De­fy­ing the norm de­fines the new rule in fash­ion: 12 trends that toe this line


Fash­ion is a craft of re­sponse; the per­fect can­vas to es­cape—from te­dium, tra­di­tion and tenet. It is this es­capism that finds a voice in Gucci’s Alessan­dro Michele’s ver­sion of colour­ful, “floridly em­broi­dered, em­i­nently wear­able cloth­ing” where “ap­pliqué an­i­mals, but­ter­flies, and snakes and tigers, ev­ery­thing is open­ing its mouth to scream”, where he is dar­ing to ven­ture out; to scream; to be ad­ven­tur­ous. Oth­ers, like Aneeth Arora, have fol­lowed suit with For­bid­den Gar­den, a col­lec­tion where she has em­broi­dered flow­ers in satin and used beads and threads to make them look sur­real. Sa­mant Chauhan’s clothes, in­spired by train jour­neys and what lies be­yond, flirt with bal­loon sleeves that con­test the lim­i­ta­tion of gath­ers and use gold em­broi­dery to make dresses where maize and bar­ley take other forms when em­broi­dered on to gar­ments. As bugs, bees and Gothic el­e­ments sug­gest the un­real; non-places, non-flow­ers and non-real mark a galac­tic shift in fash­ion. But fash­ion’s other re­sponse is the ur­ban, gritty street wear run­ning riot on the ramps, pro­moted by Vete­ments and Ba­len­ci­aga, that cel­e­brates counter cul­tures and sub cul­tures. The make up is ei­ther grunge with eyes that look like they came from the nether­world or dewy with a pal­ette of colours hith­erto for­bid­den for the lips and eyes, like yel­low, blue and green. You can choose to es­cape to a world of fan­tasy or stay put on the streets and be the rev­o­lu­tion.

Punk rock

Punks wore safety pins, sported tat­toos and ev­ery­thing in their per­sona sym­bol­ised their re­ac­tion against or­gan­ised gov­ern­ment. Punk is back and it is that courage to court ugly, with men­ac­ing dark eyes and an­ar­chy in the face that are out­lin­ing trends in makeup.

Nar­nia reimag­ined

Here, the fan­tasy is “morally loath­some” as Philip Pull­man once said about CS Lewis’ seven fan­tasy worlds. When iconic streetwear la­bel Supreme col­lab­o­rated with Louis Vuit­ton, the lines be­tween street wear and lux­ury were com­pletely oblit­er­ated.

Gothic mys­tique

The Gothic look with chains and black roses and ev­ery­thing that is “con­spic­u­ously dark and mys­te­ri­ous” hint­ing at al­most mor­bid fash­ion with black lips and black clothes.

Alice in Wonderland

Es­capism is a po­lit­i­cal state­ment with non-places and non-real be­com­ing the ul­ti­mate es­cape fan­tasy. On the run­way, travel con­jures mys­tery lands with gi­gan­tic flow­ers and speak­ing tigers.


With de­sign­ers cel­e­brat­ing Comme des Gar­cons and Yo­hji Ya­mam­ato, fash­ion is now more anti-pretty than ever be­fore, with im­per­fec­tions as high­lights and freck­les in de­mand.

Pink eyes and gold lips

The makeup is break­ing stereo­types with colour pal­ettes that are chang­ing the “pur­pose” of makeup. High­light­ing is now dis­solv­ing with ev­ery­thing be­com­ing sol­vent.

One size fits all

Over­sized cloth­ing and un­usual cuts that pay no heed to the ‘sa­cred’ con­tours of the body or van­ity are re­shap­ing body pol­i­tics that have ruled the roost for long.

Gen­der ben­der

“Sex­u­al­ity is in sex, not else­where”. Fash­ion’s big­gest ob­ses­sion con­tin­ues to be an­drog­yny, with men wear­ing flow­ers and frills and skirts and women sport­ing waist coats and laced-up mil­i­tary boots. The mo­men­tum is gath­er­ing to­wards a space where gen­der—which is nat­u­rally as­signed—can be fixed man­u­ally, but can’t de­fine fash­ion.

The art of fash­ion

Fash­ion has al­ways main­tained that it is about busi­ness and art is more about ex­is­ten­tial­ism. Now, bound­aries have blurred with de­sign­ers choos­ing to ex­press them­selves in tan­dem with artis­tic free­dom. A case in point is Rahul Mishra’s In­fin­ity, a col­lec­tion in­spired by Van Gogh’s paint­ings, that was re­cently show­cased in Paris.

Max­imis­ing In­dian min­i­mal­ism

De­sign­ers are in­creas­ingly har­ness­ing the tra­di­tion of us­ing bright colours to cre­ate a dis­tinc­tive def­i­ni­tion of In­dian min­i­mal­ism that de­fies the western monopoly of black and grey.

Hand­crafted tra­di­tion

This trend glo­ri­fies ev­ery­thing hand­made and hand­wo­ven to pay homage to In­dia’s rich tex­tile her­itage. De­sign­ers are rein­vent­ing and rein­ter­pret­ing tra­di­tional tex­tiles and crafts to cre­ate a new vo­cab­u­lary.

Six-yard can­vas

The sari re­mains the big­gest mover and shaker in fash­ion after hav­ing proved that it can be as con­tem­po­rary as a ki­mono, which Yo­hji Ya­mam­ato has el­e­vated to a sym­bol of power. The sari un­wraps it­self in a new avatar.

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