Twelve Indian designers will take you on a virtual tour of their latest couture collections, for FDCI’s 13th India Couture Week.
By Pratishtha Rana & Muskaan Thakur
Almost six months after the COVID outbreak and lockdown in India, the fashion industry is slowly getting back on its feet, eager to innovate, collaborate and become inclusive.
The Fashion Design Council of India (FDCI) is merging physical and digital experiences, for a first-of-its-kind phygital fashion showcase of the India Couture Week 2020.
From September 18 to 23, a total of twelve shows, shot as videos, will be streamed online on FDCI’s official website, YouTube and social media platforms. 12 designers – Manish Malhotra, Kunal Rawal, Rahul Mishra, Falguni Shane Peacock, JJ Valaya, Anju Modi, Reynu Taandon, Suneet Varma, Dolly J, Gaurav Gupta, Amit Aggarwal and Shantanu & Nikhil – will present their collections.
Phygital for max exposure
For Sunil Sethi, Chairman of FDCI, the idea of doing the first-ever digital showcase was born out of a necessity in the ongoing pandemic. During the lockdown, businesses were hampered because designers could not sell or show their new collections to their buyers. “I, soon, realised that to create interest in fashion once again, it’s important to go digital. Hence, we decided to not wait and do the show in a different format,” says Sethi.
“Gone are the days when the entire show was done at a luxury hotel and was shown only to the elites. This time, all our 12 shows are shot in different locations,” adds Sethi.
Couturiers have the freedom of experimenting and engaging with a ramp show or a video film, shot wherever. “Our designers will surprise you with their creativity,” he says.
Visit the Rajamahal Palace, Jaipur, with Dolly J
When: September 20, 8 pm
Dolly Jhunjhunwala misses the thrill of traditional live shows, but she feels that this game–changing digital format has enabled designers to add another dimension to their work.
Her eponymous label Dolly J’s new collection Gulenaar will be unveiled as a fashion film, shot at the majestic Rajamahal Palace in Jaipur. Every piece is a perfect, functional bridal ensemble, hand embroidered with silver and gold threads.
Evidently, digital platforms reach out to a larger audience, and these shows may become a norm rather than an exception, believes Jhunjhunwalla.
Showing couture virtually, however, has its own challenges. “We are not aware of the audience watching it. Thus it’s imperative that the concept of the film and the way it has been shot resonates with the collection for them to understand the inspiration behind it.”
Band, baja, baraat with Reynu Taandon
When: September 21, 8 pm
“With this new digital format, FDCI has helped us create a safer experience for the brides to find their dream outfits,” says Taandon.
Her collection SURKH, an ensemble of handwoven, eco-friendly chanderi collection with lots of light zari and patch work, zardozi, block prints and gota patti, reflects the new normal. “It draws inspiration from a contemporary bride, who re-conceives modern and minimalist fashion with a traditional twist.”
Taandon will showcase her bridal couture through a concept film, which doesn’t feature any Bollywood celebrity. The clothes will do all the talking. The only challenge she faced was during fittings, when her team had to be extra cautious and pay attention to everything in terms of safety precautions.
Bombay’s new-age tour with Kunal Rawal
When: September 22, 8 pm
Kunal Rawal loves the idea of a digital India Couture Week. He believes that the utility of virtual is here to stay.
This year, Rawal’s eponymous brand will reveal its designs in a fashion film, which was shot at the Asiatic Library in South Mumbai. His latest collection for ICW is titled ‘Hide and Seek’ because it shows the details that can be missed in a physical ramp show. It is highly inspired by the people and the diverse culture of Bombay.
A mix of traditional and formal, this collection plays with various fun textures, tones and new motifs. Personal messages, wedding dates can be included in the outfits through intricate embroidery.
“I am having a blast with this digital concept. Understanding this format and shooting for it was a bit challenging, but I feel, it will end up getting us more sales on the digital platforms.”
The Jaipur brides with Falguni Shane Peacock
When: September 22, 9:30 pm
For the first time, Falguni Shane Peacock is dedicating an entire collection to brides. Called ‘Spectacle Privé‘, this will be a full-fledged bridal segment of bespoke lehengas in classic red. It brings alive the rich heritage, architectural marvels and flora-fauna of Jaipur.
“Planning this year’s India Couture Week has been the same to a certain extent – the same excitement of showing something different, the creative process and the in-house rush. Only the presentation will be different, and we’re super excited and really looking forward to that.”
This will be displayed through a fashion film, themed on virtual reality. “Our film is not just about showcasing couture. We want to take our audience behind the scenes of a runway show,” say Falguni and Shane, “We are trying to keep it as close as possible to a normal ramp show. There will be makeup, hair and all the usual backstage shenanigans for it to feel as real as it can.” The designers who’ve dressed many celebrity brides in the past are using this digital platform to tell their story of how haute couture comes to life for them.