In its 15th year, FDCI India Couture Week celebrates ‘haute couture’, also known as ‘a way of life’

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Featuring 13 prominent designers — from Tarun Tahiliani, Rohit Gandhi Rahul Khanna, to Anamika Khanna — the much-awaited FDCI India Couture Week (ICW) 2022 is all set to kickstart from today, July 22, promising a fashion extravaganza after almost two years of virtual showcases.

This year, the event celebrates 15 years, and according to Sunil Sethi, head of the Council, it will be “a celebration of couture like no other.”

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What is different this year?

“When it comes to couture, people want to touch and feel the product, and designers have been eagerly waiting to welcome that. This has led to so much excitement in the air and surge in demand that for the first time, ICW will span over 10 days instead of just mere four to five days,” Sethi told indianexpress.com.

He shared that as part of the event schedule, five offsite shows will be organised unlike in the past editions which had only one or two. “The purpose of offsite shows is to provide freedom of choice to people in deciding an ICW venue based on their convenience. Since it is returning live after two disturbing years, we want to nullify the issue of accessibility to the event,” Sethi said.

“At the heart of ICW is the best-kept secret of the fashion industry. And it’s in the hands of the carefully-chosen designers to unveil this secret through their collection,” he added.

As such, here’s a look at the showcasing designers and their exquisite creations.

Rohit Gandhi+Rahul Khanna stitches geometry with couture

Disclosing the duo’s upcoming collection, Fibonacci, designer Rahul Khanna said: “It’s an architectural word. Our work is quite similar to architecture in how it needs geometric precision. Inspired from architectural art, all of our embroidery, and patterns translate into one as we try to infuse contemporariness into Indian silhouettes.”

Khanna added how post Covid-19 consumers make conscious fashion statements with an understanding of couture as heirloom pieces that can be passed on to the next generation. “Opting for prêt-à-porter has been reduced exponentially with people now investing in one-of-a-kind pieces for special occasions, and we’re giving them exactly that. We bring a global ensemble to the table, made in India and made by Indians — and that’s what clients get to own in their wardrobe,” he said.

Rahul Mishra dives into nature

Designer Rahul Mishra refers to his collection as “a manifestation of nature’s abundance.”

“It’s an attempt to celebrate its (nature) opulence and beauty. This collection renders our gratitude for nature’s wisdom. Under the glorious setting sun, how every leaf transmutes to gold, with glimmering drops of dew — a pinnacle of life,” the collection note reads.

Rahul Mishra, ICW Rahul Mishra’s collection at ICW is called the ‘Tree of Life’ (Source: FDCI)

Falguni Shane Peacock dibs couture into French architecture

As for Falguni Shane Peacock, “French architecture will make its way to the collection, where the elements are married to the Indian architectural facets.”

“From transcribing the innumerable structures of the architectural gem on ensembles to varnishing them with refined stones and pearls, the collection reflects French essence in traditional Indian garb. The chrome applique technique replicated the structural marvel and elements from both cultures on the fabric. The line is innovational in terms of method but natively rooted in approach,” they write.

On a designer’s approach to fuse Indian craft with the West’s culture, Sethi said people never internally distance themselves from their heritage regardless of how fashion-forward they are. “They might have a different outlook and understanding of how Indian heritage works, but the essence of it is imperishable,” he said.

Anamika Khanna’s take on couture ‘stems from an extreme need for change and pushing boundaries’

Designer Anamika Khanna, who will be pulling down the curtains of ICW on July 31, about her — An Experiment — wrote: “We are unafraid to align, nonaligned perceptions.” Calling her garments an “open field of experimentation”, she wrote that they will witness referenced to the “ever exuberant tribal India, approached with an eye of modernism.”

Sustainable fashion

When asked about ‘sustainable fashion’, which has become quite a buzzword and a timely topic now, Sethi said, “The topic of sustainable fashion is entirely on the mass. In fact, we encourage them to preserve and repeat attire, which can then become priceless heirloom pieces. Such a thought goes beyond the topic of sustainability. Buzzwords like ‘craft revival’, or ’employment opportunities’ is the need of the hour post the impact of Covid-19. For a change, why can’t we look into how the industry is providing a livelihood to skilled kaarigars by creating a job market for them? Or the amount of effort designers put into each piece to sustain themselves? Needless to say, many of our designers do use khadi and organic cotton for couture.”

(With inputs from Eesha Sood)

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