If there is one lesson we can take from the recently concluded FDCI India Couture Week 2022, it’s that opulence is back. The era of puritanism is getting replaced by excess in both our dressing and lifestyle.
In all my years of attending fashion and couture week, the count of days has rarely gone beyond 7. It starts usually on a Wednesday and by Sunday night I’ve discarded my heels and sunk into the comfort of my bed after a hectic fashion week (read 5 days). This year though, the FDCI India Couture Week 2022 commenced on Friday July 22, and concluded with much pomp last night (July 31). Spanning over 9 days (aka two weekends) with a line-up of the most established names from the industry – Tarun Tahiliani, JJ Valaya, Anju Modi, Rahul Mishra, Falguni and Shane Peacock, Anamika Khanna, and more. It was truly a week of magnificence and couture magic.
In the midst of all the revelry, my mind went back to the past two years and how they’ve shaped this very series of events. To begin with let me familiarise you with the term, ‘pandemic revenge dressing’. It was Princess Diana’s off-shoulder, fitted black silk dress that she wore on the announcement of Prince Charles’s adultery that has been considered the progenitor of revenge dressing. It’s the style statement you make to announce your desirability and power instead of letting negativity weigh you down. Fast forward to 2022, pandemic revenge dressing is now a part of our dictionary and represents the desire to give in to extravagant, impulse purchases after two years of sobriety and sweatpants. The grandiose experienced at ICW 2022 then is an extension of this unbridled impulse. It heralds the era of grand weddings, ostentatious dressing, and intoxicating luxury.
From revenge dressing to revenge tourism, the path is slowly being cleared for hosting the big fat Indian wedding again. The destination wedding is getting bigger and the destinations are getting blocked quicker. And to match this demand, the designers are gearing up with opulent bridal collections that cater to the whims and fancies of the post-pandemic bride. The recently concluded India Couture Week also highlighted the shift in what the post-pandemic bride is looking for. The reds were in smaller numbers on the runway, and the cuts were risque. Whether you looked at Tarun Tahiliani’s collection, ‘The Painterly Dream’ the palette was predominantly nudes and ivory, a departure from his usual play of red and oranges. He simply understood that glamour needs to be matched with elegance and subtlety when it comes to the new-age bride. Designer duo, Falguni & Shane Peacock also took a similar approach, the palette was pastel, metallic and neutral but the silhouettes and embroideries – were dramatic. This train of thought could even be seen echoing in collections of OTT designers like Suneet Varma and Dolly J.
The call of Indian couture could be heard loud and clear all around, it was resonating to see designers give weightage to local craft. This year saw two new additions to the FDCI ICW 2022 calendar – namely, Rohit Gandhi and Rahul Khanna, as well as designer Siddartha Tytler. While both parties might not be strangers to the world of couture, showcasing collections dedicated solely to it solidify the importance it still holds. Even menswear designer, Kunal Rawal recognised this trend and experimented with materials and styles to cater to the wedding-going audience. It wasn’t simply a week of bridal lehengas and sherwani, designer Amit Aggarwal left us stunned with his futuristic presentation. But the mood overall directed us towards the wedding space albeit a shinier new version of it.
All Images: Courtesy FDCI.