The second last day saw Ritu beri and Manish Arora take the ramp with their couture collection. Both the designers being similar in more ways than one. Apart from the masks and headgears, both the designers have had their share of international acclaim and at one point or the other have headed a fashion house in their respective careers. With theirs’ this collection aimed to re-discover their traditional roots via their signature aesthetics.
First up Ritu beri presented a punjabi take on couture with her collection titled aptly ‘Punjabi Rock & Roll’. While a gigantic Pipal tree with a golden trunk and golden leaves stood by the right side of the ramp, an enormous peacock statue constituted most of the area towards the left side. The show began with a model walking in with four other models holding a dupatta by its four corners over her head – thus enacting the scene of a bride entering her wedding venue. Her attire, an impeccable scarlet velvet Victorian gown with bold, wide golden borders ensured every trace of the modern Indian bride that Ritu had in mind. She wore an eye mask that covered most of her forehead and complemented the contemporary bridal look. “Indian brides are seen in veils so I wanted to take away the veil and add a little mystery to her appearance by introducing her wearing an enigmatic face mask,” explained Ritu. OTT and Canival-esque, the collection was high on drama with big voluminous skirts, high and big collars and big unabashed ruffles. While the collection had ghagras, Patiala salwars, choga like jackets, gowns with great eighteenth century European hoop skirts and sari inspired gowns, it became a study in going all out in terms of OTT drama. Elaborate use of gota, zardozi and swarovski work (by Gaurav and Gautam from the CTC group ) in metallic, black, white and more were highlights of her couture line. She used a lot of velvet in her lehengas, silhouettes and blazers. There was an elaborate use of silk along with laces as well. Regular bridal colours such as reds, saffrons and pinks dominated the collection but a lot of non-conventional hues such as purple, white, and silver were showcased as alternatives.
While She brought fore the punjabi drama on the ramp, Ritu beri’s Parisian influences were very well evident through the collection. The ruffles, the bodice silhouettes echoed a lot of classic french drama. Lets be clear on one thing, We have seen Miss Beri do waaaay better than this. I do understand her need to do OTT drama for a couture show, (yes, the definition of couture is quite different in the sub-continent, it has more to do with bridal wear, which is our couture) , but as a designer, she needed to step back and look at the collection objectively and stop where it was needed. At one point it felt like an overdone version of Marchesa’s India inspired collection. While I could liked a couple of them and could see these high end couture pieces paired with denim (My kinda gurl!! ) , she should have done the presentation such so, may be do a Punjabi runaway bride, or something… Also for someone who had been trained by François Lesage, the guru of embroidery, this bridal finery was a bit too much of a disappointment.
If you know about international fashion and are not aware of Manish Arora’s penchant for quirky avant garde creations, then you have been pretty much been living under a rock. Bridal and Manish Malhotra are two elements that are not really associated together so this was one bridal debut that people were actually waiting for.
Pops of colors, colorful prints and Loads and Loads of it was all one could see on the circular ramp of Manish Arora. Presenting a vibe of some Indian village, no wonders his collection was called ‘INDIAN’. There were cart wheels, ducks in the ponds and the perfect use of neon that remains his sphere. One can either hate him or love him for that. Like Ms. Beri, he too used veils as accessories. Ranging from all the bright and eclectic colors, Arora’s couture was anything but conventional. While the silhouettes were not really experimental, being indian ranging from bandhgalas, lehengas, saris and churidaars, the treatment however was a different story altogether.
Digital prints on the surface textures, enameled stones, faux leather, intricate work of zardosi and zari, decadent use of metals and crystals adorned the garments and in ample amounts. While exploring the quirk and kitsch in his bridals, the non confirmist Manish this time around went all out exploring bursts of colors without inhibitions. Loud, unusual and quirky, he went all out in his exploration and enthralled many, while confused others with it. What people got was a dose of colour, hippy trippy style, outrageously innovative design and creatively crazy
While one may argue his brave attempt and his unabashed use of color combos, which some designers might think twice before doing, the collection was not everyone’s cup of tea. Yes one does need to step out of their comfort zone, and that is what makes fashion fun, but this bridal trousseau isn’t for the traditionally inclined ones. While one looking for liberated creations to match her fierce and fearless soul, might opt for OTT creations, I was quite on the fence and it left me confused about if i liked it or not. While I love a good share of quirks myself, and loved a few pieces from the collection (the peplum top with a gharara and the sheer full sleeve top with maroon gharara), the sharp greens and maroons that were balanced to perfection, a good amount of pieces were too busy and had too much going on for them. Combining embroideries with already too busy prints and then led to quite a bit of busy-ness in the designs and had me looking for a break from OTT-ness. While my fave set of garments did come in that form of break (picture 23-34), it was too late since others were way to much for the eyes. While you may give it to him take the traditional trousseau into a space where no other designer has ventured to enter- the crazy and the absurd, but I’ll reserve my doubts for it to be chic.
Images Courtesy Style me India