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Lookbook for summer

Cut-out details, sheer fabrics and shades of white are key this season, writes Shilpi Madan
Last Updated : 14 April 2023, 23:22 IST

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A white dress with cut-outs by Pankaj and Nidhi.
A white dress with cut-outs by Pankaj and Nidhi.
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Fashion designer Varun Bahl believes in creating sheer layers, using embroidery and patterns in the right areas for a flattering yet modest look.
Fashion designer Varun Bahl believes in creating sheer layers, using embroidery and patterns in the right areas for a flattering yet modest look.

A peek into the latest collections of India’s biggest designers will show that white, sheer fabrics and cut-outs are in.

Colour me white

Fashion designer Varun Bahl has played up unique elements and used a predominantly white colour palette in his recently launched spring-summer collection. “I have converted prints into embroidery using applique and delicate ‘resham’ thread work to play up feminine and delicate accents. Using corsages inspired by nature and unique two-tones in our signature patchwork embroidery creates an element of fluidity through the innovative cuts, bold bodices, sheer dupattas, and voluminous skirts,” he says. The season calls for the colour white. Fabrics like organza, net, georgette, Chanderi and chiffon are fun and playful, allowing for easy movement, he adds.

Whites have always been a summer staple but with the design turnaround, it has got a nouveau spin. Leading designers including Pankaj and Nidhi; Saksha and Kinni have been experimenting with whites using lace, cut-outs, sleeve accents and fitted silhouettes. Tanvi Sethi, founder of Torqadorn, brings in 3D, colour blocking techniques, and geometric lace detailing to play up the neutral colour. “Our designs are more luxurious. We have used satin silk to create simple silhouettes. This fabric and silhouette combination subscribes to the ‘less is more’ philosophy,” she adds.

Sarah Gonsalves, director and co-founder of the luxury label, Sarah and Sandeep, says, “Our new line of athleisure is in keeping with the growing trend of summer whites. It has cotton knits and Supima cotton T-shirts.”

Cut-out for me

Elegant cut-outs in geometric shapes have been making their way into silhouettes. Whether at the back of dresses, highlighting the midriff or the waistline, it brings in a flirtatious edge to outfits. “I believe that the biggest
advantage of cut-outs in outfits is the ability to create visually striking designs that are bold and unique. Cut-outs add a sense of edginess and modernity to an otherwise classic design, instantly elevating the look and making it stand out,” says Tanvi. She has used cut-outs to create the illusion of more defined silhouettes, emphasising the body’s curves and adding sensuality to the designs. “This element adds a touch of daring flair to any outfit, be it in a draping effect or an overall cut-out fabric like schiffli, which we have brought into the summer collection,” she adds. Cut-outs clearly allow for a range of creative interpretations, as in shapes, sizes, and placements that add different dimensions to the outfit’s appeal.

Unique detailing such as hand-painting, hand-shading, weaving, crochet accents and cutwork also bring in a touch of glamour to garments with cut-outs this season. “Hand-painting in oversized and cropped white shirts reinvent the classic through broken silhouettes this summer,” says Amritha Ram, creative director, KH House of Khaddar. “Our current collection Chaos is a khadi canvas, playing up white,” she adds.

“For us, each collection is inspired and adapted by the art of geometry. The angular cuts and slits in silhouettes are chic,” says Sarah.

Sheer brilliance

Sheer can be a versatile and glamorous addition to any silhouette allowing for a range of design possibilities. “My favourite sheer fabric is organza. In our summer collection, we have used liquid shimmer organza with edgy leather detailing to create a versatile silhouette,” says Tanvi. She has also experimented with printed silk organza to create a blouse with flowing billowy sleeves in a luxurious teal blue hue. “Ruched detailing in printed organza is another design element that has made its way into this collection,” she adds.

What is the secret to realistically wearable sheer with strategic layering? Varun says, “I believe in creating layers that accentuate the fabric, using embroidery and patterns in the right areas for a flattering yet modest look. Another clever way to conceal is to create innerwear like bralettes that complement the outfit.”

Sarah suggests using body tapes in the same skin tone, nude lingerie and the use of pasties. “Our latest collection uses sheer fabrics to create power suits, with fine embroidery on sheer panels,” she says.

Shivani Awasty celebrates the power of whites and sheers through her collection, Celestial, inspired by the grandeur of the cosmos. “White creates a goddess-like aura with sheer and geometric cuts, and a sprinkling of embellishments, just like the mystical constellations in the night sky,” she sums up.

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Published 14 April 2023, 19:28 IST

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