The India Couture Week 2014 concluded on the 20th of July where we saw 12 designers showcase their Haute Couture Fall/Winter 2014 Collections. Out of these 12 couturiers, two – Rohit Bal and Rina Dhaka showcased ‘Capsule Collections’ and on the 27th of July, Anamika Khanna showcased Couture Installations at her flagship store in Kolkata.
In no particular order my top three couturiers from the India Couture Week 2014 are Gaurav Gupta, Manish Arora and Varun Bahl. I also loved Bal’s capsule collection and wished he had showcased a full collection. Dil Maangey More! Similarly Anamika Khanna’s Couture Installations were awe inspiring.
I love designers who in their collection showcase innovative cuts and patterns, imaginative drapes and am a stickler for immaculate finish. Gaurav Gupta’s Couture Fall/Winter 2014 collection had all these. His signature stitched saris were less avant-garde this time and that’s what I loved, the gowns were immaculately tailored and specifically loved the accentuated shoulders and and the cape-like long jackets with asymmetrical hems. Be it the art of draping or the quality of construction, Gaurav Gupta’s collection fared well in both aspects.
Manish Arora does bring in novelty with his signature look. You may say that ‘newness’ and ‘signature-look’ are contradictory. Agree but that’s what made the collection interesting. We knew we will see pop colours, over-the-top accessorial detailing and dramatic presentation but then we saw it all in a new avataar. The colourful rexine and gold strips that Arora used on his lehengas, the lacy shararas that looked more like 60s extra-flared bell-bottoms, intricate tonal embroidery and all that jazz with veils and crowns made the collection adorable.
Well-cut and ingenious patterns are any collections big strength and Varun Bahl’s Couture 2014 collection had them in his western couture line as well as Indian Bridal Wear. Those black ensembles were simply about complex patterns and great finish. Long and short hems are in trend and Varun exploited the fad to the hilt. His Indian couture too had innovations. For the Anaarkalis, instead of putting together 50plus panels or ‘kalis’, Varun used the circular cut to get the same voluminous look. Low slung lehenga paired with sheer T-shirt like embroidered tops were beautiful.
Rohit Bal is a true-blue couturier and as I have earlier written, he should get his long-flowing coats patented so that it’s not exploited by the ‘Bollywood’ designers. But those long ‘floor-dusters’, nobody does them as good as Rohit Bal does. The brocade colourful bandhgalas were fab. Anamika Khanna’s collection literally left me awestruck. How can ensembles with such intricate detailing be so well finished? She adapted the Edwardian look to her Couture 2014 collection. Capes with frog-princess collars, sheer tops textured with petals made out of strips of Chiffon and girdled lehengas with tribal embroidery were simply magnificent.