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Runway Report: India Couture Week 2016

Hosted by the Fashion Design Council of India, India Couture Week is a lesson in Indian craftsmanship and exquisite extravagance. The 2016 edition was no different. The nation’s top couturiers took to the runway, to present collections that are bound to become the season’s sworn favorites. This week-long line-up was a fashion connoisseur’s delight. Here’s our round-up, straight off the runway.



A collection titled ‘Firdaus’ showcased exclusively on Instagram, the line stayed true to the designer’s old-world sensibility. The palette featured sombre colors from ivy green, midnight blue to black, and brought silhouettes like the Varanasi coat, the Agra sari, the colonial sari, and the Firdaus coat to the fore . Sleeker floor-length coats were the highlight. 


A+CO loves: This decadent sari fit for a princess.  

Designers3Set to the theme of a ‘Persian Story’, the collection was reminiscent of calligraphy from Central Asia. Embellished, sheer blouses added visual impact to the cold- shouldered blouses that may as well become Malhotra staples. Signature, opulent lehengas made their mark, although in hues of steely grey, blue and pale pinks. Decadence and drama was given a contemporary update in a true celebration of Indian craftsmanship. 


A+CO loves: Show-stopper Deepika Padukone looking like a dream in an off-shoulder blouse and trailing lehenga.


Designers5Anita Dongre’s ‘Epic Love’ featured her signature gota patti work on mustard yellow, burnt orange, blue and purple ensembles. Always one to work with the free-spirit of a strong woman, the collection featured notable bohemian detailing from spaghetti top lehengas, to fringe capes and sari pallas. The highlight was a fringe choli with bomber jacket that made for an unusual take on bridal couture.


A+CO loves: This master class in mixing prints, and easy chic layering.


Hiraeth‘ paid homage to the transience of day and night with a colour palette graduating from ivory, orange, marsala to midnight blue. Here too we saw touches of the bohemian fringe and tribal coin embellishment on lehenga cholis and sheer anarkalis. A collection on history, time and place, the standout, carried effortlessly by Yami Gautam, featured an embroidered landscape of Mughal architecture on a midnight blue lehenga.


A+CO loves: The detailing and embroidery of this bridal lehenga.

ANAMIKA KHANNADesigners2A designer to give Indian brides their chance to wear white and light pieces, Anamika Khanna’s ‘When Time Stood Still’ featured Kashmiri, zardozi and Parsi gara embroidery on white, black and red palettes. Ethereal was key here with flowy fabrics, flared and dhoti pants worn with her signature floor length jackets and capes. Asymmetric silhouettes were notable for a bride veering off the beaten track.


A+CO loves: The simplicity yet unmissable sophistication of this draped sari and cape set.


Designers7Pearl embroidery shared space with Bahl’s signature floral motifs in ‘Vintage Garden’ that featured a white, off-white, pink and blue palettes. Net, sheer and gold chain overlays accompanied floor sweeping anarkalis and lehengas tinged with red flower power. Silhouettes maintained Bahl’s signature vintage Indian cuts while departing on occasion into vintage western terrain with peplum tops and maxi dresses. The full body, embroidered, midnight blue sherwani and lehenga had heads turn.


A+CO loves: The unusual mix of detailing on this jacket and lehenga set.


Designers6All set to dazzle brides to be that want to sizzle, Gaurav Gupta’s ‘Scape Song’ featured sexy cut-out ball gowns,  sari drapes and lehenga ruffles embellished with Swarovski crystals. The collection featured off-shoulder necklines and edgy cut-outs. The crystal mesh choli and lehenga sets are ones to look out for.

A+CO loves: The Disney princess meets warrior queen vibe of this ball gown.


Designers9‘Monsoon Diaries’ inspired by untamed floral growth in the season, jumped out at us like splashes of water colours in powder blue, navy, mint, cream and black. The focus was not on motifs but cascading embroidery on Mishra’s trademark organza ensembles, alongside chanderi, khadi, Maheshwari, silk, chiffon and georgette. A breather for modern brides looking for contemporary design, the stunner was a mint green lehenga with embroidery depicting birds in European style.


A+CO loves:  The timeless glamour of this ivory lehenga set.
TARUN TAHILIANIDesigners8With a runway bedecked with chandeliers, Tahiliani’s ‘The Last Dance of the Courtesans’ was an ode to the misrepresented aesthetic of India’s first fashionistas — the courtesans. The ensembles drew from their lavish aesthetic with anarkali kurtas and flared pyjamas in chiffons, embellished with Swarovski crystals. In creams, off-whites, reds and black, each piece carried glitter and sheer detailing. The crystal embellished blouse and gold zari embellished pleated lehenga with polka detailing captured the attention of brides to be in the crowd.


A+CO loves: This unabashed ode to glamour.
ROHIT BALDesigners10

Rohit Bal drew the curtains on the week long gala with a collection spanning zardozi, Kashmiri kaani, rainbow hued silk threads and Swarovski crystals on velvets and silks. ‘Kehkashaan’ was an ode to the best of royal culture in Russia and India. Featuring dramatic shoulder capes, floor length anarkalis, lehengas and robes in silhouettes with flair and colours like burgundy, black and white. The high collared cape with rose embroidery on black in a ballooning silhouette was the cherry on the (couture) cake.

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A+CO loves: The power-packed opening sea of whites!

Which were your favourite looks?