By Arushi Sakhuja
The much-awaited FDCI India Couture Week 2023 commenced on July 25 at Taj Palace, New Delhi. Being the biggest fashion event in the country, the FDCI India Couture Week is known for its high celebrity quotient and trend analysis that set the tone for the upcoming season.
The FDCI India Couture Week 2023 promises to be a visual treat and will last for ten days, ending on August 2. At Couture Week, the latest trends for the upcoming wedding season will be showcased, and attendees can get a sneak peek of new haute couture collections. Renowned designers from all over the country will come together to showcase their couture creations, bringing extravagance and allure to the capital. The lineup includes veterans such as Rahul Mishra, Gaurav Gupta, Varun Bahl, Tarun Tahiliani, JJ Valaya, Kunal Rawal, Anamika Khanna, and more. Iconic designer Ritu Kumar will also make a comeback this year.
Each couture piece exudes luxury and a whimsical charm. As we analyze the trends for the next season, let's take a look at some of the best runway looks. Falguni and Shane Peacock kicked off the Indian Couture Week 2023 with a grand show at FDCI's India Couture Week 2023.
The first day of the India Couture Week 2023 began with a charming presentation by Falguni Shane Peacock. A calming ballet performance preceded the introduction of the ‘Renaissance Reveries’ collection, and the show ended with Kiara Advani embracing a contemporary Barbie-core-inspired ensemble. Their collection named “Renaissance Reverie” is a tribute to the Renaissance era and showcases a seamless blend of Indian culture, techniques and craftsmanship. Their inspirations are drawn from the enchanting world of museums, art galleries, vintage stores, and antique shops, and the collection reflects their love for art and the treasures they encounter during their travels.
The fashion show displayed a diverse range of styles, including veiled lehengas and the popular fish-cut silhouette. The collection featured voluminous can-cans and micro-bustiers in colours inspired by art, such as sugar coral, primrose yellow, and purple ash, giving it a modern feel. Additionally, Aztec brown and almandine were used to add depth and allure to the collection. The show concluded with Kiara Advani wearing a beautiful plush pink outfit with the brand's signature flourishes.
Day two of the FDCI India Couture Week 2023 saw veteran designer Ritu Kumar returning to the Couture Week after a ten-year absence. This was followed by an opulent showcase of lehengas by Suneet Varma.
Speaking about her comeback the couturier Ritu Kumar said “I am thrilled to be back at India Couture Week after ten years. This collection is very close to my heart as it reflects my passion for preserving traditional craftsmanship while embracing contemporary elements. I believe it encapsulates the essence of modern Indian couture and pays homage to our rich cultural heritage.”
The designer showcased a collection called OG, which was a beautiful blend of heritage and innovation. The collection drew inspiration from India's diverse cultural tapestry and featured a range of rich jewel tones and ethereal pastels. Each creation was meticulously crafted with intricate detailing and exquisite embroidery, elevating it to the epitome of couture craftsmanship. The collection included dresses, jackets, capes, and anarkalis, which showcased a new feminine aesthetic through heritage textiles and nuanced classicism. The audience was particularly impressed with the designer's signature prints, which were given a contemporary twist. The show ended with Aditi Rao Hydari wearing a stunning beige lehenga paired with a ghazal jacket, leaving the audience mesmerized.
Continuing with the opulence and grandeur of Indian couture was Suneet Varma. He presented his couture collection titled Mogra collection that oozed flamboyance and a regal appeal. The designs presented by the experienced designers were influenced by the intricate and beautiful traditional patterns and needlework found in India's decorative arts. The collection showcased majestic lehengas, sarees, and shararas in vibrant shades of pink, red, and blue, as well as pastel-coloured lehengas with net veils. The overall look of the collection was romantic, feminine, and playful, and each outfit exuded a regal aura, making a show-stopper unnecessary. Day 2 of the India Couture Week 2023 ended flawlessly with this stunning collection.
Setting the pace for the day was Varun Bahl's showcased Inner Bloom. The maestro of florals, the collection seamlessly reflected Bahl's design aesthetic. This collection exudes luxury and takes inspiration from the beauty of plants and animals. Inner Bloom combines various textures and decorative techniques, including feathers, sequins, 3D embroidered flowers, and handcrafted embroidery. The result is a captivating and innovative display of opulent pieces.
On the runway, we spotted beautiful dark floral patterns in shades of green, red, and pink, as well as men's velvet suits paired with sneakers. Many people wore bustiers with lehengas, but if you're looking for something unique, you can also find sheer bodysuits paired with lehengas. The cholis were adorned with intricate beaded tassels, and 3D applique work enhanced the beauty of the lehengas, gowns, and jackets. The luxury of the outfits was combined with modern, tailored silhouettes seamlessly. Actress Bhumi Pednekar turned showstopper for couturier Varun Bahl in an all-gold skin-tight gown with a thigh-high slit.
