Trends F/W ’16 De­coded...

Fash­ion’s F/W ’16 look mul­ti­tasks in mul­ti­cul­tural worlds, just the way you do on your smart­phone

Hindustan Times - Brunch - - Front Page - By David Abraham

De­sign­ers are speak­ing to our dis­lo­cated, mul­ti­task­ing smart­phone world

IT’S ONLY when you sit down and re­ally think about it that you re­alise how dif­fi­cult it is to sum up and pre­dict fash­ion trends to­day. You know, the sort of thing fash­ion con­sul­tants say: oh, do wear neu­trals with the new pas­tels, did you know that skinny jeans are out, and anti-fit sil­hou­ettes aren’t. High waist, low waist. And the palazzo, and the anarkali, and yes, let’s not for­get about gen­der and an­drog­yny too.

We live in ex­cit­ing and an­ar­chic times now. Fash­ion is truly all over the place. And we are, all of us, di­rect par­tic­i­pants. The old hi­er­ar­chies of style are crum­bling around us. Dig­i­tal me­dia has made ev­ery­one a di­rect par­tic­i­pant in the doc­u­men­ta­tion and shap­ing of trends. The fash­ion mag­a­zines we once de­pended upon to tell us what to wear and what to buy, now face com­pe­ti­tion from up­starts who wield cam­era phones and get more eye­balls on In­sta­gram, Face­book and Twit­ter. Fash­ion im­ages are ev­ery­where. In colour, in HD. Every­thing is in­stant. We share our selfies, along with Kim Kar­dashian’s and Sonam Kapoor’s. And as fash­ion de­sign­ers show col­lec­tions on cat­walks all over the world, im­ages are now up­loaded in real time. Ge­o­graph­i­cal style boundaries have dis­solved and what we see to­day is what we want. Now!

Prob­lem­at­i­cally, for the fash­ion in­dustr toda ’s fash­ion ob­ses­sions are not dic­tated b a few in­flu­en­tial stake­hold­ers.

This dis­lo­ca­tion is now re­shap­ing fash­ion around the world as con­sumer tastes change rapidly and get in­creas- in­gly dif­fi­cult to pre­dict. No real solution to all this up­heaval seems to be emerg­ing, but with the ever in­creas­ing rate of change in tech­nol­ogy, learn­ing to live with con­stant change, un­cer­tainty and up­heaval is go­ing to be the new norm. We’ll adapt. And so will fash­ion.

What we see on our screens in­flu­ences our tastes, our as­pi­ra­tions. And now thanks to our dig­i­tal worlds, we are si­mul­ta­ne­ousl ins ired b what is bein worn in the Ginza in Shored­itch

and in Hauz Khas Villa e. Every­thing is up for grabs, so maybe to­day I’ll wear an Ikat sari with a pair of ox­ford lace ups and team it with a new de­signer trench coat. A nod to my her­itage, a ref­er­ence to menswear and an­drog­yny, all com­bined in one style state­ment.

So who sets the trends, and who fol­lows the trends? I think we all do. Fash­ion­istas in the Western world, and in­deed, here too, are all atwit­ter over the re­cent rev­o­lu­tion­ary col­lec­tions of two new de­signer stars. Gucci’s de­signer Alessan­dro Michele, and the Vete­ments (now Ba­len­ci­aga too) de­signer Demna Gvasalia, have suc­ceeded in turn­ing things up­side down. And in­side out too, in a few cases. The past two or three sea­sons have seen the Western world’s fash­ion me­dia hail­ing the two as the most di­rec­tional de­sign­ers of the time.

The Gucci approach is to throw op­pos­ing looks, colour, print and sil­hou­ettes from the ’70s and the ’80s along with some­thing from a grand­mother’s closet. Gvasalia’s sen­si­bil­ity, as I read in end­less edi­to­ri­als, was shaped by ur­ban life in the old Soviet Union, a bleak ur­ban en­vi­ron­ment of grey con­crete and a very par­tic­u­lar street cul­ture. This has thrown up col­lec­tions of de­con­structed and re-pro­por­tioned hood­ies and anoraks, re-ap­pro­pri­ated blue jeans and a much pho­tographed T-shirt with DHL em­bla­zoned on it. Also

printed flo­ral frocks like no oth- ers you have seen, worn with stern footwear. Both de­sign­ers’ cat­walks fea­ture both women and men mod­els dressed in­de­ter­mi­nately in gen­der-fluid cloth­ing.

Strong state­ments of post­mod­ern irony, their mes­sages are re­ver­ber­at­ing in Paris and Mi­lan. But shaped by his­to­ries so alien from ours, the mes­sages will need to be trans­lated into dif­fer­ent vo­cab­u­lar­ies to re­ver­ber­ate with quite the same res­o­nance on the In­dian ur­ban scene.

The im­por­tant take­away here, how­ever, is that both these very talented de­sign­ers are speak­ing to our dis­lo­cated, mul­ti­task­ing, mul­ti­cul­tural smart­phone world where the more the world shrinks, and the more we are ex­posed to, the more we lean to our roots for both re­as­sur­ance and con­text.

Fash­ion in In­dia is sub­ject to the same forces. While the trends of the world are there for us, for the pick­ing, what re­ally works is be­ing able to weld the schizophre­nia of our in­ter­na­tional dig­i­tal lives to the roots that an­chor us.

On the Fall Win­ter F/W cat­walks of in­flu­en­tial In­dian desi ners the sari can be seen of­ten some­times worn with a bra some­times a Nehru acket or even

a ba linen shirt. Jux­ta­posed with slinky cock­tail dresses de­signed for a red car­pet. What­ever.

Some de­signer col­lec­tions ex­tol and rein­vent old In­dian hand­loom weaves, and oth­ers ex­per­i­ment with polyester and neo­prene and dec­o­rate it with all the glit­ter and bling only a true In­dian can un­der­stand and love. Nawabs, Bollywood sirens and univer­sity cam­pus in­tel­lec­tu­als.

And all this works. Be­cause this is the way we live now. Global lo­cal, as some­one once said.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from India

© PressReader. All rights reserved.