The scene: the Festival de Cannes 2015. The red carpet has been rolled out, the paparazzi have assembled, the stars have begun to arrive – waving, smiling, blowing kisses at the cameras.
While the jury is still out on that, the experts are unanimous about what makes for the perfect red carpet gown. “The red carpet is all about making an impact,” says stylist Nitasha Gaurav. “So the gown needs to have a certain drama that comes from either the colour, the silhouette, the surface detailing or the fabric.”
Rocky adds, “It has to have the right sex appeal. It can be showing a lot of back, a little cleavage, can have a train behind. But it definitely has to be floor length, unless you want to show off your legs, in which case it can have a slit.”
For Rick Roy, the right gown is about four things: the kind of event it is meant for, the fit, finish and fall. “Half the things that are called gowns are really just long dresses. A gown is more like an exquisite couture piece that is made to measure and hand finished.”
Many designers are now departing from these standards and Indianising the gown in terms of silhouettes, fabric and drapes. Monisha Jaising, who is known for her dramatic gowns, has an affinity towards using Indian fabrics like Banarasi and Kanjivaram silks in her red carpet gowns. Besides the thigh-high slits and sexy backless numbers that she’s known for, Jaising also does 3D appliqué embellished gowns, jersey drapes and cut-out monotones.
Gaurav Gupta too uses sari references in the silhouettes of his gowns. “If an international eye were to see our gowns, they’d be able to make out an ancient referencing of draping that comes from Indian draping techniques,” he says.
Designer Sonaakshi Raaj has taken the fusing of the Western gown with Indian elements to another level with her sari gowns. Sonam Kapoor, Deepika Padukone, Chitrangada Singh and several others have her sari gowns in their closets. “Celebs go for the fit I give to the outfits and because of the innovations I have to offer. I love experimenting and that’s what even celebs like; they do not want to have the same style statement throughout,” says Raaj.
Designer Komal Sood too agrees with this trend, “I feel the sari and gown are very close to each other in essence. I’d love to launch a line of glamorous sari gowns.”
Whatever the style, the cut, the silhouette or the fabric, one thing is for sure. The gown is the look for the red carpet. And it is here to stay.
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From HT Brunch, September 6
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