The year 2018 will go down as one where any substantive noise the fashion fraternity could’ve made was drowned out by the din of the big fat celebrity wedding. Call it coincidence or a collective alignment of their stars, but when three of Bollywood’s biggest style icons get married — four, if you count actor Ranveer Singh — there are bound to be some ‘break the internet’ moments. And there were quite a few this year, as Sonam Kapoor and Delhi-based entrepreneur Anand Ahuja tied the knot in May, Deepika Padukone married Ranveer Singh in November and Priyanka Chopra made it official with American heart-throb Nick Jonas in December. And as if the bridal band couldn’t get any louder, Mukesh Ambani’s daughter Isha ended the year on a clamorous note in a mega bucks wedding to Anand Piramal. Marriage musings aside, here’s our pick of newsmakers and trends that
There were Valentino lehengas, Dior gowns, Chopard jewels, Jimmy Choo accessories, Christian Louboutin juttis and a 75-foot long Ralph Lauren veil. But they were easily outdone by the Sabyasachi Mukherjee brides, their Abu Jani and Sandeep Khosla finery and the Manish Malhotra ‘baraatis’. And audiences lapped up the maximalist reality shows in real time, thanks to social media and its instant servings. But in a shaadi season marked by pomp and excess, some personal touches stood out for their simplicity and emotional significance. Sonam’s mehendi outfit incorporated her mother’s embroidered border, Deepika wore pure gold zari Kanjeevarams from Angadi Galleria, Bangalore, gifted by mother Ujjala and donned a Sabyasachi veil embroidered with the words ‘sada saubhagyavati bhava’. Priyanka’s Ralph Lauren gown was embroidered with her parents’ names, significant dates and words like ‘family’, ‘hope’, ‘compassion’ and ‘Om Namah Shivay’. Nita Ambani’s wedding ‘gharchola’ was incorporated into Isha’s bridal attire. A homage to the past and a nod to the personal — that’s one trend we hope to see more of in the coming year.
On a more traditional note, red, long revered as a colour of auspiciousness, was chosen by the brides for their pheras — Sonam (in an Anuradha Vakil lehenga), Deepika (in a traditional Kanjeevaram sari), and Priyanka Chopra (in a Sabyasachi lehenga). Isha, on the other hand, wore a red Sabya lehenga from his Zardozi revival series, keeping alive the year’s favourite bridal trend — velvet. But if there was one hashtag that trumped them all, it was #BridesOfSabyasachi. The Kolkata-based couturier cemented his position as market leader with the biggest social media splash he could ever have orchestrated. And while the succession of looks did induce a bit of ‘cookie-cutter’ stupor, there’s no denying that canny Sabya hit the jackpot.
Armchair activism took a stylish turn for the better and #gandicopy became a part of the fashion lexicon this year. Orijit Sen of design studio People Tree played the proverbial David and took on Goliath — French luxury brand Dior — for blatantly copying his block-print of a yogic figure, for their Resort 2018 collection. So severe was the social media backlash that Dior was forced to reach an “out of court” settlement with People Tree. The year also saw Delhi designer Ragini Ahuja of Ikai call out French label Antik Batik for copying her designs. Other notable showdowns that played out on social media were Vaishali Shadangule alleging that Sanjay Garg of Raw Mango had copied her monochrome geometric saris and Wendell Rodricks accusing mentee Payal Khandwala of plagiarising his designs. Ironically, internationally acclaimed Instagram account Diet Prada, infamous for calling out fashion copycats, acquired an Indian clone called Diet Sabya. Their hashtag #gandicopy is now a national pasttime and their eye for wanna shine copies quite commendable, never mind their less-than-polite vocabulary. Their 1,30,000 Instagram followers and lauding magazine features prove that the fashion vigilantes are here to stay and social media has become a handy tool in the fight against piracy.
Ruchika Sachdev of Bodice bagged the International Woolmark Prize (IWP) 2017/2018 at Pitti Uomo in Florence in January and became the third Indian designer to join the ranks of past winners like Yves Saint Laurent and Karl Lagerfeld. The Delhi-based designer developed handloom fabrics with cooperatives in Kullu and Maheshwar and used mill-made cloth from Chhindwara, upcycled yarn from Maharashtra, natural dyes concocted in Goa, and the traditional ‘kantha’ embroidery to create the winning collection. The graduate from London College of Fashion has made it to the Business of Fashion website’s BoF 500 power list.
Happy and gay
Following the Supreme Court of India’s judgement decriminalising Section 377, the Fashion Design Council of India dedicated the finale of the Lotus Make-up India Fashion Week (LMIFW) Spring-Summer 2019 to the spirit of equality and inclusivity with a ‘Rainbow Show’. Over 40 designers presented looks inspired by the LGBTQ rainbow flag designed by American artist Gilbert Baker. And while many may dismiss this as tokenism, and the 377 victory might not be a major game-changer for the industry, it has given fashion a cause for celebration and an opportunity to create without fear of
censure and backlash.
While Ambani heiress Isha wore a custom-made Valentino lehenga for one of her receptions, songstress Beyonce, who performed at her pre-wedding function, chose to wear Indian designers like Abu Jani and Sandeep Khosla, Shivan & Narresh and Falguni and Shane Peacock instead. While Shivan & Narresh called it “a major personal and professional milestone”, this proved to be a year where other Indian designers got to dress their international idols as well, albeit in fashion editorials. Oprah Winfrey not only wore the likes of Sabyasachi, Anamika Khanna and Ashdeen for an Elle cover shoot, she donned Khanna’s embroidered jacket again for an event in America. Instagram star Kim Kardashian graced the cover of Vogue in Anita Dongre, Sabyasachi, Anamika Khanna and Falguni and Shane Peacock.
2019: Looking ahead
At the Autumn-Winter 2019 showcase of Lotus Make-up India Fashion Week to be held in Delhi in March, the FDCI will launch a programme called Gen-Z, in association with 6Degree, to promote new talent. Industry experts will select fledgling designers to groom and showcase their
collections at LMIFW.
The winner of the country’s first award for sustainability will be announced in January with R Elan’s ‘Circular Design Challenge’, in association with Lakme Fashion Week and the United Nations in India. As part of their ‘Fashion for Earth initiative’, the contest requires designers and entrepreneurs to submit creations made from upcycled waste.