Here’s your trend forecast for the year by India’s leading designers
Ashish N Soni
The two most interesting pieces – which I believe will become a rage and will be well accepted by the fashion community – are the smoking jacket and the 3-piece suit. We are working on a few interesting versions of the smoking jacket in rich velvet fabric, which are now back in fashion. In the 1930s, smoking was seen as fashionable, and only the elite could indulge in such an activity. The smoking room thus became like a place where one could meet people and in order to protect their clothing, men wore the smoking jacket. Over the years, the purpose of the smoking jacket has undergone some changes. It is now the perfect alternative to a tuxedo or a suit.
The 3-piece suit is a classic investment for any man and will never be out of style. For summer, one can opt for suits in loosely woven, breathable fabrics like linen, which are comfortable and look stylish. For the winter, swap suits in heavier fabrics to stay warm.
I find it funny when people say that Indian men have become conscious. I will go back to one of my favourite quotes from my dear friend, Rohit Bal, who came up with this line — “Indian men were the real peacocks in India” — that was a wonderful way to describe the opulence with which Indian men dressed. I think over the last 200 years, as Indian men strode to gain acceptance into British society, they shed their traditional feathers and became toned down to suit that establishment. However, there’s a changing world, where many things are acceptable that may not have been even 30-40 years ago.
It is not just about trends; Indian fashion is headed towards a true confluence in ideas resulting in a contemporary Indian style that is not “ethnic” or “western” but has a global identity and relevance.
Men have switched from wearing suits for weddings and now want to look very much the groom, combining the traditional with fine tailoring and fit. From pared down refinement to ‘complete costumes of Royal India’ chic, the groom is fit, involved and dancing, as a consequence of morphing metrosexual Indian males – this is the new India, after all.
The latest menswear range is an exploration of form and function. The mood board is a dexterous mix of majestic modernity. The grey mohair sleeveless sherwani with charmeuse satin pleated collar and silver buttons; the single button cotton velvet bundi; the classic mohair double layered bundi with satin printed lining are some of the examples of this perfect unison of western tailoring and Indian draping. The monochromatic tuxedo – in grey, aubergine and midnight blue – jackets have an elaborate lining of charmeuse satin printed with a secret befitting the wearer – a Mughal inspired motif of a procession of elephants.
The top trends of 2017 are going to be comfort, classicism, better and better luxury, fit and impeccably styled but toned down fashion. Gone are the days of over-ornate fashion.
Last year, I designed a menswear collection — The Gentlemen’s Club – for the confident, impeccable man who likes to blend a modern perspective with rich tradition. This season, I see a lot more individuality and a great mix of style and fashion that is increasingly global in its expression. While the options remain a bandhgala, sherwani or kurta, grooms are experimenting more with the combination of colours, accessories, texture of fabric and embroidery with a keen eye for detail.
New versions of traditional silhouettes include the draped kurta, uniquely styled turbans and more. We will continue to see designs being more intricate, silhouettes being more modern and a greater respect for craft, handloom and textile.
We see this as the year of freedom – free from structured forms and body-hugging silhouettes; free from complicated colour stories – a play of classic colours with the addition of layers and controlled cuts. Short jackets and crisp, long shirt layers will add subtle volume.
Metal accessories and details will break the monotony with cropped trouser lengths and interesting necklines.
Every season, so many trends are in and out. I think military is going to come back cleaner this time. The multi-cultural look that fuses the best from different worlds will become more popular. I have clients who have found me online from all sorts of places. Even if you go to London, you’ll find stores like Machine-A, stocking interesting Japanese and Turkish designers, so that cross-pollination is great.
The kurta is now a global silhouette, and our embroideries have become a rage too. Long-line is here to stay, especially since Indian men are already used to longer styles like kurtas and sherwanis. These silhouettes are fast coming into Western wear. Indian men, in general, are having more fun. My recent collection, Role Play, has Indian staples with fabric play and unique styling. I see a rise in strong separates too.
The approaching year will see a lot of handlooms from across the country, along with textures and inspiration from Indian prints. A paradigm shift in an extraordinary repertoire of motifs and designs going back generations and distinctive to each tradition will be the highlights. The biggest 2017 trend focus for me has been about customising and creating limited edition prints and weave patterns that are used as surface treatment tools – imagine a printed kurta combined with signature breeches.
It has been my constant endeavour to push and promote craftsmen and artisans who help realise these weaves and print designs for the brand. The exclusivity of these textile weaves and prints brings forth an element of specialisation and uniqueness to each product, that still has a contemporary and global appeal.
Rohit Gandhi and Rahul Khanna
The 2017 range menswear is undoubtedly eccentric yet conservative. Over the last few seasons, colour trends have shifted to rich and luminous hues calling attention to modified silhouettes, technical surfaces and softer construction. There will be an ever-evolving transitional stage, with a bold and high-octane infusion of colour playing an important role in shaping things to come.
The 1970s, extra long sleeves, military, puff jackets, check and fur will be showcased both delicately and violently in 2017. Not quiet, yet the wide stature of the season’s most interesting suits could accommodate even the broadest shouldered gents. It will be an eclectic mash-up of tropical, floral, board shorts and optic patterns on the runways next season.