Closing day three was Couturier Gaurav Gupta who presented his collection ‘Hiranyagarbha’ at the FDCI India Couture Week 2023. This collection takes us on a journey from birth to harmony with the cosmos, encouraging us to embrace the pure light within. It originates from the pristine emptiness where all possibilities of transformation exist. Moving through the cosmic cycle of elements, it represents the creation and eventual merging back into the ultimate reality, the Brahman. The purity of the initial light is depicted through pure whites and shimmering, iridescent pearls, reminiscent of a blank canvas ready to be filled. Life bursts forth with unstoppable vibrancy. One of the standout pieces on the runway were hooded sarees that caught our attention. The stunning young actress, Janhvi Kapoor, concluded the show in a striking electric blue lehenga.
The Hyundai India Couture Week 2023 in association with Reliance Brands kicked off with a spectacular show featuring designer Kunal Rawal's couture collection titled "Dhup Chao". Rawal's collection showcased unconventional draping techniques and exquisite craftsmanship, adding a touch of glamour to men's couture. The collection drew inspiration from both traditional and modern styles, paying homage to India's diverse cultures.
Models strutted down the runway in structured jackets paired with dhotis, contemporary drapes, sharara sets with blazers and exquisite sherwanis. Bollywood actor Ranbir Kapoor made a stunning appearance as the showstopper in a stylish, buttoned-up kurta with lungi-esque pants, creating a fusion of traditional and contemporary styles.
At the JW Marriott Aerocity, fashion designer JJ Valaya presented his couture collection, which exuded extravagance and showcased his signature mixed metal embroidery in the Baroda collection. The collection was divided into three chapters, each inspired by different styles. The first chapter, Art Deco, combined art deco lines with Mughal inlay motifs. The second chapter, Nomade, gave modern flair to Kutch motifs and mirror work. Finally, Royale drew inspiration from Portuguese Azulejos tiles. The collection featured JJ Valaya's signature belted lehengas, regal angrakhas for men, and red hues. The show was a stunning display of exquisite craftsmanship and elegant style statements.
Over the weekend, the highly regarded fashion designers Rohit Gandhi, Rahul Khanna, and Tarun Tahiliani graced the India Couture Week 2023. Rohit and Rahul's presentation was a spectacular sight, showcasing breathtaking gowns, cut-outs, hooded gowns, and Swarovski detailing in their Equinox collection. Men's fashion also took center stage with daring plunging necklines, thigh-high slits, and shimmer. The captivating collection featured sumptuous fabrics, mesmerizing 3D embroidery, and trellis designs inspired by winter strolls. The garments were a captivating array of colours ranging from milkyway blue, garnet, rosewood, to twilight lavender. The day culminated with Sobhita and Ishan Khattar, both looking impeccable in their stylish ensembles. Sobhita donned a silver two-piece co-ord, while Khattar exuded sophistication in a dapper shimmer jacket.
The latest collection from Tarun Tahiliani, showcased on the ICW 2023, was truly breathtaking. As a renowned fashion designer, Tahiliani is known for his skillful use of pastels and drapes in his designs. The collection, named "Art of Couture," was a fusion of traditional Indian techniques with modern styles, resulting in a fresh and innovative vision for Indian fashion. Tahiliani holds draping as an essential aspect of Indian style, and his collection featured magnificent drapes and folds that blended seamlessly with Western silhouettes. The designs showcased a diverse range of styles, from modern gowns with intricate beading to embroidery and prints, all capturing the true essence of the Indian Modern Woman and The New Man. The collection also explored traditional Indian techniques, such as Chikankari, Kasheedakari, Byzantine art, Egyptian Jaalis & Persian motifs, adding to the rich tapestry of Indian fashion.
Rimzim Dadu's latest couture collection, Hydrochromic, debuted at India Couture Week 2023. The collection is an ode to water and its versatility, with Dadu drawing inspiration from her childhood memories in Nainital. She uses water as a metaphor to draw attention to climate change and its impact on our ecosystem. The collection features traditional Indian crafts and textiles, with a modern twist. The textural patterns are derived from conventional weaving techniques and materials, which add depth to the clothes. The collection includes lehengas, skirts, gowns, metallic saris for women, and jackets, bombers, trousers, shirts, bandhgalas, and kurtas for men. The showstopper, Ananya, wore a chic bustier and skirt cocktail outfit made from Rimzim's signature metallic cord material. The leaf pattern on the skirt is stunning, combining fluidity and structure in perfect harmony. The metallic skirt creates an illusion of molten gold in motion. Each gold leaf is handcrafted and arranged to form a larger sculptured palm.
The weekend ended with a stunning couture show by Anamika Khanna, which blended modern and traditional styles. The collection featured metallics in silver and gold, antique aesthetics, emeralds, pearls, pastel colours, ivory, and black. The use of Khinkhab brocade, zardozi, hand embroidery, and elegant draping combined the best of old and new fashion designs. The collection also included romantic lace, hearts, bows, and swans, symbolizing love in all its forms. Athiya Shetty closed the show wearing a beautiful beige floor-length gown with 3D appliqué work, florals, and thread work, featuring a thigh-high slit and a draped bottom. The overall effect was simply ethereal.