Summer special: Six renowned designers talk about evolving fashion trends

Beat the heat in style this summer with these expert tips from leading icons of the fashion world

Sharmistha Ghosal Published :  20th March 2020 12:00 AM   |   Published :   |  20th March 2020 12:00 AM

Beautiful summery floral lehengas by Ritu Kumar's RI

It has never been an easy thing to balance comfort and style when it comes to summer fashion. But with the help of some of the most acclaimed couturiers, it can be a tad easier to straddle style and comfort with equal ease. Indulge spoke with some leading fashion icons to help you glide through the gruelling heat of the ensuing summer months with class and confidence. Here are a few essential tips from the fashion gurus regarding what should be your choice of fabrics, colours and silhouettes to nail the look this summer.

Ritu Kumar

Ritu Kumar

Ritu Kumar, who is celebrated for her elegantly detailed embroideries in colours complementing the Indian skin tone, has come up with a stunning range of hot and airy ensembles in her Rii collection. The look is young and appealing, as classic colours and silhouettes take a turn towards subtle embroideries and quieter looks. The silhouettes are airy with an interplay of ruffles in organza, thus softening the mood. The colours, ranging from pastels to festive, make the collection apt for summer brides, says the veteran designer.

Dressy lehengas with bralette cholis by Ritu Kumar's RI

For this collection, Ritu has drawn inspiration from a range of different genres of influences including inlay work from the Mughal-era executed with ari and zardosi hand embroidery. The colours are fresh and vibrant with a burst of floral emblems. “A mix of metallic work paired with a sheer look keeps the summer balance in place. Our signature colourful embroideries are revived from Indian mythology, and the rabaari work of Kutch are there too,” adds Ritu. The dame of Indian fashion feels shades of sunset yellow and aquamarines, pastel pinks, creamy vanilla and hints of gold will rule the summer this year.

Beautiful yellow flowy lehengas by Ritu Kumar's RI

In terms of cuts and silhouettes, asymmetrical long tops and capes with assorted bottoms will reign over the fashion scene, besides the traditional lehengas styled with modern corsets and saris paired with frill blouses and belts. “One-shoulder cocktail dresses and cold shoulder blouses paired with printed skirts are very much in fashion for the younger generation,” notes Ritu.

To bear the heat with a grin, she suggests going for nets, chanderi, crepe, chiffons and georgettes. “Blend traditional wear with modern silhouettes. Flowy tops, dresses and skirts are better than form-fitting garments. Keep your make-up natural. The shoulder-length, clean and sleek hairdo is trending a lot. Minimal jewellery with a smart centrepiece for a highlight is the way to go,” advises the reputed couturier.

Bibhu Mohapatra

Bibhu Mohapatra

This internationally acclaimed ace designer believes that this summer is all about colours — lots of them — mixed with vibrant prints and textures. For this season, he has included a lot of pale blue, orange and blush pink in his collection alongside a lot of sheer fabrics and cotton. “I am using some amazing organic textiles from the Sadhguru’s Isha Foundation since those styles are all rage. Also, I will have a resort collection that will be out in June during the couture week in Paris. That collection will comprise a lot of custom-made guipure laces in paisley shapes and a lot of ombre materials. These will all be very elegant and sophisticated shapes,” says the designer.

A bautiful orange gown with a plunging neckline by Bibhu

The young couturier believes that strong and tailored shoulders, airy drapes and flowy skirts will rule the fashion scene this season, in terms of cuts and silhouettes. “A lot of architectural structures with pleats will be very fashionable this season to flaunt,” he adds. To beat the Indian summer in style, Bibhu suggests opting for organic and cotton that is handwoven.

A glamourous eveningwear in black and white by Bibhu

"I am using a lot of handwoven fabrics from Isha Foundation, and the authentic story behind the textile has been the key to the success of those styles I sent on the runway. I am so happy to include these textiles in my Spring-Summer collection, which are environmentally responsible and extremely luxurious,” says Bibhu.

Anamika Khanna

When it comes to summer trends this year, the queen of fashion, Anamika Khanna believes in setting your own trends. “Instead of blindly following the annual trends, one should concentrate on what suits oneself. Just because a shocking pink is trending, you don’t need to wear it to be updated, even if it doesn’t suit you,” says the designer, who is hugely popular among fashion-conscious celebrities like Sonam Kapoor.

Anamika Khanna

The couturier, who is famed for her free-flowing unique capes, feels that though during the summers, fashion is generally lighter and airy with pastels and ivory doing the rounds, this time it will be full of bright and strong colours. “Fashion this year is much bolder and younger with a lot of consciousness among young people who are buying clothes, they are concerned about the wastage. Hence, sustainability will feature very boldly in my collection this year. The entire summer edit will be very experimental with a lot of new silhouettes, besides the jackets. We are also including a lot of skirts and capes, but we are presenting them in a new and different way,” offers the renowned designer.

