Keeping up with the new normal, the annual India couture show, organized by FDCI, went virtual this year. The show was supposed to be held in March 2020, but got postponed indefinitely for a while. Many top bridal designers of the country, like Manish Malhotra, FSP, Gaurav Gupta showcase their latest collection at the event so cancelling it wasn't an option.
So, instead of having celebrities lined up, making arrangements at one place and gathering all the designers, the show went completely digital. The designers were allowed to make their own fashion films. These pre-recorded videos were then displayed on FDCI’s Instagram and YT channel, where they could be viewed by all. And that’s how this year’s FDCI India Couture Week was held.
As opposed to how some people might believe, brides still want to spend on their trousseau. They have a certain kind of picture in their mind on how they want to look, doesn’t matter if it’s just 50 guests or 1000 guests. Virtual shows have given them a chance to view what’s new in the lehenga world and set e-meet with their favorite designers as well!
If you’re about to get married soon, India Couture Week will surely give you some epic outfit inspiration. Our favorites from this year have to be Rahul Mishra, JJ Valaya and Suneet Varma. I think these 3 have surpassed the expectations of their customers in every way. We do love all the designers presented on this list, but these 3 in particular definitely outdid their previous work. We weren’t as impressed with FSP’s collection, although we are excited about their newly launched red lehenga colloection; a color that was missing from their range earlier. Let’s take you through each designer one by one.
#1 Rahul Mishra
Artistic, glamorous and meaningful - Rahul Mishra’s collection is our FAVORITE one out of all. The collection is named ‘Lotus Pond’, indicative of climate change and self-sustaining ecosystems like aquatic life consisting plants, fishes, dragonflies, planktons etc.The collection takes you to the other side of the pandemic, shared designer with Vogue. How Delhi’s sky turned blue, the environment resumed its original space while people took a pause reflecting on their lives and principles. Lotus is emblematic to rebirth, purity, that even in mucky waters, one can bloom - which signifies us coming out of the pandemic.
The outfits are embroidered with birds, butterflies, aquatic life done intricately with designer’s classic 3D embroideries like jaal work, threads and sequins. It’s one thing to have a vision and another to bring it to life. Mishra nailed it both down flawlessly and we can’t get enough of his couture pieces.
#2 Suneet Varma
Another designer whose collection we adored is Suneet Varma. While other creators on the list resorted to exuberance in their digital video, Suneet Varma created the film in a grey room so the focus was only (& only) on his attire. This emphasised the right color, design and cut to the viewers so they can easily narrow down their favorite.
The collection, titled ‘Timeless by Sunnet Varma’, radiates femininity, glamor and sensuality. It features three color palettes - first is limes, greens & mints, second is ivory & pinks and third is metallic range. Lehengas are all a mix of a voluminous skirt and playful blouse design, creating a perfect balance between traditionalism and modernism. Replete with whimsical work, Suneet Varma’s collection is definitely a feast to the eyes.
#3 JJ Valaya
After his 2 year sabbatical from the fashion industry, JJ Valaya is back with a bang. His collection is already flooring Instgrammers, so were quite excited about his new collection at ICW 2020. The latest range is titled ‘Busra’, a Persian city and birthplace of Ottoman architecture. The 48-piece clothing line is replete with rich colors, delicate silks and velvets and intricate craftsmanship using pearls, zardozi and Swarovski crystals.
Also, the designer just launched his online store, valaya.com, to make your bridal shopping experience easier during the pandemic.
#4 Shantanu Nikhil
On the 20th anniversary of their brand, Shantanu & Nikhil brought back the original signature work with their ICW collection showcase. The designs reflect fluidic drapes like georgette and chiffon created with voluminous opulence and elementary hues. Done with customer preference shift in mind, the lighter fabrics with a lavish look created an ideal outfit brides are hunting for. If you’re someone who adores simplicity with elegance, kinda look, Shantanu and Nikhil’s collection is the best one from the list.
#5 Gaurav Gupta
Gaurav Gupta’s signature silhouette that’s reflected in all his clothing never fails to impress. And his newest collection with 50 womenswear looks and 20 menswear looks demonstrates the same. “I wanted to keep it very Gaurav Gupta, but discover new palettes and details,” says Gupta in his interview with Vogue. To capture the attention of his viewers, he hired an all-inclusive cast of models. Behind the doors of social media, a reality exists that’s far from what’s portrayed and this raw realism is definitely what made Gupta stand out from the rest.
#6 Manish Malhotra
Manish Malhotra’s name in India is synonymous to a standalone one-name brand like Tom Ford, Stella McCartney, Christian Loubotin etc. He started working on the collection 2 years ago, visited several places in India like Ahmedabad, Jaipur, Udaipur etc. and re-watched old films to draw inspiration for his collection. Everything was well in place to get launched in March but then the pandemic hit. It gave Malhotra time to really think over the designs and he was assured of the magnificence in them even more.
While working with brides virtually, he understands they are still looking for traditionalism in their big day lehenga. That forms the basis of their buying decision followed by glamour, uniqueness, artistry and quality. Keeping this in mind, Manish Malhotra has created timeless pieces in his recent range, something that can be passed onto generations.
#7 Amit Aggarwal
‘Right now the world needs less, not more’ - building his collection on this ideology, Amit Aggarwal’s prime focus in the 2020 collection was to radiate sustainability, indigenous crafts and uniqueness through his couture line. Deriving colors from nature - oceans, leaves and sky, while deeply understanding his craft, he has created a wardrobe that’s classic yet contemporary.
The designer’s original plan was to shoot in the sea, but given the circumstances, he stuck to a pool instead. The idea behind it was to let brides know they can feel lightness and comfort in the clothing alongside beauty and glamor. Admirable indeed! One look at his collection and you’d want to own it for one of your functions too.
#8 Falguni Shane Peacock
This husband-wife duo are known to create pristine pieces that exude grandeur and opulence. Utilising this talent of Indian dress-making, they created a clothing line that’s outstanding and maximalist in every sense. Titled ‘Marry Me in Jaipur’, the collection derives its inspiration from heritage, culture, flora and fauna of the Pink City. The designers only focused on Sangeet, reception and other wedding events until now, but now they have included traditional reds in their collection, catering to the needs of many requests they’ve received. Even though the dreamy collection is admirable, we think their ICW 2019 collection was better. Probably the expectations were so high. Nonetheless, their red bridal lehengas are our numero uno pick from the ‘red’ pieces other designers presented at the show.
#9 Anju Modi
Our favorite part from Anju Modi’s latest collection is how flawlessly she has blended traditional Indian outfit hues and displayed them with utter poise and sophistication. If you’re looking for an effortless, traditional and graceful outfit - Anju Modi’s latest collection is the ideal pick! It’s appropriately titled ‘Sindoori’, considering it oozes with traditional colors, archival textiles and heritage embroideries. Dig into her collection if conventional clothing is what you’re looking for!
#10 Dolly J Studio
Dolly has risen to fame in the wedding world through the past few years. Owing to her fabulous designs, which speaks directly to brides, she has earned her place in the best wedding designers in India. We think her couture wear is for someone who likes to play safe with their outfits whilst indulging in spectacular designs. Brimming with wonderful embroidery, that’s sure to turn eyes at your wedding, you can find something amazing for each of your wedding functions in her collection.
And if your curious mind is wondering why Sabyasachi isn’t a part of this list, it’s mainly because the designer has already perfected the art of showcasing his collection digitally. He (almost) always reveals his new line via Instagram and this new normal is actually normal for him.
Which designer’s collection are you hearting the most? Let us know in the comments below!