Il est Couture ?

What is the difference between ready-to-wear and couture? Sure there is a checklist for ‘Haute Couture’, but what really passes off as couture in India? The Couture week is held annually in the capital city, conveniently right before when big fat weddings start pouring onto us. So, is it wedding wear that is couture to us? Not necessarily what the bride or groom wears, but also showcase of what the mother of bride and groom, sisters, friends, aunts could wear. Somewhat true. We make provisions for generous budgets when it comes to weddings. Décor, food, drinks, entertainment, environment, location – everything is looked into and spent extravagant amounts on. So it makes sense that those planning to wed or attend one, spend generously on what they wear. And hence it makes sense for couturiers to show traditional garments with rich embroideries in festive colors. My understanding of how Indian couture separates from ready to wear is as following:
The detailing on the garments has to be witnessed live. Amongst all the glitz, front row glamour, iridescent models; the detailing is the greatest feast for the eyes. A good couturier is distinct from a struggling one by the embroideries – who’s is cleaner, and more poetic?

all images Anamika Khanna Couture

A designer is not just a glorified tailor. She/he has a vision and an idea of how to make changes in the traditional to make it more desirable today. What colors to use together. What crafts to use. What fabrics to use. What shapes should the kaarigar ponder with. What the neckline should be and what should the pleat count be on the skirt. More precise the decisions here, more memorable will the couture show be. 

all images Anju Modi couture

The lavish setting of a Chanel couture shows season after season. A blind person can distinct couture showing from ready-to-wear because of the special welcome mat. Champagne, hors devours, ushers – the arrangement matches the environment accustomed by those who are regular buyers of couture wear. 

all images Gaurav Gupta Couture

Not true for all shows, but some designers pull in great quality footwear (Louboutins even), fine jewelery, costume jewelery, custom made precious skin handbags, headgear, etc for couture shows. The fine couture garments need worthy accessories to be walked up and down on the runway with. It would be a drool worthy experience backstage and notice how the designer and his assistants put all the elements together before she walks out on runway.

 all images Sabyasachi Couture 

Previous posts on Couture shows 2012:

Annie Hall

Have always been partial to menswear for women dressing. Something about how the stringent tailoring takes a new shape on womanly curves. Jackets, trousers, cuffs, belts, collars’ uniformity gets defeated when worn on a female form. Have always been attracted to this more than billowing chiffon gowns. Just me?

Recent spotting at the Lakme and PCJ Couture fashion weeks:

Bodice by Ruchika Sachdeva

Bodice by Ruchika Sachdeva

Wendell Rodricks

Sabyasachi Couture

Related posts:

Let’s Dance

Let’s dance 
put on your red shoes and dance the blues
Let’s dance 
to the song they’re playin’ on the radio
Let’s sway 
while color lights up your face
Let’s sway 
sway through the crowd to an empty space
Let’s dance 
for fear your grace should fall
Let’s dance
for fear tonight is all

-David Bowie


The Kiss | Drashta SS 2013

Drashta Sarvaiya showcased her Spring Summer 2013 collection at the recently concluded Lakme Fashion Week in Mumbai. Inspired by Gustav Klimt, it was the right source of inspiration for a designer who has stuck by her extremely feminine ways . I’ve not seen many collections by Drashta, but to me she is the Bombay counterpart of Namrata Joshipura. A woman who designs for women like herself. This collection used peplum, chiffons, brocade and floral embroidery in plastic. Did not care much for the long flowing gowns during the closing of the show as it was not something new or worthy to be part of this collection. The pieces I did care about were the white dress draped on the body  with clean neckline and slit on skirt. 

Metropolis and Cityplanners by Sachin George Sebastian

Sabyasachi Couture 2012 show | Behind the scenes shot by Preeti Dhata

This post is completely conceptualized and shot by one of my favorite models who epitomize modern India- Preeti Dhata
Preeti clicked all images below while getting ready backstage for the finale show by Sabyasachi for the Delhi Couture Week. She sent 55 amazing images. She opened the show. Thank her on twitter here por favor?

Self portrait by Preeti

You may enter Sabyasachi world now | Couture 2012

Once you enter Sabyasachi vision, you are seeped in. No looking for an exit. You are wearing his skirt, sipping tea from his cup & saucer, eating his naan-kathai, reading his first edition books on Tagore poetry & wildly independent women and admiring murals of Frida Kahlo through your plastic framed spectacles. Luxury is rolled into two things – luxurious clothes and intelligence (which you have to be to admire the rich handicraft details). This show lived up to the self-set standards he has made in global fashion. You feel silly comparing his collections with others. This is not a collection that looks like any other designer couture or traditional Indian wear. This will be copied by many, but will not be compared to others. Oh wait, did I just describe the Sabyasachi girl in a sentence?

prissy bows and tulle romance

the long skirt with no embroidery is highly covetable for me

these saris looked like it could be worn right away by the Dilli women

In Sabyasachi world, the woman always leads the way

..and two women walk shoulder to shoulder
another sari that would do super well with the dilli women
the draping of this skirt was fashion poetry

the models automatically gave ‘Sabyasachi-girl’ poses
less skin than previous collection
multiple stoles and dupattas
The jackets highlighted the new-ish embroidery clearly

Sabyasachi opened the show by taking a walk with THE SRIDEVI and the film director of her upcoming film for which he has done the costumes

Preeti Dhata opened the show and transformed into the geek-chic which I didn’t think this cool creature could be. 

