Showing posts with label Wills India Fashion Week. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Wills India Fashion Week. Show all posts

Wednesday, 14 January 2015

In Conversation With Shweta Kapur Of 431-88

Shweta Kapur

431-88 By Shweta Kapur SS15

The last fashion week, my aim was to look beyond the usual fashion big wigs of the industry. I wanted to check out more of the upcoming Indian designers and one such designer that came up on my radar was Shweta Kapur. I had the pleasure of hanging out with the designer at her stall and made sure not to miss her show. In fact her show was quite fun! I Loved how everyone got the 431-88 stamp on their arms and of course her clothes were fantastic.

The SS15 theme was Poolside Tailoring and featured slouchy shirts, cropped jackets, soft drapes, sexy slits, some deep necklines and contemporary saris all paired with Nike floaters. I mean pairing a sari and Nike floaters... just the sound of it makes you raise an eyebrow. But not in the case of Shweta Kapur. The closing look (sari and cropped jacket) in my opinion was the winning one. It really changes the way we have been perceiving this traditional Indian garment. The entire collection had this very relaxed vibe to it. The clothes just seemed so easy to put on! Nothing too restricting. Trousers were on the looser side and some garments came with a shiny drape attached either from the bust to the waist or waist to the thigh to add a bit of a bling. What fun right?

Anyways, so since I've become a fan of the label, I figured why not get inside the head of Shweta Kapur. Here's me digging deeper on the designer's background, more on her SS15 collection and future plans for the label:

Me: What does 431-88 mean?

SK: Sorry to disappoint but they are merely the last 5 digits of my phone number. 

Me: You've come really far in a short span of time. Briefly describe your journey. (P.S, she's got celebrities like Alia Bhatt and Diana Penty wearing her clothes)

SK: I studied womenswear at LCF and graduated in 2011. While studying, I did a series of internships with international labels like Burberry and VPL and Abu Jani Sandeep Khosla and Nitin Bal Chauhan in India. After graduation, I trained under a fashion consultant who did a series of projects including window dressing, personal styling and brand management for a year, after which I came back to India to start 431-88. 

Me: You use of colour is very limited. Is there any particular reason why?

SK: That’s not necessarily true. My SS14 was full of colour.  It’s not really about use of colour or not, it’s very mood based. If the season comes with a certain inspiration, it is then up to the inspiration to speak of the colours and its usage. Sometimes colours work and sometimes they don't. It's not like I purposely do not use colour. I love my pinks :)

Inside the stall

Me: What would you is say is your signature design aesthetic?

SK: Sexy meets sporty.

Me: What kind of fabrics do you like to work with?

SK: Fabrics to me make or break the garment. You could have a stellar pattern but if the fabric doesn't stand up to the same it’s a fail! Heavy crepes, tailoring fabrics are always my first preference and leather is of course a favorite too.

Me:Your ideal target market?

SK: The 431-88 woman is a global citizen. She sticks to classics and often shuns the trends. She is anywhere from 20 - 40 years of age and is well aware of what her style speaks of and is very certain of her sartorial choices and isn't really someone who is trend centric. In terms of fashion she is focused and has a steady knowledge of the market. 

Me: Tell me a little bit about your SS15 collection. What inspired you? What made you use Nike floaters to pair with the clothes?

SK: For SS15 I wanted to focus more on the commercial aspect as I felt it was lacking in the previous collections. The entire collection revolved around the idea of a hungover Sunday morning spent next to the pool. I wanted to relax down the idea of tailoring hence we styled it with pool sliders for the show. Sleeves of the blazers were rolled up, shirts were loose on the body and the slits were made higher. 

Me: There were two saris on the ramp. Was this the first time you showcased Indian wear?

SK: Yes to showcase but I have been doing my version of Indian wear for stores for a little while.  

Me: Do you plan on designing Indian clothes, or would you want to stick to Western wear? Yes/No and why.

SK: I thought about what the 431-88 woman would wear on occasions that demanded Indian wear. She would want something that is different from what is available and something that is fuss free. So I did cropped blazers instead of blouses and pre-stitched saris and pants that take the form of saris. I just like the idea of taking something and making it 431-88. For me, my approach to design has changed from battling it between Indian wear and Western, to just focusing on providing my client with a complete wardrobe.

Me: Do you see 431-88 with an accessories line in the near future?

SK: We already do. We always do our own bags, snoods and beanies so the world really is our oyster. It is great I feel when you can approach your favorite designer for all your wardrobe solutions.

Me:What e-commerce platforms are you currently retailing with?

SK: As of now, only my own.

