Pearl Academy showcase touches a sensitive chord with students’ ode to isolation; Pawan Sachdeva manages a coup getting MP Raghav Chadha on the runway. And if you want some serious shine, the Peacocks will make you dance!
By Asmita Aggarwal
What happens when young people are caged in a world that is filled with uncertainty? What if tomorrow never comes? These and many more thoughts remained predominant as mankind faced the worst isolation in modern history with Covid. Millennials were the worst affected, as their lives turned turtle, it is this loneliness that formed the fulcrum of the FDCI and Pearl Academy First Cut showcase on the last day of the FDCI x LFW.
Three different teams from the Pearl Academy came together to get the show on the road—hair and make-up, styling and fashion design and almost 43 looks were curated out of the 200 submitted. The beauty of the show was students designed these, when the country was battling the unkindest medical disaster with deaths, losses leading to mental health collapse.
Titled “Dystopia’s Children”, the idea was to take the audience back to that uneasy feeling we all witnessed for the last two years, caged at home, staring at our screens, craving for human connection and longing for lost ones. The ensembles are a reflection of personal struggles, the students were one tribe, one cohort but their expressions were individualistic. Denim, khaki, natural fibres to felted wool were transformed into deconstructed shapes with strong shoulders, upcycled patchwork, non-binary silhouettes, A line, oversized and some inspiration came from the Harajuku, Japan and its innate vibrancy.
The shoes were sprayed with paint, as if to mirror we all walked through the grime of sadness and accessories crafted out of hospital equipment —medical gloves, syringes and there were some bulky resin pieces. The red eyes were mimicking our constant staring at the screens and hair rather than flowy were restrained in a net, as faces went pale, mirroring the feeling of staying without the sun.
Raghav turns showstopper:
“I told him that you have to walk for me this time, and I won’t take ‘no’ for an answer. It has nothing to do with politics, it’s just for fun. Plus, you have to relax after the hectic Punjab elections,” this is what designer Pawan Sachdeva told his nephew and newly elected Rajya Sabha MP Raghav Chadha.
Pawan, known for his interesting take on menswear, says post-covid customers have become interested in buying clothes. “People are back to their normal lives and aspire for stylish trendy separates. I do offer versatility in garments with the aim of creating layering that can be styled in multiple ways. From simple sweatshirts to detailed hoodies and overcoats, all priced in different ranges to attract myriad customers, keeping the economic conditions in mind,” he adds.
The collection for this season is titled ‘Menverse’, a luxury street wear collection complete with summer hues — orange, neon yellow, beige transcending to evergreen blacks. “We have used stretchable fabrics like knits and jerseys along with PU, and leather for detailing,” adds Pawan.
Newly married Nikhita Tandon believes pre-Covid customers liked to invest in shopping, buying both couture and pret. Post covid there are two extremes- either the customer is ready to spend more on a couture outfit to acquire a classic couture piece, not ready to compromise on the quality and brand.
Another big change is customers have become comfortable buying through online/digital mediums. They are ready to spend on big online purchases, which was not seen before in high-end fashion. The loyalty towards their preferred brands has increased, as they are more comfortable going to their all-time favourite brand, rather than visiting ten different brands.
“Versatility is key to selling now. A customer has to be comfortable knowing they can use the outfit to dress up, or dress down, a classy event or for fun outings with friends. It has to have the robustness of being versatile enough to fit different occasions. The client is happiest buying a classic outfit, which can be used for different occasions,” explains Nikhita.
As a brand, the aim is to uplift women so she mixes prints that are rooted in Indian ethos with cut out dresses, dinner gowns emitting a boho appeal. “Women want comfort, this year there are shirt dresses and kaftans in tribal motifs,” she adds.
End is a new beginning:
A lush green cricket ground, open space, twinkling stars and the Peacocks. The lights danced as from afar everything was luminescent from the heavily embellished ensembles to the theatrics that accompanied them—elevated ramp and power shoulders made a heady combo.
Glittering embroidered slit skirts, exaggerated bows on pants suits in pink and rusty browns and the beautiful Sakshi Sindwani in a dropped waist dress. There were red carpet offerings too, by Falguni and Shane Peacock, golden zari jackets for men and blingy cocktail gowns. Sequinned bodysuits with wings rubbed shoulders with fully embellished dresses and bodices with trails. Cutout jumpsuits, asymmetrical short numbers and of course feathers were everywhere.
The menswear too had sheer shirts and embellished logos. To add to this mix was the power puff girl Ananya Pandey in a blazing Schiaparelli pink dress with a long glitzy trail. As they say every end brings with it whispers of an exciting new beginning!