October 17, 2017 Asmita Aggarwal

Back to the Future

From three decades of shimmer that Suneet Varma protracted, to the skater vibe that Paatni exuded or how meticulously Pawan Sachdeva tells men to ‘change their stripes’, the last day reverberated with passion!


By Asmita Aggarwal

Sumant Jaikishan’s exuberant set that had all the makings of a memorable Broadway showing with smoke machines, a glittering digital waterfall, a ramp suspended in air and a stairway (to heaven, probably) that navigates you to a bigger space, which lights up in parts. And if that wasn’t enough a machine takes orders from the FDCI President Sunil Sethi on when to commence the festivities! As well as a nice kiss after lifting the proverbial veil by Suneet Varma to celebrate 30 years of his design journey, it had a smattering of everything exultant.

That was the grand finale of the AIFW SS’18, which had the vivacity of the 20s revisited by the designer, who was trained under Yves Saint Laurent, the late impresario, who gave women the ineffaceable Le Smoking jacket.

The London College of Fashion graduate, who’s first line was an ode to Italian master Sandro Botticelli’s Birth of Venus, this time added faux feathers and sequins to unleash decadent glamour that took us back to the time of Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby with floral embroidery and midriff baring tasselled blouses. Pearl and crystals were converted into bodices as Suneet offered shararas with peek-a-boo short kurtas.

Though the last day was dominated by the men in blue, literally and metaphorically, with three menswear gurus Dhruv Vaish, Abhishek Paatni and Pawan Sachdeva, the last one stealing the thunder from the other two. Pawan, kept it rather simple but innovative, with his line “Barcode”, which was a play of stripes both vertical and horizontal criss-crossing on ensembles.

What was appreciable was his teaming up asymmetrical sherwanis, generally considered studious with jogging pants, making two parallel lines meet—the orthodox and impious. It was cool to witness mismatched prints on suits and tie details on drainpipe pants. “We have used handwoven materials as well as cotton, with a muted colour palette,” says Pawan.


The 80s cropped trousers and slouchy pants have made a comeback, along with anoraks (Paatni introduced one where even the face could be zipped in!) and military detail jackets going by what Paris Fashion Week revealed rather boldly. Much like Lucas Ossendrijver of Lanvin Homme, the whole frayed vibe and skater elements, Abhishek Paatni, the engineer-turned-designer, used streetwear references (think grungy brand Supreme with a desi twist), without abandoning athleisure. The buckles came back, and wind sheeter fabrics were used, as the length of the trousers had gone up, making the ankle the new erogenous zone. Pockets were flying everywhere, just like his constant muse singer Anushka Manchanda, who didn’t take off her white hoodie all through, ditched makeup and desired to be a permanent fixture in all of Paatni’s shows.

“I wanted to show how humans will live in the future (2050), when we are forced to stay indoors due to disastrous climate change, when survival will be a challenge. The whole line was utilitarian and we combined three diverse materials on one outfit,” says Paatni.


If Berluti charmed with its pink jeans this season, you had Dhruv Vaish, from the family of the famous Ramsons stores with his pink jackets and exaggerated pockets, as well as serious looking grey suits. But the surprise was kurtas worn with suits in powder blues and the only model in a sea of clean-shaven faces, with the courage to sport a moustache, Sahdev Hooda (who admits his friends motivated him to “keep the thing on”). “We added pleats on trousers as well as used linens to give it that summer feel. The buckles were engineered as able-bodied fasteners, a change from usual tying techniques,” he concludes.

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