Back to the future

LANGUID & LAIDBACK

Back to the future

The big style story of the summer has been the seventies and thankfully, the retro look is set to continue on its comeback trail over the next season.

As we enter a new decade, those very same trends are swirling around, and the impact on fashion has been fairly similar, with trouser suits, brightly coloured saris, maxi skirts and Bohemian chic all around.

The thrifty can even dig deep into their mothers’ cupboards for some old favourites – only, remember to update the look with a sharp new accent. And oh yeah, steer well clear of the shiny polyester!

Start with the Seventies’ Yummy Mummy look – the key look you should be rocking this year. Fashionistas will have been pretending it’s their duty to sweep the floors for a few months now, but Sabyasachi Mukherjee’s designs at the recent Wills India Fashion Week showed there’s plenty of life in this trend yet. Another designer who does the look well is Priyadarshini Rao, with long, bias-cut, printed maxis.

The look you’re aiming for is lean, languid and laidback.If long is in, wide is equally appealing. Particularly Palazzo pants. They’re so wide, at first glance from the other end of the restaurant, they might appear to be a skirt. But in actual fact, these are the wide, slouchy pants that must hug the waist before flaring dramatically out at the thighs until the floor. High waists are back, with trousers cut loose and wide. And if your abs aren’t fab, buy some new harem pants instead.

The Palazzo look works best for tall people, and for shorties, vertiginous wedge heels are an absolute must if this look is to work. You can wear them with floaty blouses, as suggested by Ankur and Priyanka Modi, or with Japanese-inspired obi belts, a la Tarun Tahiliani.

Other people who have turned Japanese with strong cuts and textured finishes are Pankaj and Nidhi, who rocked the tribal trend in psychedelic, angular style; Mrinalini, and Gaurav Ritika, whose collection looks like the result of some intricate origami work!
Brights are another big trend, made popular by both Indian and western designers this season. Look to Jatin Verma, for instance, who went ice-cream mad in his summer/ resort line earlier this year, putting out garments in irresistible melon pink, blue, white and yellow. If there’s one shade that you must wear this year, it’s honeysuckle, or coral. Buy anything in this colour and you’ve instantly updated your look.

And, if there’s one garment you’ve got to buy, it’s the dress. The simple shift dress is everywhere – the shape you want is short, sleeveless and simply cut.

The one designer who does it best, of course, is Victoria Beckham, but everyone from Marks and Spencer to Lifestyle has some decent options. We particularly liked Anita Dongre’s stunning strappy dresses with full fifties’ skirts that fit both the retro and bright trends.

None of that appeals? Make like Rihanna (or Nicole Kidman if you want an older style icon) and slip into a jumpsuit. They cover a multitude of sins and are available everywhere from high-end designers to low-brow roadside shops. Get them in floral prints or neon colours and you’ll be the belle of the ball.

Finally, for some of that seventies crafts vibe, turn to the peasant look. Priyadarshini Rao has some interesting pieces to help you channel your inner Basanti. Or look through Mrinalini’s bright Rajasthani patchwork pieces and even Alpana and Neeraj’s moulded wood gowns – nothing is craftier – or more eco-friendly than those.

But all of that seventies appeal doesn’t mean there’s nothing else retro in fashion right now. Sabyasachi Mukherjee also referenced the sixties at the recent Wills Fashion Week, and international designers have been rocking both the eighties (left with a hangover from recent seasons, it seems) and the nineties (in early anticipation of the inevitable comeback of minimalism).

What does this mean for you? Big, bold Jackie O-style sunglasses will mark you out as a fashion star. Preity Zinta and Malaika Arora are rocking this trend. Or spring forward decades in time to Tom Cruise in Top Gun and go Aviator – cue Berlin’s sweeping ‘Take My Breath Away...’

Since we’ve fast-forwarded to the eighties, a trend for exercise wear is also back, whether as shiny leggings or as the deluxe tracksuit. But really, this is rather more of a hangover than anything else, so if you’re wearing chinos with a navy jacket and white shirt, you’ll fit right in.

White shirts are a big, big plus right now, preferably work crisp and clean with perhaps a waistcoat from last season thrown on for a little drama.

The other look to rock is nineties’ minimalism. Beige and neutrals are on many racks, many pieces superbly cut to focus on style rather than embellishments. On this front, we particularly liked Myoho from Kiran Jaisinghani and Meghna Agarwal, who worked with blacks, greys and inky shades to deliver empire line dresses, asymmetric shapes and harem pants – all for next season.

As for accessories, four trends have caught our eye: chunky jewellery, headscarves, floppy hats and wraparound obi belts. One look you can get without spending a rupee? Big hair – piled on your head in a bun like a sixties actress. It’s a trend both in India and the US, so you can look desi and international at the same time!

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