going global on Q's
We are encouraged to try new shapes in all new colours almost every season. Fascinated by dangerous or surprising styles we dive into the realm of the fashion dominion. We hang on to every neckline, sleeve, print, fabric, texture that is of interest to us and study its potential. We are inspired by the creativity and in the inventive approach of new fashion. Most of us who can't or won't pick up, so to speak, a Stella Mccartney, Prada, John Galliano or a Louis Vuitton, will look at options. You will be inspired by their style essence and integrate concepts in your fashion sense especially when you are your own stylist. You must be confident and use your comfort zone to desire the correct shapes.
Global fashion cannot flourish without fashion shows. It is about captivating your audience. These shows are all about hype, celebrity, mega buck productions, elaborate sets, dozens of super models, live music, and, oh yes, clothes. We forget it is always the collection that should be the star of the show. Models, choreographers, hair and make up stylists are simply the instruments responsible for creating significance and depth in an awe-inspiring collection filled with fantasy and drama. As a designer I feel that the more you work, the more you learn, and the more you anguish. As a bearer your fashion should clearly give you peace, joy, and a sense of confidence.
Haute couture should be imaginative. It is a method in exacting a sense of colour, cut, and exoticism. The influence should remain strong for others to follow. After all what is fashion if you can't wear it? In truth, fashion must be terribly chic and a very democratic way of dressing. High fashion is very courageous and fluid, not severe and unyielding. A fashionista must be an intelligent dresser as fashion is all about beauty and charm, yet you must have the laser eye to pick up the right mix of clothing.
Black is a staple this year and it shall remain so for years to come. There are many more shades of black, from charcoal to granite, which are equally important. The black dress is an eternal favourite. It streamlines your body and is perfect for a slimming effect. It can be layered in tulle, embellished with embroidery and accessorized with jewellery, belts, or buttons. Paired with white pants, skirts or even a scarf it echoes elegance and style. Vibrant colours also do appear great with black. Designers Dior, Fendi, Georgio Armani and others have shown black as a major collection. Some as pant suits, sarong skirts, balloon skirts, or even on shift dresses. Minimized or flamboyant this is one colour that seems to work superbly. We have and should continue to use black on cocktail saris and suits. It is delightful in simple cuts.
Reflectors shine or gleam is a good finish to have as spot additions or on accessories. But now many designers like Salvatore Feragamo and Diane Von Furstenberg are using metallic gold, bronze or silver fabrics on full-length dresses or pant suits. Too much of anything may or may not be a bad thing depending on how one carries the ensemble. I would suggest to the diehard fashionistas to use metallic fabrics if you must, but use it as borders on duppattas or plaits on blouses, on buttons, or on trims on hemlines. Full metallic blouses on saris look horrific no matter how they are adorned.
Power dressing is taken to the next level. Many catwalks around the globe transformed into battlefields where women strutted down the ramp, elevated as medieval warriors and ancient gladiators. Armored with spikes, metal body suits and fishnets, these were victory suits for the strong powerful women. Androgyny was the theme with a fierce military attitude as women of today love to be in combat mood. This kind of attitude can be reflected well if you top up with a fitted umpire coat in a sleeveless or bolero style studded with metals over your suit to give yourself a super woman look. This is a chic style great for eveningwear.
This fall season the use of lace has cropped up at almost all shows. Haute couture designers have used lace engineered on neck, sleeve, and hemlines.
Predominantly designers like Oscar De La Renta, Balmain and Dolce & Gabbana are using entire lengths of laced fabrics in delicate intricate designs, on full-length gowns and mid length dresses. They look best in simple shapes that resonate chic sophistication. Imported lace fabrics are available in local markets.
Saris in lace fabrics are classic yet modern and spectacular. On duppattas, lace works equally well creating an old world charm for the ensemble. Lace churidars or leggings are extremely sensual when paired with long flared kameezes.