Me: Any plans of opening your own store?

SK: Not right now. Our main focus is on our website and making the brand better and stronger. It is still considerably young and we have a lot yet to achieve.

Me: Any plans on going international?

SK: Like I said before, the focus is first and foremost on making 431-88 a strong brand. To cater to our international clients, we are going to start international  deliveries soon through our website. Though we have done pop up stores in the past in London, it is not something that we are focusing on. 

Wednesday, 3 December 2014

Wills India Fashion Week Round Up - Kavita Bhartia

Kavita Bhartia's show was all about adding a contemporary feel to traditional Indian silhouettes.  In addition, I also enjoyed were how breezy some of the clothes were. Examples include a pale pink poncho, a tulle skirt, various flowy pants and some high-low tunics. None of her designs for SS15 seemed too restricting which I think is very important when it comes to Indian clothes. Not to mention, there was a lot of layering (especially those pretty, embroidered vests/gilets) which means separates can be worn individually as well giving more value for money.

Moving somewhat away from the traditional bandh gala, which is known for it's stiff silhouette, Kavita Bhartia managed to create more relaxed pieces by using softer fabrics. Her coat dresses as she called them, were all zip  front featuring a slightly looser fit and were worn over trousers, draped skirt, a tulle skirt and one with a handkerchief hem was even seen on its own. A choli was given the contemporary treatment by making it look like an embroidered, cropped shirt which I thought was very fun and kurtas were modernized through the use of waist high slits. In terms of decoration, floral thread embroidery was seen on most of the clothes with sequins and gold zari work making an appearance every now and then. 


Sunday, 30 November 2014

Wills India Fashion Week Round Up - Rajesh Pratap Singh

Rajesh Pratap Singh SS15

Over at Rajesh Pratap Singh, it was all about his Blue Blooded tribe. Most of the clothes were created from indigo dyed raw selvedge denim not only because of the designer's love for the fabric, but also to revive the dying craft of creating the fabric. Furthermore, the production involves using pure natural indigo and non-toxic raw denim which makes the process extremely environmentally friendly thereby supporting ethical fashion.

Silhouettes (for women) were very androgynous. Next season, girls will be seen wearing bow ties and suspenders!There were Nehru jackets for women worn over white kurta shirts, masculine overalls and jeans featuring large, rolled cuffs and boyish Bermuda shorts amongst others all paired with industrial looking Doctor Martin style boots.The pristine white dress seen on Carol Gracias has gone down on my wish list as did the white kurta, cropped pants and the jacquard stole. Despite the whole boyish theme, cute polka dots and quirky embroideries made their way into the collection adding an element of playfulness.

Ethically manufactured fabrics, innovative textiles and attitude packed clothes made Rajesh Pratap Singh's show one of the most talked about of the season.

P.S: Click here to understand what selvedge denim is and how it's different from raw denim. A little background information never hurt anybody!


Friday, 21 November 2014

Wills India Fashion Week Round Up - Samant Chauhan

Samant Chauhan SS15
A collection consisting primarily of whites and ivory with pops of colourful embroidery, Samant Chauhan had a very pretty line up for SS15. It was the first time Samant introduced colour in his outfits. What surprised me was the reaction of some people from the fashion flock who gave me a funny look (and raised eyebrows) when I came out of the show talking about how much I enjoyed it. What was there not to like? An array of clothes created from gorgeous hand woven fabric and that are eco-friendly? A combination of machine and intricate hand embroidery? Fun indo-western clothes? I didn't get it. Maybe I'm way off with my what's fashionable radar.

Moving on, silhouettes were leaning towards the Western side, with a few Indian looks in between too. Cotton silk seemed to dominate the runway with light and breezy skirts, tunics, easy to wear gowns and dresses, most of them boasting some lovely light, silk thread embroidery.Whereas Indian ensembles like a lehenga choli were heavily embellished with silk and zari work. My favourites included the transparent white trousers with shorts underneath and the bagalpur silk saree, so casually draped over the corset. Whilst I wasn't a fan of the show stopper outfit, I was amazed to learn that it was crafted out of discarded fabric and that the appliqued bows were hand made and individually applied on to the dress. As I mentioned, above, I'm not sure what there isn't to like about the collection. I for one am making a grab for those tunics, which by the way are available on .

