February 08, 2017

From There to Here: Five Trends of SS-17 that Indian Designers Adopted

Riding the waves of ‘see now-buy now’, fashion makers are manoeuvring towards prêt line. This certainly brings hope to millions of fashion enthusiasts. The macro trends for Spring-Summer 2017 across the international fashion weeks show a paradigm shift. The runway from New York to Milan and from London to Paris made way to practical fashion exploits. Back home, the trend dominated collections of both veterans and fresh talents with a lean towards handmade and hand crafted.
The season raises brows with the juxtaposition of the fluid romance of ruffles along the 80s’ power shoulder. Unthinkable bright colours contrast against each other, in mismatched harmony. While pinks, peaches and corals rule the ramp at London and Milan, cobalt, ink and indigo down play the softness at New York and India. Khakis make an understated comeback, and earthy muted tones slip between the bright acids. Textures lean towards botanical influences and organic forms, including florals. Print and hand embroidery both balance their prominence this season. Textiles range from new-age sheers with clever layering techniques to handloom solids. Gingham checks and thin stripes make a wilful return in a new colour palette. The sartorial spectrum includes lazy silhouettes alongside cinched waist, wide span of shoulder, creative sleeves, sheer layering and one-shoulder peep-shows.
The lifestyle change is clear in most fashion weeks where ‘comfort’ is the buzz word and ‘commercial fashion’ the spotlight.  Many designers abandon their clichés and opt for the roomy anti-fashion look. Paris Fashion Week however was a breather with larger than life creativity. A few styles stood strong across the globe and made their presence felt on the home ground as well. The five must-haves for this Spring-Summer 2017 at all fashion quarters that made their way to India include the following:


L to R: Givenchy, Chanel, Valentino and Tarun Tahiliani

What dares all imaginable logic is dominance of pink in all unthinkable tints and shades. From the muddy to the flaming, from the soft rose to the dark: You name it and the runway saw it all from Balenciaga to Celine and from Valentino to Hermes and Oscar de la Renta, including Channel and Givenchy. LFW was no exception with a dose of muted pinks by Tarun Tahiliani and Vineet Rahul. Pink-on-pink is the new way to flaunt the new layering epidemic. It seems one cannot go wrong with pink this season.


L to R: J Crew, Alexander McQueen, Sohaya Misra and Kha Sha

To get a kick out of last year’s reminiscence, designers brought back romanticism through frills and ruffles galore. We find them perched creatively on atypical places in collections by Alexander McQueen, Chloé, Loewe and J Crew. From romantic takeaways by Dolce & Gabbana to formal office wear ruffles by Mulberry, the catwalk saw it all. Ruffles made a style statement in Sohaya Misra’s collection at LFW as well. The collection interpreted old world charm, preparing us for the summer ahead. Sweeping in feminine charm, Kha Sha used them in contrast as bold edges to her sarees and maxi dresses. Lipsa Hebram made an understated attempt in using the frills in her subtle summery collection.


L to R: Antonio Marras, Versace, Sayantan Sarkar and Savio Jon

With a bold comeback, ginghams play the big drama. Antonio Marras masters the scale up and down technique in a classic black and white combo for this collection: mini ginghams to large upfront. While Versace plays it unsafe with the checker board pattern in new colours, Tome sticks to the black and white checker board. Chanel conspires to give in to the neon techie checks this season as well. Sayantan Sarkar’s ‘Beyond Boundaries’ experimented with the Cooch Behar gamcha checks, rendered in handwoven cotton-linen in a subtle colour story. His collection was a part of the special showcasing at LFW on ‘Sustainable Fashion and Indian Textile Day’ on Day 2. Sayantan feels, “Checks have reappeared in a big way. It’s all about comfort. And sustainability is the mantra of the day.” Savio Jon flaunted plaid and madras checks in his collection, heightening its presence with mesh, thus giving a Goan flavour. ‘RaDa’ by Divya Sheth has plaid as a focus, decorated by an arty union of Pichwai paintings and Frida Kahlo’s surreal art.


L to R: Celine, Balenciaga, Sayantan Sarkar and Narendra Kumar

The 80s return of the wide shoulder span in Balenciaga’s boxy jackets and DKNY’s exploration announces more feminine power. Pick your cue from Celine’s boxy-long fluid suit jackets and clever play of proportions by Micheal Kors. A cropped trouser or even a miniskirt like Balenciaga’s can be used to achieve the balance. Chanel’s relaxed version of the power shoulder adds a new perspective to the trend. The extended shoulder was spotted with a different make-over in the local orb. While Savio Jon and Sayantan showcased the dropped shoulder style, Narendra Kumar’s Men’s Wear emphasised on shoulder pads. A hint of relaxed power shoulder was evident in Madsam Tinzin’s collection, inspired by tribes of Ladakh.


L to R: Marques’ Almeida, Molly Goddard, Kuki and Naushad Ali

Layers have been an epidemic for a few seasons now. However SS-17 saw new adaptations of this modus operandi which helps to dress up and dress down at the drop of a hat, not to mention hide some flab too. The sheer layering in-between a t-shirt and the lace-trimmed shift, in Marques’ Almeida collection was a new take on. Molly Goddard signature tulu, sheer petticoat dresses worn with tomboyish under layer gave this trend yet another identity. The sheer layers did their magic for Valentino and Coach, taking paths less travelled. LFW witnessed this trend in plenty as it aesthetically complements the Indian sensibility to the core. Kuki by Ishant Mukherjee and Anirudh Chawla boasted of unusual layering along with the avant-garde fauna inspired block prints of animals like Tortoise and Panda. Falguni and Shane Peacock added glitz and glam to this technique. Naushad Ali’s anti-fit textured sheer layering demanded immediate admiration.

To round it up, this is a season of plenty with designers disobeying all possible margins in terms of sourcing and inspiration. The collections now belong to a large spectrum of clients. Contemporary Indian designer Nupur Kanoi is a perfect example. Her ‘Lost and Found In Africa’ collection presented unusual tie and dye techniques ranging from dark blacks with red and cobalt blue accents to subtle greys, thus appealing to all age groups. SS-17 opens its arms to ‘slow fashion’ as well with fashion weeks dedicating special collections of hand-crafted techniques to revive the lost charms. We are sure becoming more responsible as Sayantan Sarkar goes on to explain, “This not only revives our economy and provides work to artisans who are quitting this art… but is our responsibility to uphold the art and stand by the side of this proud heritage.”

Sreenanda Palit

Sreenanda Palit

Sreenanda Palit, presently heading the Fashion Communication Department at NIFT Kolkata, has a couple of Masters Degree in Fashion Journalism and Communication (from India and London), and currently is pursuing her PhD. She has a flare for Fashion writing and hand drawn illustrations. She undertook the huge Indian Story social media campaign, in 2015, which was a roaring success. She had also been writing concept notes and making Look Books for designers. Her other passion includes craft and product design. Sreenanda has published several research papers as well.