The only thing constant in life, they say is change. And only those survive, who readily embrace it. Maybe that’s why Varun Bahl’s opening show at the PCJ Couture Week at the Taj Mahal Hotel on a rainy day saw the oft-considered-ominous black dominating the catwalk instead of traditional maroons and fuschias.
But the heady hue found a perfect soulmate in flaming red and pleasing turquoise, as Varun combined it ingeniously to put together India, Nouveau a collection he admits, was a move away from conventional bridal wear.
The highlight was the stunning use of butter-coloured lace as an enhancement, which swiftly replaced a waterfall of sequins and Swarovski. “I wanted to do something different but sexy, so instead of an overdose of embroidery I concentrated on cuts and fabrics,” explained Varun, dressed in all black, to show solidarity to the colour of his choice and season.
With socialite Sunanda Pushkar gracing the front row in an asymmetrical white ensemble with burnt orange falling leaves as motifs and the designer fraternity from Poonam Bhagat, Rohit Gandhi, Anamika Khanna there for moral support, Varun’s Mughal farshis found favour among lovers of subtlety.
Avoiding bling seemed to be at the heart of Varun’s thought process, so to add delicacy he sent the charming Jesse Randhwa, who still hasn’t lost her touch after more than a decade on the catwalk, in a body-hugging net sari with just a touch of glam with a gotta trimming. Classic, chic and understated, best describe the odd but brave pairing of a red blouse with a sky blue sari. Colour blocking, asymmetry, transparency added grace to the quiet line.
Quite the contrast was the master of everything bold and the beautiful, JJ Valaya, and his inspiration, the Ottoman Empire. Dipping into history, way back to 1299, and the Topkapi palace, the main residence of the Sultan, he mirrored the colours of Iznik pottery (cobalt blue) on his grand shararas, achkans and well-fitted tunics. Leather tassels on saris, jaali backs on blouses, flirtatious, Persian paisleys on jackets for men got bigger and bolder, it was royalty at its best.
Rich in colour and texture, JJ used velvet to add grandeur, but toned it down with muddy colours in his shararas, and added jacquards and fine silks to give a fitting tribute to the past with a sprinkling of semi-precious stones and fine zardosi to add a wow factor. You could see the fine craftsmanship in the tall and slender minarets, mosques and domes he constructed with embroidery on his ornate lehengas as he played hide and seek with shading, taking you on a fashionable trip down Thrace and Anatolia.
Blog by Asmita Aggarwal