Wool seems to be Indian fashion’s new trend du jour. While designer Rajesh Pratap Singh was appointed as the Woolmark Ambassador for India last year, recently designer Rahul Mishra bagged the coveted International Woolmark prize. Now, it’s Delhi-based designer Gaurav Jai Gupta who is adding to the fabric’s summer quotient. There’s always been a clear line separating the winter-friendly fabrics with the summer-cool ones. But going by Gupta’s menswear collection for summer, it seems that line is now fast blurring.
The designer has put together a summer-friendly collection made using Merino wool in association with The Woolmark Company and Raymonds. The collection was presented at a fashion show organised by the Australian High Commission in New Delhi last week that saw actor Randeep Hooda as the showstopper. “The idea essentially is to present wool as a trans-seasonal material,”
Presenting merino wool in all its guises — wool blended with silk, cotton, linen — the designer wanted to create awareness about wool and how it can be embraced for summer. “Until now, wool has been perceived to be heavy, warm and definitely not apt for summer. These new fabrics, however, are light, cool and take well to both formal as well as casual silhouettes,” says Gupta.
Working with woven textiles is not new for the designer who trained at Chelsea College of Art and Design, London, in woven textiles and his commitment to revive appreciation for contemporary Indian textiles has earned him critical acclaim. Interestingly, through this collection, Gupta is also trying to drive new trends in summer menswear styling. “Even though it’s a formal menswear collection, I wanted to bend some rules. Menswear in the Indian context has been stereotypical and I wanted to infuse freshness,” he explains. It’s most noticeable in the line-up of trousers with their slouchy styling, oversized looks and uniquely designed waistlines. “We are very judgmental when it comes to formal office wear. I feel we need to loosen up a bit,” says Gupta, who didn’t include tuxedos or regular ties in the mix. The colour palette, though mostly traditional with the likes of charcoal grey, navy blue also includes spurts of earthy hues such as pale green, purple and ochre. Formal shirts also saw a new interpretation with no collars, round necks and some with deep Vs. These are new rules for sure.