India entering the world of couture
When you think of Fashion, Style and Design Paris is all that comes to mind where it all began. Undoubtedly, Paris Fashion Week in its day was the most prestigious fashion event on a global scale which was seemingly dying a slow death few decades ago as the clients moved away from ensembles showcased in these events to customized luxury. In its heyday, dating to the period after World War II, these events increasingly showcased commercial logo-encrusted products. Falling revenues urged couturier to shift focus onto less prestigious but far more money fetching, prêt-a-porter
This is precisely the time that Indian fashion chose to draw attention to its edition of couture by starting not just one but two couture weeks in Delhi and Mumbai which became the only other fashion weeks in the world after Paris and New York. In the recent past almost simultaneous to the couture week in Delhi the Bridal Couture Exposition gave a new direction to Indian couture. This made the Indian fashion world more confident especially as most couturiers explicitly disclosed that they do not standout enough when compared to their western counterparts in prêt, and that they have anyway missed that bus. Of Late, brands such as Mango, Tommy Hilfiger, FCUK, Promod, Benetton and Zara have managed to capture a major share of the Indian market as well.
Today, Indian fashion seems to be waking up to the term haute couture and is having a busy time than ever before. Indian designers are getting globally acclaimed with their designs walking international red carpets while new designers are pushing for space on the runways. With the increasing number of mega fashion events and designers showcasing more of bridal wear it leaves a sense of confusion in the industry as to what is the difference between bridal and couture. Couture in India caters largely to the wedding market as that is where the designers find the maximum return on investment with the garments being highly embroidered and priced.
Understanding Indian couture is not an easy job. You cannot expect a French concept to work in the Indian context. In Europe, couture is primarily worn to balls, red carpet events and other special occasions and in India such designs and garments are preferred for wedding. Thus couture in India modifies itself as time consuming masterpieces that are created out of the best quality fabrics, intricate embroidery with detailing done to perfection having a prominent Indian touch. Indian couture today is utilizing the futuristic classicism of the past and infusing a contemporary twist to it, thus displaying an extravagant fashion panorama, which not only reflects the intrinsic charms of the land, but is also a pleasure to beholders.
However, gradually, the difference between couture and bridal is becoming more evident with designers trying to portray their designs separately. Now designers who focus on couture are working towards staying true to the essence of couture. Certainly couture design in India may have a bridal feel as today’s modern brides no longer just want the wear heavy traditional bridal attire. Indian designers are surely giving a distinct ethnic flavour to haute couture while adapting western sensibilities into their creations. Hence, though extremely dissimilar from the western understanding of the word, couture in India is developing its individual identity without greatly depending on lavishness and embroidery.