Fashion seems to be going the form-fitting way. Blame it on our new love for gyms and jogging but last year’s flowy, feminine (figure-disguising) styles have given way to what stylists are calling ‘smart and sexy feminine’. There’s a departure from bold, dark, jewel tones towards white, black and red. So now that you know what’s in and what’s out, you’re all set, right?
Wrong! “Fast fashion brands have these styles in their stores even before the luxury designers (originally responsible for creating them) come out with them,” says fashion consultant Amit Hansraj. And since everything you see on the shelves is likely to follow designer styles, putting together a unique look will be hard, especially if you’re not a supermodel. So how do you pull it all off? Read on...
The bare Midriff
Madonna iconised them in the ’80s, but clothes that bare your midsection are making a comeback in 2013. Got a bit of a belly? Relax, count to 10. Don’t panic yet. Showing off your tummy, something that was thought to be a teenage fancy has thankfully been given an adult makeover. Runways around the world had models catwalk in midriff-baring clothes. Miuccia Prada had models in cropped tops; Topshop Unique, Phillip Lim, Derek Lam (right) Charlotte Ronson and Alexander Wang, all had variations of the style. Kristen Stewart has been showing off her midriff, as is Freida Pinto, Miley Cyrus, Rihanna and Katy Perry. Back home, designers Pia Pauro, Jenjum Gadi and Namrata Joshipura have picked up on the trend.
The way to bare your stomach is to wear a loose upper with a fit bottom or the other way round. Go tight all over and you’ll end up looking like a drag queen. Cover your belly button. Bare the area exactly where the ribs end – it is the narrowest part of your torso. Fashion consultant Amit Hansraj says, “High waists may be tricky for curvier Indian women but it makes the waist look smaller and gives an illusion of height.”
It is a tough trend to carry off, so don’t even think about it if you are not tall, lean and slender. Sorry, no-body said that the world is fair. But for those who’ve stomach crunched on the weekend, it’s time to show off
Sorry to be the bearer of bad news but bermudas are back. Even the fashion world is cringing. “They make a woman look like a man,” they all complain. B-shorts have been hot with men for the past few seasons and this time, it was the female models sporting them on the runway. The shorts could be fashion’s way of appeasing the ‘not so thin’, because it is versatile, easy to pull off and can make most body shapes look passable. There were bermudas in the collections of Vivienne Westwood, Rag & Bone, Peter Som, Vera Wang, Rachel Zoe, DKNY and Atsu Sekhose. But you need to pick your pair wisely – not too tight, not too loose. Then, try and make the ensemble look feminine. Match your B-shorts with chiffons, spaghetti tops or a nice fitted blazer like Eva Longoria did. Add girlish touches like a scarf, dangling earrings and bangles. Fashion stylist Rin Jajo says you should “soften the look and wear heels [to give an illusion of length to the overall look]”.
Don’t confuse this style with sporty bermudas. Stay away from the high-fashion version if you are boyish (it will make you look even more so). And if you are short and round, God save your soul!
We are having a Pink Floyd fashion moment – Shine on, you crazy diamond. Even Burberry (right, the mothership of patent sober-coloured trenches) did metallic, shiny versions of their coats and took the plunge with bright neon shades for spring. Chanel, Christopher Kane and Marc Jacobs and closer home, Gaurav & Ritika and Dozakh had shiny collections with skirts, dresses and tops. The colours ranged from crème and dull gold to reds and neons. But don’t mistake shine for embellishment, we’re talking fabric not add-ons. Match your shiny one-piece with a subtle separate. “Designers have developed interesting fabrics. They are using paper silks and lurex blended with organzas for this look,” says fashion consultant Amit Hansraj. Stay away from shiny bottoms (you’ll look like a Bollywood extra) and keep it flowy and clean. Steer clear of tacky skin fits, unless it’s a well-cut shiny dress.
You cannot wear this trend if you are not already stylish. Stylish people can carry off anything especially shiny. Fashion isn’t egalitarian
White on white
No surprises here. Whites, like The Beatles, are always in vogue, when the sun comes out. But, this time, the twist is mostly all-white. You saw it on Charlize Theron at the Oscars and Taylor Swift’s Grammy’s gown. This bleached-out look got the stamp of approval from international designers such as Stephane Rolland and closer home Joy Mitra, Hemant & Nandita and Anand Bhushan.
You can pull off this trend by wearing an all-white ensemble or white as two separates – a white top with flowy pyjamas, a white skirt with a fitted white top. Add colour with accessories or you might just be mistaken for a nurse!
Stay away if you cannot go about the day without spilling something or if you travel via public transport. Keeping whites white is hard. And all-white is all kinds of trouble. Oh, and mind your underwear!
It is the silhouette of the season. The stress is on the figure. It’s a departure from the days of the figure-forgiving empire lines and loose silhouettes. Christian Dior, Derek Lam, Namrata Joshipura, Atsu and Gaurav Gupta had the pencil silhouette.
“The focus is on the waist as well as the beautifully-lined curve of the back,” says fashion stylist Rin Jajo. “Pencil skirts, below-the knee, over-the knee, with a slit till the thigh, dresses that finish in a pencil line from the waist and below, and pants cropped to the ankles in a pencil shape dominated catwalks around the globe.” Christina Hendricks in Mad Men has been rocking the look, so there’s no reason why the endowed Indian woman cannot wear it too. It spells sexy, it spells ‘look at my curves’ and it spells ‘watch my butt when I move’. Wear it with a loose top, if you have spare tyres around your waist. But if your belly is flat, tuck in your blouse, add a belt, wear a tight top, bare your midriff or pair it with a peplum.
Of course, curvy girls can carry it off. But by curves, we mean in the right places. Bust and butt, yes. Belly and love handles, no. Please!
From HT Brunch, March 3
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