Couturier Varun Bahl talks about his collection, New Leaf, unveiled at FDCI

While reiterating his love for florals, city-based couturier Varun Bahl tells us why his couture collection will appeal to an array of audiences
Images from model fittings for Varun Bahl’s show.
Images from model fittings for Varun Bahl’s show.

Varun Bahl has always maintained his love for posies—dainty or bold, the designer has never missed an opportunity to showcase how adroitly he can reinvent the signature floral motif through his creations. The designer is all set to unveil his couture collection ‘New Leaf’, which he will present at the FDCI India Couture Week 2022 at Taj Palace, New Delhi, later today. In this interview, we speak to Bahl about how he retains the novelty factor in sartorial creations featuring florals, where he has drawn inspiration from, and more. Excerpts...

Varun Bahl’s sketches
Varun Bahl’s sketches

Florals remain a common inspiration in fashion. How do you maintain its novelty in your designs? 
Florals will always be my mainstay and first love. It remains fresh as a concept as long as you keep innovating and adapting it to different silhouettes using interesting techniques.
I have always believed that it is essential to be up to date with the wants and needs of consumers, and to move ahead with the times. With ‘New Leaf’, I wanted to experiment with fun silhouettes that are comfortable, and work for a wide array of audiences. We are thinking in a newer, more rebellious, and disruptive way, and that is sure to stand out with this collection.

What is new in this collection? 
I wanted to redefine traditional Indian couture and move towards couture with a more global appeal. I have experimented with silhouettes that are more fresh and comfortable while reinventing classic styles. ‘New Leaf’ also plays on different textures and techniques with appliqués such as feathers, sequins, 3D motifs, and fabrics like silks and velvet.

You have said that Varun Bahl couture is for the informed consumer. How do you work towards this goal? 
I practise a few simple ways to ensure that each and every collection of mine is created consciously, while always taking a leap forward from traditional couture. I use sustainable fabrics and leftover fabric [from my creations] to create my signature upcycled patchwork embroideries. I invest in a line that adds solid design value to one’s wardrobe and enhances their personal style; a line that is trendless and versatile, so that each piece can be styled in different ways from within the existing wardrobe. It is my commitment to offering well-made clothes that people can wear again and again.

Where have you drawn inspiration from for the 2022 couture collection?
I love nature and I find myself incorporating elements of it in my collections since I can remember. The forests and the exotic flora and fauna, in particular, are very versatile; I love experimenting with them. For my upcoming couture collection, I was inspired by the mystical forest and explored a new direction of appliqués such as beads, gemstones, 3D-embroidered flowers as well as leaves, while also showcasing my signature upcycled patchwork embroidery in a reinvented manner.

Between Aurum, Varun Bahl Pret, and Varun Bahl Couture, how do you manage time?
When you are passionate about what you do, it comes very easily. I always wanted to get into wedding design and decor so it [Aurum] felt like a natural progression. Our RTW Pret label was a dream come true and it has been a beautiful journey until now. 

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