The ramp of the Amazon India Fashion Week (AIFW) Autumn - Winter 2016 turned out to be a canvas for designers to paint a sartorial journey of Indian traditional weaves and textiles with a modern touch and with strokes of socially relevant messages. Not just were the designs contemporary, but comfort and functionality turned out to be high on the agenda of the fall lookbook.
The fashion extravaganza, which started on March 16 at Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium here, saw a fitting finale on Sunday with nine designers, including names like Rahul Mishra and Samant Chauhan, presenting Indian traditional craft with a contemporary twist and in a more global format with 'India Modern' theme.
The autumn - winter edition was special in many ways - change in the venue, dedicated menswear shows, special accessory show and spotlight on healthy life with focus on pushing the idea of being 'fashionably fit'.
Apart from Mishra and Chauhan, stalwarts from fashion industry like Rajesh Pratap Singh, Anju Modi, Abraham and Thakore, Rohit Gandhi and Rahul Khanna, Amit Aggarwal, Pankaj and Nidhi and Aneeth Arora came together for the finale. They blended traditional craft and weaves to showcase their modern styles and sensibilities of contemporary India.
Trends that stood out this edition were layered looks, asymmetrical hemlines, suede sleeves, capes, contemporary mould to 'desi' saris, suits, comfort dressing, pant suits, long coats for women, and athleisure. The quirky elements that added spunk was the use of sneakers with almost anything, animal print shoes, red socks and chic eye make - up.
A touch of India through fabrics, weaves, work, hand embroidery, prints, intricate and detail work of zardozi, brocade and experiments with khadi, stood out; while designer Namrata Joshipura captured New York's energy and spirit with her prÃªt collection.
The runway was also used to bring attention to causes as designer Gaurav Gupta brought the issue of climate change on the ramp through his collection 'Melt', in which he tried to create awareness about the effects of climate change and pollution on the environment, and designer Pallavi Mohan showcased 'Synthesis' with a message of tolerance.
The main focus of the edition was fusion wear, which suits international needs.
Designer Gautam Gupta told IANS: "One trend that is still going strong is the androgynous collection, apart from that we are seeing a lot more handloom stuff being done in a contemporary wear. The handloom is being given more importance. It is being used to make contemporary way so that it can go well with international sensibilities. "
Textures like ikat, patola, batek and tribal prints have come back to the ramp, he pointed out and added that these art forms are being "modified, modernised and used so that foreigners can use it".
Organised by the Fashion Design Council of India (FDCI) - - the country's apex fashion body - the runway of 27th edition of the event, in association with Maybelline New York, turned out to be a platform for 45 designers, who showcased their collections at the five - day event through 30 shows.
On the business front, FDCI president Sunil Sethi told IANS that though it has been an "encouraging season", numbers can't be shared.
"In my conversations with almost all the designers, I found out that business has doubled. Also buyers have come to us and said that they have placed larger volume orders this year. We had lot of buyers from Middle East, US, Hong Kong, Europe, Israel and Russia, " Sethi said.
However, Gupta has a different story to tell.
"My friends have told me that international buyers are not ordering that much as compared to what they used because international market is very weak. Secondly, they have more options along with India, " Gupta said.
Nevertheless, designers were also focussing hard on Indian market.
"India is a very important market for sure. You can't win the world if you are not good in your own country. We are growing business within India also, " Mishra said.
Chauhan said that this time, "domestic buyers were also keen to stock their collection".
In terms of colour code, the designers played with earthy tones, white, blue, indigo, browns, beige, gold with an occasional splash of orange, red, and pink.
And adding more colour and glamour to the event were Bollywood stars like Athiya Shetty, Randeep Hooda, Shriya Saran, Aditi Rao Hydari and Malaika Arora Khan.
Wrestler - actor Sangram Singh launched his affordable sportswear range 'SGX by Sangram Singh'.
(Sugandha Rawal can be contacted at sugandha. r@ians. in)