Having a look at the latest Spring / Summer 2014 shows, what is clear is a new trend in the fashion industry. Today, globally recognised designers are looking for inspiration in Indian styles, no more the other way around.
India was definitely the major inspiration for the designers which showcased at Milan, Paris and New York fashion week. This thought was recurrent after the fashion blogger Santu Misra of The Devil Wore tweeted: “Valentino was like Sabyasachi meets Manish Arora.” The case was not isolated, other famous names of the fashion industry, like Marchesa and Givenchy, seemed to get inspiration by Indian styles in order to create the amazing drapes of the garments. India is present also in the colour palette of the last fashion shows.
On the other hand, Indian designers were not surprised to see all this Indian inspired styles walking the catwalk. Wendell Rodricks states “Emperor Ashoka’s Greek wife took to the sari and gave it a drape that has evolved till today. Do we need to recount the designers who have taken India as inspiration? From Yves Saint Laurent to Galliano, Jean Paul Gaultier to Karl Lagerfeld, India has fed their dreams in couture, so it is no surprise hat Givenchy, The Row, Valentino and Marchesa have followed suit this season.” Followed by Anamika Khanna, that added “From Galliano to Hermes to McQueen, all have dipped into India for inspiration so it doesn’t surprise me.”
Fashion Designer Varun Bahl concluded: “Over the last few years the collections have become more boldly inspired and reflective of Indian fashion. Chanel’s Paris-Bombay Metiers d’Art show, Marc Jacobs’ sari dress, Louis Vuitton’s ‘L’ame du Voyage’ collection — these labels were all extremely vocal about their Indian connection and paved the way for many more designers since. The fact that international celebrities are a lot more experimental with their fashion choices, many of whom have Indian designer favourites, also leverage Indian trends and styles across the globe.”
Designer Nikhil Thampi also has a personal opinion of this trend: “We have played inspiration in the past to Karl Lagerfeld doing an interesting collection for Chanel where we replicated our traditional garb in gorgeous variations using jewellery like a nathni, mang tikaa, jumkas, kamarbandh, payals, haathphools etc giving our ethnic fabrics and silhouettes a modern twist. More recently with their SS14 lines, Givenchy was inspired by Maa Kali making their models look very blatantly like the goddess and Valentino broke away from their stark reds to showcase a collection which reflects some gypsy and bridal amongst other designers as well,” Thampi is not surprising of this trend, since he always thought that “India as a country has so much of culture, heritage, stories, myths, beliefs and art that none of it can go unnoticed.”
So, it seems that India will play the major role as fashion trend for the upcoming summer ’14. Aniket Satam says, “For Spring 2014, many international designers have taken cues from our quintessential design elements rather than kitsch interpretation of all things desi. The most impressive translation is that of The Row by the Olsen sisters, who have crafted an earthy urban Indian-inspired collection, with an interesting take on how bags can double up as faux-pallu detail. Dries Van Noten also took the rustic route celebrating the traditional Kutch shell embroidery in some of their statement pieces. On the other hand, the sari-esque drapes and rhinestone Kali-inspired make-up at Givenchy was also notable. Valentino on other hand had striking Sabya undertones with bejewelled hair bands, muted palette, full sleeves and Baroque embellishments.”
Someone also stated that the India represented an inspiration in the fashion industry for years, but it just during these days that is recognising as a true trend. Everyone knows that the Jean Paul Gaultier’s favourite muse has been the Indian gypsy. Dhruv Kapur of label DRVV says: “India or Indian-inspired baroque, embroidery, prints have been a recurring theme on the international runways for eons. I’ve noticed pretty much every other season right from McQueen in Fall 2008 that designers have been using our rich heritage for reference. It goes on to affirm just how much India has to offer and that India as a market is finally a priority for major brands. Chanel even had a couple of outfits last year that looked suspiciously like salwar kameezs. Hermes has made saris and this season also saw sari drapes in dresses from Missoni. India has a diverse past — from various periods and places in our history. Furthermore this past sings with a rich bourgeoisie-like taste for expensive fabric and intricate craft work.”
Certainly, what attracts from Indian is the “impeccable craftsmanship and techniques (that) are inimitable and it seemed only natural for designers to recognise and utilise this beauty and skill”, stated Bahl.
What is sure is that the process of Western designers getting inspired by Eastern ones is started, and as regards, Nikhil Thampi says “There was an era when we looked at them to get inspired but today, the tide has changed and it’s a good time for Indian fashion on an international platform.”