Worn out, vintage, well lived in… the distressed look is in, whether in carefully slashed jeans or furniture. Mithila Mehta talks to designers to examine the hottest trend of the season
Afew months ago, I went with my elderly aunt for a meal to the beautiful Pali Village Café in Bandra. I noticed, from the moment we walked in, that she looked visibly uncomfortable — eyeing the peeling wall paint, the rusted pipes and exposed bricks with both curiosity and disdain. Finally, when she could take it no more, she burst out: “This restaurant is in a very bad state! Why doesn’t the management get it fixed up?” What my dear aunt didn’t realize was that the décor was a carefully planned execution. The peeling paint, the rust was all deliberate. In simple terms, the “distressed” look. Whether it is furniture, décor, fashion, hair or make- up, distressed is the hottest trend of the season. You only have to look around to find the most expensive restaurants with paint peeling off their walls, exorbitantly priced outfits that are carefully slashed and ripped; and on the beauty front, unkempt brows and uncombed hair are en vogue. Explains Twinkle Khanna, owner and head designer at The White Window, “Design is an ongoing cycle. Since we have just gone through a hedonistic phase it's time to turn to the next phase. The most specific reason why the distressed look is fashionable is that change is always fashionable!” While distressed refers to all things intentionally unkempt, unfinished and unglamourised, there are slight nuances when related to different fields. Explains Khanna, “The distressed look in furniture is a part of the neo- industrial design style. It includes unfinished walls, cement floors, scrapped furniture and vintage inspired prints.” In the world of
fashion, distressed wears a slightly different look. Explains Aditya Singhal, CEO, It's My Life Jeans Co, makers of bespoke distressed jeans, “Distressed is basically fashion with a worn out ‘ damaged’ look. For example, a typical blue pair of jeans would traditionally be faded and tear at certain spots to give it that ‘ distressed’ character.” Why are people spending thousands of rupees on the distressed look, rather than opting for something that actually looks new? “The distressed look gives furniture an antique feel and thus a unique look. Having a distressed look also gives a sense of old world charm which many people find appealing, hence the popularity of the trend. It is different and not your predictable type of décor,” explains Krsna Mehta, design director, partner, India Circus. “It is a change from all the perfect home decor looks that you find these days which is why people are spending money on it.”
Agrees Sanvari Alagh Nair, director, houseproud. in, “Distressed furniture is very popular as it adds age and character to a room. Giving a vintage charm to your space, it brings an old- world, worn and well- lived look to the room, making it comfortable and inviting.