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Neon colours,military-inspired shapes and printed felts,the winter coat has shed its black and boring image.

The nip in the air is hard to miss and while some parts of the country have turned pleasant,the season can be terribly wicked in northern India. To borrow from designer Rajesh Pratap Singh who called his Autumn-Winter 2013 collection,“These ****** North Indian Winters”,it’s time to plan your cover up well in advance. While long tweed coats and padded bomber jackets have been wardrobe staples for a while,this season you can skip the basic and boring for far more interesting choices.

Salute the Military

International runways have seen designers march out collections that boast of structured coats with heavy shoulders,brass buttons and military-inspired colours. The trend gets a stamp of approval from designer Anju Modi. Her Autumn-Winter 2013 collection “Steel Magnolia” is a warm coexistence of dark and light tones such as olive green,dove grey and earthy rust. “The idea was to give the overcoat a dressy makeover as most people wear their winter coats like an ensemble,” says Modi,whose long jacket-style kurtas with embroidered lapels can be worn over full skirts. The woolen berets and Nehru topis in her collection are on our winter list too.

Print Story

Unlike an LBD that asserts itself with its solid colour,it’s time for the winter overcoat to shed its plainness. Embellishments apart,this season the coat has embraced prints. Though internationally,animal prints (by the likes of Diane von Furstenberg,Fendi and Burberry) are de rigueur,closer home,the use of prints was noticeable in the collection by Kolkata-based designer duo Dev r Nil. The long felt coats boasted of patterned prints of fern leaves,one of the main print stories in the collection. A monochrome coat highlighted with threaded textures can be teamed with a contrasting red dress or pants.

Biker Chic

“Apart from leather,there are many new modern fabrics such as neoprene,polytex and glazed microfabric that we have used in the winter line-up,” says designer Namrata Joshipura. Her collection “Wings of Desire” has a dark,edgy look and we love colours such as deep wine with a metallic sheen as well as taupe gold. The leather jacket has been styled like a dress with fine leather strips appliquéd to create wing-like patterns along with simple embroideries.

Shine Bright

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The neon colour trend has been a hot-stepper all through summer and it’s not set to fade away this winter. According to designer Manish Arora,whose collection for this winter is an ode to the Burning Man Festival,“bright colours are the perfect way to get back at the dreary winter days”. His winter palette packs in the likes of pop pink,florescent orange and neon green,apart from black and navy blue. If you are looking to jazz up a winter soiree,the woolen trench coats with signature Manish Arora styling — 3D structures created with rexine,beads and chains — get our vote.

Weave Anew

Tweed is to winter what mulmul is to summer. But there can be more to a winter coat’s fabric than just that. In the hands of Rajesh Pratap Singh,also the country’s first Woolmark ambassador,the winter coat has got a true makeover that’s neither heavy nor plain. The collection showcases Singh’s expertise in textile engineering with techniques such as felting,knitting,patchwork appliques and subtle embroidery. The coats and jacket-dresses in merino wool boast of patterned weaves and while tweed,tartan,knits and flatbed jacquard are the mainstay of the collection,ikat on wool is definitely new. “A winter coat doesn’t have to be heavy and overbearing,” says the designer.