Colours of the decadent precious jewels are showing a return this season. Versace, Alexander Mcqueen, Lacroix, are clearly making a statement with these tones. Gold, ruby, amethyst, sapphires are being featured, with chocolate, burgundy, and black fabrics. Long and flowing in satin, taffeta, and yards of silk, these ensembles are magnificent and opulent in rich shades.
Wrapped skirts or dresses showing long slits paired with velvet or brocade trousers are reining the catwalk. Layered with short cloaks and belted jackets are traffic stopping styles for any occasion. We can easily pick up the concept in richly toned saris with jewelled trimming and match them with contrast blouses in velvet or brocade. Neutral kameezes in organza may be given rich undertones of printed jewel coloured lining with matching churidar and duppattas. It can only look extravagant.
Prints in floral motifs have blossomed this fall in a big way. There is the country floral, pretty and soft in appearance or the bold floral in engineered placements making the styles outstanding. Solid jackets and trousers look well balanced. The sixties psychedelic graphic prints are also seen giving the season an optimistic mood. Inspired by the Emilio Pucci concepts these graphic elements are extremely elevating.
Cutting edge styles
Valentino, Etro, Dior, Bottega Veneta, Calvin Klein to name a few, are extremely well known 'houses' of fashion.
Their claim to fame is well rooted with years of experience. It is amazing how styles they visualize are sometimes close and sometimes miles apart in silhouettes. I suppose fashion must have the shock value and an imaginative playground of innovation. Let us look at some styles that are principal and big on the ramps this season.
Knee-length blouses with fluid hems and belted waistlines are very popular on the ramp. Cowl neck and draped bodices were fresh. Sleeveless, capped, kimono, or cuffed clothes looked sharp with ankle length capris or cigarette pants. Strapless dresses are back with a big bang. It is very popular to bare those shoulders. Sweeping princess styles never looked better; tiered, balloon, mermaid all looked superb. But the trendiest idea was the tulip dresses. Etro and Alexander Mcqueen, in particular, did some stunning renditions. It is indeed a very flattering way to wear volume. You could wear these styles in short high versions or long soft finishes.
Lean elongated body contour shapes in lycra body suits and leggings with tight tunics made a strong return this fall. The buzzword is 'slim fit'.
At the same time draped sari dresses is hot cut this season. Draped over a single shoulder blade like a shawl, held together with a belt is just the thing. Long lengths of yardage wrapped around the body woven into place are a sure fire this season.
Ruffles and pleats are playful this fall with frothier accents. Every design from D&G, Moschino, Chanel, and Valentino has used ruffles either on skirts or hemlines of dresses. Wrap pieces trimmed with gathered ruffles are very quixotic but versatile. It is balanced with plain cuts, which will oppose the flouncing. These dresses remind one of the flamenco dancers and only those with a great deal of confidence will be able to pull it off. Pleating is a favourite new fold. It is one technique that can be used in the most superfluous way. Horizontal pleats were seen running across dresses in even and uneven lengths. Pleats create easy fullness; goddess-like and simply seductive.
An eternal favourite of high fashion designers, boho is a casual attitude exemplified with style. Soft, flowing, uncluttered, reflecting the hippie kaftan cuts of the 60's. This season however the ensembles are given extra oomph with further embellishment. Prints with wild orchids or cherry blossoms make the easy pieces very oriental, while animal prints show a stronger safari lounge look. Lacing, 3d applications and heavy accessories are making them rather boho, chic and lush. The fluid translucent flared pants, the full layered underskirts and the lines of silk tussles lend an unorthodox yet austere look. A chilled out bohemian is cool and controlled.
Designs should embody an effortless elegance. Natural fabrics are organic and you should be aiming for an eco friendly Fall 2008. These are light, comfortable clothing with a subtle glamour.
Try to pick up vibrant shades. Fashion is now going to unfold layers of intricate folds on translucent fabrics. Endorse innovative take on tactile fabrics. Be an advocate of environmentalism and support responsible fashion.
Photo courtesy: Mayasir & Dressy Dale
Ensemble and styling: Maheen Khan
Makeup and hair: Farzana Shakil
Photo: Abu Naser
Model: Kabita, Ruma, Shuva