Previous posts on Sabyasachi —

There is another photography post from backstage of this Couture show which has been guest-blogged by a leading model from India! 

Retrospective already? | Manish Arora at Delhi Couture Week

 Manish Arora did a show yesterday for the ongoing PCJ Delhi Couture Week. Ok- Manish Arora is as close to couture as a ready-to-wear could get, and this was not an Indian wear shaadi-couture diffusion show. This was a show that capsulated the missed-out-a-showcase-in-India collections. Shows he hadn’t shown in India since he started working for Paco Rabanne. The show was a ‘retrospective’ of his past 8-9 seasons. starting from SS 2008 the initial show at Paris Fashion Week titled ‘India POP’ with caricatures of Hindu deities and kathakali dancers. Moving forward to SS 2009 show titled ‘circus’ with short-short onesies and dresses and jackets. The FW 2011-12 show with accentuated shoulders and hips using cinching, tiger heads, jewel tones, furs, 3d graphic prints enough to get Kanye West to attend and take notes. One of my favorite SS 2012 collection that closed with a series of photographic prints of Robert Altman’s images from the Holy Jam music festival. And finally also the very latest FW 2012-13 show with spray painted lady-like dresses and skirts. That was the collection which would make you worry ‘Is he leaving India forever?’ The show was quite Parisian in terms of silhouettes and the India-inspiration was less obvious. 

A retrospective in my mind connects with designers who can’t come up with a new inspiration and feel like taking a mini-retirement. Not Manish Arora! But then again, having to see the last 3-4 collections live in India was something we needed as reassurance that he hasn’t departed India. 

I was quite intrigued to know how the hair and make up would be since it is a showcase of different collections. His shows have had a singular theme for all aspects of the show, and to mix them all up in one show couldn’t have been easy. The hair was poker straight and open. The makeup was jeweled eyes different on all models taking pieces from various shows. The stage area lit up with led lights in neon through which the models walked by slowly. Often inspired by Japanese artists, the set up was inspired by Yayoi Kusama’s polka dot vision. How incredible would a collection inspired by Kusama by Arora be? Sigh, for now will rest my ranting and smile as he has returned home. 

Sapna Kumar opened the show in LED vest from SS10. Here in SS11 look

Preeti Dhata should do a shoot for Manish Arora. All her runway looks looked extra special the way she walked wearing them.  

Nidhi is a new-ish model from Bangalore and though not super tall, she is a new favorite  
the FW2012-13 collection

FW2012-13 collection piece
FW2012-13 Graffiti Art collection
FW 2011-12 collection. Felt some Indian models looked even better than the foreign skinnier models did in the same clothes previously
SS2008 notorious butterfly dress

Kusama-ed Manish Arora’s mug using the Louis Vuitton app ><

Previous related posts on Munshikins:

marbling and bandhani | 11.11 Fall Winter 2012

Last week fashion label 11.11 held the fall-winter 2012 collection preview in their store in Hauz Khas Village. The collection inspired by the artistry of Kachchh, Gujarat- techniques of marbling, bandhani-knotting, block printing, displayed on habuthai silks, crepes and satin fabrics. I have grown to really love and understand the brand over the years. They stick to their sensibility no matter how their peers are moving. The dresses, scarf-dresses, shirts can be worn by different body shapes and still look unique on each. The designers – Smita Singh Rathore, Himanshu and Arya John study the skills/art of craftsmanship they’d be using in their collection for the season, and then apply their signature draping and knotting styles. The shop Grey Garden is really more than the 11.11 label. They work with designers from outside India who connect with their style – cloth accessories by Mia Morikawa, sunglasses by Thierry Lasry, jewelery by denovembre. Add to that their sister concerns – Elma’s tea room, Grey Garden slow food restaurant, The Living Room cafe and bar. It is a growing clan of different thinking individuals and now would be good time to sample their style of living already.

On display at The Grey Garden
13A Hauz Khas Village 
facing the lake
New Delhi – 110016

sneak peak: BODICE Fall Winter 2012

Ruchika Sachdev’s show is today at 1:00 PM part of Festive Collection Lakme Fashion Week. The Hauz Khas Village designer is known for her easy wearability yet not so common designs. The long shirt-gowns and jackets are her speciality. The menswear inspired women’s pieces appeal to the young urban kids. This collection will be a continuation of her sensibility. Watch the show live streamed hereCouple of very talented friends have worked on certain aspects of the showing today. More on twitter during the show. 

Previous post: Bodice Fall Winter 2011

(right) Sushma Reddy wore the dress a day before the show at Lakme Fashion Week. (left) Arshia Ahuja wearing Bodice part of the lookbook.