Indian Fashion – What’s New This Spring
“It’s very Andy Warhol goes Indie-pop,” says designer Sabah Arenja Vig about her collection – and that got me a-wondering: what would Andy Warhol think about our wild, multi-hued surreal Indian fashions? Probably turn them into equally wild, multi-hued surreal art!
Yes, Indian couture is certainly riding high. With a young ever-burgeoning population in India and the diapora, the demand for bridal wear and fashion with a touch of India is only going to grow. Recently Shirin Vinayak of Shehnaai Couture showcased the latest collection and answered some burning questions about the new fashion trends, especially for New York fashionistas.
At the recent fashion event at Devi, Shehnaai Couture showcased its spring summer bridal collection: traditional and trendy lenghas, Kalidaars and sarees from several established and new designers. As Vinayak noted, “The Indian bride is no longer the quintessential demure damsel. She’s bold, passionate and wonderfully sure of herself.”
And she better be in perfect shape! Brides are no longer covered up from head to toe in a bridal saree – there’s a lot more exposed skin. Whether it’s a lengha or a stylish saree with a miniscule blouse, they all require a well-toned body. This year, the trends are toward bolder colors. and the fabrics include an eclectic mix – cotton brocade, Korean net, and micro velvet. The designers included Bhanuni by Jyoti Sharma, Rabbani & Rakha, and Private Collections by Zeenat Sayani, Saanshé by Sabah Arenja Vig, Sabyasachi and Vikram Phadnis.
The collections featured vibrant colors, delicate beading in vintage motifs, bold beaded tassels with colored crystals, double fabric sarees, neon hues, heavy tulles, shimmer tops, and flat gold embellishments. East and West also converse in these new styles. Supermodel Azura Vandenberg walked the runway in neon coral lehnga with heavy tulling and European motifs in gray crystals, with neon pink corset with floral motifs in low contrast thread and stones by Saanshé.
Color is definitely the key, especially to Indian couture. As Sabah Arenja Vig of Saanshé notes: “The season’s gone neon for us. It’s all about pop colors, with very delicate flat gold work. I’ve used a great palette of shades of gold that contrast beautifully with the bright colors.
We’re still doing the shimmer, but it’s different now. Gone are the chunky white crystals, it’s more about making the gold shine. Even for fabrics, we’re giving wonderful structure and volume to shinier, softer fabrics, giving the form a more delicate silhouette. It’s very Andy Warhol goes Indie-pop.”
Fortunately for us, our amazing Indian craftspeople continue to do a fantastic job – they can visualize, embroider and turn any imagining, dream or desire into reality. These national treasures should be nurtured and safeguarded!
Indian Fashion Update: 5 Questions for Shirin Vinayak
1 What are the new trends in India this fashion season?
This year Indian fashion has gone a drastically new direction. Over the past 3 to 4 years we saw lots of jewel tone colors, lots of net and velvet and the motto was the more bling the better. In terms of silhouettes, we were tapering in. Anybody following Indian fashion in the past has lots to say about the mermaid or fishtail fit.
This season, the colors have gone neon and pop. We are seeing a lot of neon oranges and pinks and peaches. Much fresher colors on the whole. The preference is shapes has also changed…we have gone much fuller. Lots of volume to the bottom and more taper to the tops. The beading is the greatest change of all though…we have finally moved away from the bling. The beading is now more about cleaner lines, and some bling but not a lot. Overall we are heading towards a more traditional look but with a modern twist to it.
2. Is there now a big push toward traditional wear?
Absolutely. Indian craftsmanship is par excellence and we have finally started to recognize that. It is interesting though that it took the western world starting to appreciate Indian handiwork for us Indians to recognize its beauty. Girls are experimenting with a more traditional look now not only for their weddings but also for black tie dinners.
Dark colored sarees and even lehengas with not too much embroideries are the way to go for such events. The latest trend in Indian fashion is the long floor length jacket, which is something you could use over a skirt or even pants in a completely non-Indian environment. So yes, our move towards the more traditional has definitely begun.
3. Who are the designers you are bringing in – are there a lot of new names?
Not a lot of new designers this season. We have Bombay based Preeti Jhawar and Delhi-based Niket and Jainee joining our repertoire and then we have all our favorites from Sabyasachi and Vikram Phadnis to Saa.n.She’ and Bhanuni.
We are constantly sourcing new designers to create enough of a newness to the racks but this season in general has been so unique in its ways that sourcing a new line has been not hard at all. Our new additions are more to bring in a different direction and price point on the rack.
4. What are New York women looking for in Indian wear – is it different from what’s the trend back home?
This difference is something I feel has grown over the past few years. Over the years, couture in India got heavier and heavier in its embellishments and aesthetically the women here got more and more simple. Don’t get me wrong, we liked the bling here but just not to the level in India.
I feel though that this might become a thing of the past. With the changes on style and beading in India this season, the overall look is closer to what the women here like. While sourcing a bridal wear line each season, typically I am required to do a lot of tweaking and simplifying to the outfits before they get to our racks and this year that has been minimal so that might just be our sign of getting to a level plane.
5. What is the most stunning, special outfit that you have this season?
My personal favorite this season is not your average outfit at all. It’s a Saa.n.She design – a neon peach skirt set with a corset. The piece has motifs of threadwork in shades from a pastel peach to a deep pink with a slight edging in grey crystals. Our showstopper Canadian Supermodel Azura Vandenberg wore it on the runway at our show. Let’s just say, its not for everyone but for that girl with the personality out there…this one is for you!