Even as the mercury dips,sartorial temperatures are only set to rise as autumn-winter signals the arrival of Indias dressiest months. This season designers have served up prêt portfolios that promise to keep you looking spiffy. So,while Kathakali masks,pianos,palm trees,lipsticks and peacocks keep the quirky print streak going strong,asymmetric high-low tops are treading the fine line between playful and demure. Winter blues are being kept at bay by dashes of neon,classic monochromes and bright jewel colours. But one trend that has arm-wrestled other micro trends into submission is androgyny. With its unmistakable economy of style translated into simple pant-suits,slouchy tops,collared shirts and gentlemanly brogues,theres no time like now to dig into menswear closets. Heres a pick of our favourite fall essentials that will instantly update your style quotient and your winter wardrobe. Time to get nippy with it!
Where theres androgyny,can pant-suits and pin-stripes be far behind? This season suits oscillated from form-fitting and glamorous (Shantanu & Nikhil),to slouchy and sexy (Shift),to relaxed and anti-fit (Huemn). While Nimish Shah of Shift draped a tobacco coloured suit over a sheer top,Pranav Mishra and Shyma Shetty of Huemn worked the over-sized trend in a pin-striped number and a bright red suit,teaming the two with masculine lace-up shoes.
Shirting the Issue<\b>
With androgynous looks dominating the Fall-Winter runways,the biggest gender neutral hit is the asexual shirt. From tapered silhouettes to relaxed boxy shapes,the mens shirt is the star of womenswear wardrobes this season. While Payal Khandwala,Rahul Mishra and Shilpa Chavan of Little Shilpa paired them with woven handlooms and silk saris,Manish Malhotra teamed boyish shirts with lehengas and Nishka Lullas LFW line The Crossing saw her team crepe checkered shirts with cotton drill trousers and plain cotton shirts with shiny lame tissue skirts.
Wear a shirt in a metallic fabric for an instant update, says Lulla,who has experimented with mandarin collars and wing collars over the past few seasons.
Pencil It In<\b>
Secretarial chic takes a modest turn as the pencil skirt gains length,volume and versatility this season. From Pankaj & Nidhis luxe leather number to Nishka Lullas wrap version and Sabyasachi Mukerjees tone-on-tone embroidered shin-skimming take,heres a trend that celebrates sophistication. Its an essentially feminine silhouette that no longer connotes only workwear. It accentuates a womans curves and changes her entire body language, says Nimish Shah of Shift,who played with front slits,transparent overlays and lace underskirts to give this staple an autumnal makeover at his Lakme Fashion Week (LFW) showcase. Depending on the skirt length,you can team it with a boxy jacket,an oversized top or a crop top, says Shah.
This seasons perfect transition cover-up the sleeveless vest or the bandi. And its eschewing mere wool for luxuriant silks and brocades and wearing festive embellishments. So,while Nikasha Tawadey and Anita Dongre dress theirs up in silk,Payal Pratap plays with cross-stitch embroidery and Payal Khandwala presents a dual-tone reversible version. I find them very versatile because they can be worn with jeans,palazzos,skirts and saris, says Khandwala. Depending on the severity of cold,they can be layered over heavy knits as well as light jerseys and ganjis.
Sweating It out <\b>
The sweatshirt has stepped out of the gymnasium and on to the ramp with labels such as Sanchita,Namrata Joshipura,Huemn and Bodice giving it a high-fashion makeover. Oversized sweatshirts are great for the Indian body structure as they strike the correct balance between structure and femininity, says Ruchika Sachdeva of Bodice,whose Wills Lifestyle India Fashion Week line saw her work with wool blends,PVC and in tricate beadwork to dress up the sweatshirt.