Memory / Mosaic
Varun Bahl Haute Couture
For my Fall 2021 haute couture presentation, I began ruminating on the dream that haute couture creates for the wearer as the starting point. Great designers from all over the world use the most exquisite embroideries, done by the hands of India’s master artisans. But at home, we have somehow equated embellishments with bridal wear for decades now. This deep-seated connection made me want to redefine how haute couture is worn, and what it means to today’s informed and style-conscious consumer.
Not many people know this, but my love of embroideries goes further back than my first brush with fashion. While the official date of the launch of my label is 2004, I began making embroideries as a business around the turn of the millennium. For over two decades, I’ve created an archive of some of the most lovely and breathtaking work in hand-embellishments, supported by master craftspeople around the country as well as our in-house artisans. And this collection is a showcase of that legacy, that memory.
So along with making a new kind of haute couture, I have also highlighted what has so far remained in my archives. By creating artistic mosaics of embellished pieces, I’ve experimented with the idea of upcycling. Each segment carries its history, its own poetry, and a sense of painstaking luxury that it adds to the whole. Together, these parts create pieces that are greater than their sum.
Through Memory / Mosaic, I’ve tried to pull together a few themes that have grown stronger in my mind over the past year. Apart from embellishments, I’ve also thought deeply about silhouettes and the idea of drama as defined by the demands of haute couture. Here, I’ve tried to simplify my designs and cuts to reduce the ritual of wearing haute couture, and infuse them with a certain refreshing lightness so that you’re encouraged to wear them more often, and in different ways.
I’ve also brought in my signature floral-inspired prints, and added those to the mix. It’s slightly bohemian, with a hint of glamour, and like a finely-executed mosaic, it has brought together my thoughts on what haute couture can be. You’ll find draped skirts and dresses paired with bralettes, jackets with power shoulder, lehengas, peplum tops with skirts, slip dresses paired with long jackets, capes with trousers, as well as elegant sarees, all realised in fabrics like organza, silk, satin, tulle, velvet, and even denim. My colour palette plays with ivory, black, red, sage green, and blushing pinks—light, contrasting, and refreshing, ideal for the upcoming festivities no matter where you are in the world.
With Memory / Mosaic, I invite you into my world of design. See you at the show!
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