Anamika also advises not to generalise colours or style and choose what suits you most, personally. “Wear what works for you. Be confident in what you wear, be honest to your clothes and find your pride of place in fashion, in your own individualistic way,” she says.

Gaurang Shah with Tabu

Gaurang Shah

Renowned for his intricately handwoven jamdani wonders, Hyderabad-based couturier Gaurang Shah feels that cotton and silk clothing are the two most promising fashion choices this summer. “Interestingly, silk, which is also a light fabric, adjusts to your body temperature, has the cool softness of cotton, the textured look of linen, a subtle lustre, and a smooth drape. It’s a celebrated fabric of choice for all occasions and Patola silk is a go-to-wear this season,” says the famed designer.

A beautiful silk for a summery night by Gaurang

His summer collection this year consists of innovative weaves in khadi jamdani besides other weaves including Dhakai jamdani, Kanjeevaram organza, and silk kota. “The beautiful thing about Indian jamdani is their inherent natural elements like the fibre, the texture, the dyes — and it is handwoven,” adds Gaurang. The couturier tells us that summer shouts for minimalism and the colours that will be trending this season are pastel hues, which are refreshing.

A very summery patola in red and white by Gaurang

“However, choosing a colour is an individual choice and there will be an array of colours to choose from in summer. The idea is to choose colours that have subtlety,” says Shah. Flowy, breezy dresses are always great as summer dresses. “The important thing is choosing the right fabric, whether it’s a handwoven sari or an outfit,” he adds. For braving the summer, he advises opting for silk and organza silk, as they are light and ooze class and richness with a compelling colour palette.

“Keep your style minimalistic. Choose handwoven fabrics that are breathable and keep your body sweat-free. In addition to matchless contemporary silk saris, lighter, pastel touches, flowy anarkalis, dupattas made of silk too can make your summer enlivening,” says Gaurang.

Anita Dongre

Anita Dongre

The famed couturier who has made fashionable clothes affordable with her retail brands AND and Global Desi, recently topped the headlines once again when the US President’s daughter, Ivanka Trump, wore her label during her India trip. As always, Anita Dongre’s summer collection is targeted at the modern Indian woman, keeping in mind that she plays many roles each day, while doing her thing to make the world go round. The stylish designer, feted for her clean cuts and structured silhouettes, tells us that light, airy and minimal fabrics and silhouettes will trend this summer.

“We need to make a conscious decision to choose clothes that will make us happy and are eternally elegant, and reflective of our personality. Monotone, co-ordinated sets and print on prints are in trend this season. Most importantly, environmentally sustainable products are super fashionable, besides being good for the planet,” says Anita Dongre.

Flowy dresses in earthy shades of rust and brown by Anita Dongre

Happy, breezy colours are definitely in with a lot of lime greens, corals, warm sunshine yellows, bright oranges and whites doing the rounds. “In general, wear silhouettes that you’re comfortable in. My recommendations for this season are feminine balloon sleeves, tailored jackets, and loose silhouettes that beat the heat,” she adds. She also suggests going for functional fabrics that are mindful of the summer heat, and at the same time, help keep us feeling fresh and airy.

A light jumpsuit in pastel shade by Anita Dongre

“Go for breathable cottons, lightweight linens and khadi outfits. Experiment with organic fabrics — they’re great for the weather,” she advises. All said, Anita adds that the most important thing is to be comfortable in what one wears. “Wear breezy clothes that keep you cool and wear light colours. Experiment with styling and make an outfit live longer than a couple of wears. My number one tip this summer is that you should re-wear your clothes and have fun doing that,” says Anita.

Nachiket Barve

Nachiket Barve

This acclaimed Mumbai-based designer, who was in the news for his period costume designs in the blockbuster film Tanhaji, feels this summer is for lightweight fabrics in beautiful light pastels during the day, and bright colours at night.

Inlay Toga fringe top with drop top crotch pants in red and white by Nachiket Barve

“A lot of beautiful lightweight fabrics with floral motifs will be in trend since the sense of lightness is very important for the tropical summers. A lot of layering and long kurtas and wide-legged pants with a lot of colour-blocking will do the rounds in the fashion circuit. Sheer fabrics and appliques too will be in vogue, and all of this will reflect in my collection also. As a brand, I believe in classic styles, since they never go out of fashion and we make sure to use old fabric in contemporary formats for our new collections, be it patchwork or applique,” says Nachiket, who believes in a zero wastage policy.

A beautiful one-shoulder red dress

Barve forecasts that colours this summer will primarily comprise ivory, mint green, baby pink, mustard and coral in lighter shades, rich blue and deep red on the darker spectrum with sheer fabrics like chanderi, georgette, lightweight mul and pure silk being on the top of the list.

“The important thing is to wear natural, breathable fabrics and mix style with comfort. Choose silhouettes that are not body-hugging and let the look be breezy, fresh and effortless. Even if you want to indulge on a trend, never blindly follow it. Look at the trend palette and pick what suits you most,” advises Nachiket.