excitement that a Rohit Bal finale show attracts. Dressed in a black velvet bandhgala, Bal stood in the middle of two seating blocks, flanked by designer buddies Varun Bahl, Rahul Khanna and Rohit Gandhi, as the models walked by. He smiled as his clique whistled and shouted in appreciation, finally breaking into that signature jig during the final bow. How typically Bal, yet unlike anyone else.

FDCI India Couture Week 2016, India Couture Week, India Couture Week 2016, Couture Week 2016, fashion week, rohit bal, Gaurav Gupta, Varun Bahl, FDCI week, fashion show, india fashion Ruffles at the end of gowns, metallic chains on top, multi-layered skirts with off-shoulder blouses, and sculpted saris were part of the range of designs by Gaurav Gupta. (Source: Express photo by Neeraj Priyadarshi)

Gaurav Gupta

Futuristic designs on a ramp that has a PoP cave in the middle — it’s this contradiction that defines Gaurav Gupta. Showcased on Saturday at Taj Palace hotel, Gupta’s collection “Scape Song” spelt glamour as cocktail wear in beige, brown, blue, red and green walked the runway. Ruffles at the end of gowns, metallic chains on top, multi-layered skirts with off-shoulder blouses, and sculpted saris were part of the range. Actor Saiyami Kher played the showstopper, and wore a one-shoulder powder blue gown made of crystal mesh fabric. Silhouettes remain his strength but this season, the experimentation with newer colours has our heart.

Varun Bahl

Varun Bahl loves flowers and roses are his absolute favourite, as is evident season after season. This year, beds of white and pink were on the ramp, and reds hung on the white walls in the background, as his latest collection “Vintage Garden” walked the runway on Saturday night at Taj Palace hotel in Delhi. Here’s a list of all that we adore:

Menswear: Few designers aced menswear this season like Bahl. With floral theme running across the range, male models flaunted achkans, Nehru jackets, kurtas with churidars, and shawls — all embroidered with floral motifs. The men wore off-white, white, blue and peach. Bold and beautiful, it’s a range that gave stiff competition to what Bahl did with his womenswear.

FDCI India Couture Week 2016, India Couture Week, India Couture Week 2016, Couture Week 2016, fashion week, rohit bal, Gaurav Gupta, Varun Bahl, FDCI week, fashion show, india fashion Bold and beautiful, it’s a range that gave stiff competition to what Varun Bahl did with his womenswear. (Source: Express photo by Neeraj Priyadarshi)

Silhouettes: Saris, floor-length anarkalis and lehengas were the mainstay of the range. Interestingly, Bahl paired lehengas and long skirts with a number of tops, varying in length, and the quintessential choli. Short crop jackets with gowns laden with floral or tropical embroidery too made it to the ramp. He used easy-going silhouettes and cuts to suit the modern-day bride, who’d rather have a fuss-free fitting session.

Embroideries & Colours: Enough can’t be stressed on the thread work and hand embroidery technique applied on the clothes. From the section of whites with minimal work, to lehengas in duck egg blue and pinks with embroidered flower beds on them, to the last section of bright red bridal lehengas and saris with heavy embroidery on them — the karigari was exquisite.

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