A closer look inside the stalls

A closer look inside the stalls

A closer look inside the stalls


Sunday, 16 November 2014

Wills India Fashion Week Round Up - Payal Singhal

Payal Singhal SS15

One of my favourite shows from WIFW was without a doubt Payal Singhal. Although, slightly mature, Payal presented some simple, yet beautifully crafted clothes for next spring. The designer was inspired by Gulmarg valley, which explains the recurring pine cone motif in the collection. Silhouettes were a modern interpretation of Indian clothing and included silk cigarette pants, soft dhoti skirts, various long-short cholis, kurtas and tunics, traditional sari with a pine cone print and shirt dresses amongst others. The long-short looks were a fun twist on the traditional Indian silhouette. In fact, I think the choli would look equally amazing when paired with skinny jeans. However, I'm sure if you know me by now, you'll know that I am most definitely eyeing the dhoti & tunic combo along with the very relaxed fit silk jacket!

As I was chatting to Payal's mum at their stall, she explained to me that some of the silk they used had like a mal mal feel to it, which indeed it did when you felt a few of the clothes. Whilst watching the show, I thought there was extensive use of gota patti, however I later discovered, the designer used leather embroidery. How cool was the second last look where the lehenga had a massive gold leather border? In addition, the collection also featured hand embroidered zardozi as was seen the last few looks.

P.S - You can shop the runway collection on

At the stalls

A closer look at the zardozi and leather details

Leather detailing on the tie-back

I've got my eye on you!! My favourite look


Saturday, 15 November 2014

Wills India Fashion Week Round Up - ATSU, Alpana & Neeraj

Atsu SS15

ATSU - At Atsu, it was all about pastels, light embellishments, plumage and architectural silhouettes. The designer was having fun mixing textures and shapes. He was inspired by his travels to the far east which explains how some of the looks were reminiscent of traditional Japanese clothing. Case in point: a light purple zip dress with sleeves like that on a geisha's gown and a peach number featuring sculptural, rounded sleeves like that on a samurai's armour. The collection mainly comprised of dresses - some were romantic and full skirted, some were mid thigh with very sculptural sleeves and some that were in between with very lovely embroidery. On the whole, Atsu didn't use very heavy embroidery (minus the cape that closed the show)which gave the clothes an element of lightness. My most favourite look was a flowy gown (kind of like a night gown), held together with a bow tied on the waist, featuring beautiful ostrich feathers on one side paired with cropped pants.

Alpana & Neeraj - Top marks to the duo for being brave enough to experiment with such crazy clothes and doing a great job at it. This was yet another Japanese inspired collection but not based on the usual geisha and samurai style clothes. More like the country's obsession with stuff like Hello Kitty, Anime, Manja and Harajuku. Silhouettes were very sculptural here too with giant bows, scalloped hems and embroidered floral patches adding a dramatic flair. Although it was great to see such fun creativity on the runway, I couldn't help but wonder how many of them would actually make it into real life. The pants and the full skirted ball gown style dress - yes, I can see those but most of them had way too much going on and seemed a little restrictive for my liking. A massive bow right across the bust on one dress could hardly be functional and the part bronze, part white dress with a bow right above the knees made me feel the model will fall any minute. Designers do need to constantly experiment, but one shouldn't forget that a collection needs to also be commercially viable. Lets hope next time Alpana & Neeraj strike a good balance between the two.

Alpana & Neeraj SS15

Thursday, 13 November 2014

Wills India Fashion Week Round Up - Tarun Tahiliani

There's a reason why Tarun Tahiliani has remained one of the greatest designers of our country. It's not only because he's extremely creative, but he's a great businessman and most importantly, evolves with the times. For SS 15, gone were the heavily embellished, crystal laden lehengas and saris. Instead, miniature paintings by the very talented Singh twins were digitally printed on light and airy clothes. Various versions of the sari were seen. A bright blue one of a midi length that Carol Gracias wore cinched at the waist with and Indianised version of an obi-belt, and a colourful, striped dhoti style sari paired with a massive turban for a bohemian feel stood out.

The designer created clothes that could be so easily incorporated into daily wear wardrobes. Lungis, dhotis, kaftans and skirts printed with the artists' works were made from light fabrics and were extremely wearable. Most of these will be flying off the shelves. There was also a lehenga towards the end where digitally printed scarves (they replaced the traditional chunni) decorated varying hemlines of tulle. Instead of a choli, it was paired with tight fitted top and a turban. What a fun outfit right? There were signature Tarun looks too, but I was too fascinated with everything else the designer offered to pay attention to those.

For me, Tarun's clothes have always been about weddings and special occasions. Not anymore though. Come 2015, I know where I'll be buying clothes for my summer wardrobe. All in all, a truly wonderful blend of India and contemporary fashion.

P.S - I am attaching photos of my favourite looks taken from my phone below because either I get like 10 photos from the show or they're such awful photos I don't want to use them!