October 7, 2021 Asmita Aggarwal

Brave New World

J J Valaya shows us the new way to wear ‘skirts’ as prints beckon simplicity in Limerick and fabric manipulations replace the need for shine in Geisha Designs

By Asmita Aggarwal

Just like seasons which inevitably bring about a susceptible change, just like October brings with it the promise of a sunny winter, when you pass on the baton, you know you have better chances of winning the relay. That’s just what veteran JJ Valaya did. His super talented daughter Hoorvi, has the magical wand to make any outfit dance, and you could see her skills as she dressed Mrunal Thakur in deep maroons, flowers in the hair and a sensual choli that announced the need for experimentation over repetition.

Clear blue skies, pulsating music, strumming of the long lost guitar, the taste of restrained freedom, isn’t it what makes human existence worth its while? As the proverbial trap doors have been opened, designers are mirroring this new-found abandon, and maybe that’s why the FDCI X LFW Fashion Week shows have adopted a gilt-edged carefree spirit.

Whether it was Paras and Shalini’s new bride, who falls in love with unobtrusive ruffled flowers, on her breezy lehenga, even though it comes in a traditional cherry red; or Sohaya Misra’s unisex clothing, from her label Chola, the mood now is definitely upbeat. Abirr n Nanki of Limerick accentuated their USP—- prints, on the first day of the fashion fiesta, with Schiaparelli-esque pink inserts on their otherwise austere pant-suits. The contrasting cuffs on button down shirts, easy kaftans for a Maldives vacation or tangerine palazzos with oversized jackets told us that the thrill is really in living seamlessly.

Paying tribute to fire, earth, air and water, the fundamentals on which civilization sustains, exaggerated shoulders pressed the ‘play’ button on dresses, as scorpion prints and the sun, moon and stars told us modern fairytales do subsist.

What the pandemic has really taught us is, clothing must reflect our lifestyle and truly it is a barometer of measuring how women quickly adapt to this seismic change. Thus, Misra’s showcase “The Awakening’ kind of loosened the hold on what we all believed in—  all work and no play, and introduced a new way of breathing where easy was the buzzword and gender fluid the mainstay. So men wore kajal, women courted minty greens, as ‘lobs, quiffs, mullets and pixie cuts’ transported you to happier times.  Dropped waists, roomy monochromatic dresses, layering, Victorian collars and flute cuffs, welcomed the aesthetic of mix and match. Can we live without embellishments and not even a thread of glitter, the answer is in the affirmative, as the millennial is looking at “enjoying the present moment” and right now it is all about untangling.

Geisha Designs have frontrunners in the international trade, a market they are seasoned in, and this year too, they didn’t shy away from offering occasion wear with unpredictable details. Think collared cholis, 3 D appliqué and fabric manipulations that were a welcome break from overwhelming embroideries. Shine minus the glint, made each piece wearable and desirable whether it was the bohemian sleeves or pearl encrusted evening gowns.

Last but not the least, how can we forget Arpita Mehta who told us that when you get tired of reds there are always pleasing creams that can charm you, if you opt for an intimate wedding.  Of course, there are sequinned cholis to serenade you as well as net veils juxtaposed against imposing maang tikkas and mirror work that accentuate the waists of her lehengas. Interestingly, the 90s bolero— small but impactful and powerful enough to add potency to any ensemble without making a fuss is enjoying unadulterated fame on the virtual catwalk!


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