In a year where there were more fashion weeks than one would care to remember,with designers city-hopping and breathlessly flitting between prêt,resort,bridal and couture shows,you cant blame us for being a little out of breath ourselves. Amidst the umpteen store openings,collection launches,and product collaborations from bedsheets and soaps to cocktails and snacks,all bearing designer stamps we trained our lens on the best and the brightest. Heres a look at a fashionabe year.
Fashion is often a reflection of the times. Even as the calls for womens emancipation got louder in the country,fashion too attempted to change perceptions. Androgyny dominated lookbooks through the year and designers gave unisex silhouettes a fillip. Even as the ladies donned Raghavendra Rathore bandhgalas,oversized gentlemens shirts a la Sanchita Ajjampur and power suits by Huemn,male models strutted on the ramp in DRVV by Dhruv Kapurs full-length pillar dresses,draped tops with tights designed by Shantanu & Nikhil and Anju Modis skirts paired with bow-tied jackets. Women took to power dressing and men explored their softer sides,albeit not with the same degree of sartorial success. But overall,the effect was one of silhouettes being relaxed,forgiving and fuss-free.
In this bold new age of the internet,what kind of a country would you like to wake up to in the future? One that monitors your every tweet,like and post or the one that inspires you? questioned designer Narendra Kumar Ahmeds concept note for his Summer/Resort 2013 show,The Thought Police. The designer sent out his models on a ramp crowded by police personnel that prevented those seated from getting a clear look at the clothes. While some fashion editors labelled the concept too gimmicky,Ahmed was quite strident about registering his protest. Social commentator Kallol Datta displayed his Autumn-Winter 13 collection,Abandon,at art galleries,remonstrating against plagiarism and clichés constricting fashion. A funereal garland adorned a frame with the words Quirky Print imprinted on it,sounding the death knell for overdone quirky prints. Datta,along with designers like Arjun Saluja,Manish Arora,Gauri & Nainika and Satya Paul,also participated in the Resist Art Show,an exhibition aiming at creating awareness on gender inequalities.
A word hitherto associated with art exhibitions was co-opted by the fashion fraternity curating became the oft-used buzzword of the year. With everything from clothes to accessories and even curios being peddled,websites,stores and garage sales used the word with abandon. So,even as Valaya curated home décor items,Malaika Arora Khan,Bipasha Basu and model Sonalika Sahay sold a selection of goods on various websites,picking and choosing the merchandise on offer. At this rate we will soon need someone to curate this burgeoning list of curators.
Red Carpet Crowd
The annual Cannes fashion festival saw Vidya Balan in Indian princess mode,donning khadi and gold one moment and chanelling Maharani Gayatri Devi in
chiffon and pearls the next,a move that elicited a mixed response from fashion watchers. While designer Sabyasachi Mukherjee had her step out in a nose ring,full-sleeved blouses and woven saris,the lehnga look,in which Balan chose to cover her head,was termed ageing,matronly,even regressive.
Deepika Padukone and Kangna Ranaut had a great run though. While Padukone showcased everything from tasteful white kalidars to leather pencil skirts and rounded up the stylish year with a molten golden Gucci gown at her own party,Ranaut sported red lips and retro curls and channelled old Hollywood glamour in ensembles by Gauri & Nainika,Rohit Gandhi+Rahul Khanna,Sabyasachi,Dior,Gucci,etc.
But the surprise package of the year,undoubtedly,was Kajol. The unibrow may still be around,but the extra kilos she wore with pride earlier have been shed,a stylist (Triporna Majumder) has been hired,make-up has been perfected and shes been stepping out in cool threads by the likes of Shantanu & Nikhil,Dev r Nil,Pankaj and Nidhi,Nishka Lulla,and AM:PM.
While Bollywoods leading men continued to favour their faded jeans and black suits,actor Ranveer Singh emerged as a fashion forward star to watch out for. Ready to try anything once and unafraid to experiment,Singh wore everything his stylist Nitasha Gaurav sent his way from Sabyasachi sherwanis,suits by Etro and Rohit Gandhi+Rahul Khanna and pleated pants by Arjun Saluja and bespoke brocade jackets with equal élan.
Young designers like Masaba Gupta and Rahul Mishra continued to make us proud. While Gupta debuted prêt (AW13) and demi-couture collections for Satya Paul as their newly minted fashion director,along with ably handling the reins of her own label,Mishra won the International Woolmark Prize,India and Middle East regional final,and will be competing for the finals in Milan in February 2014.