Top designers are waiting with baited breath for India's first haute couture week that will give them a chance to flaunt garments of opulence and exclusivity, taking the focus away from the more commonplace pret.
They say the HDIL India Couture Week (ICW) next month will help bring back the charm of the country's glorious sartorial traditions.
Organised by the Fashion Design Council of India (FDCI), it will be held during Sep 16-21 at the Grand Hyatt in Mumbai. It was long overdue, say the style gurus.
"This was an initiative that should have happened earlier, but better late than never," said designer Ashish Soni.
Couture czar JJ Valaya also welcomed it saying: "Most of our work has to be seen to be understood. This platform gives us the opportunity to showcase our best work."
HDIL ICW is aimed at reviving couture culture.
"Indian craftsmanship was overshadowed by the prêt line (ready to wear). Due to market demands and global trends, designers were succumbing to the pressure of creating only prêt wear," Sunil Sethi, president, FDCI, told IANS.
"We are trying to encourage our craftsmen and applaud our rich Indian tradition through this platform," he added.
Most designers hoped that the event would bring back the magic and extravaganza of couture culture in the country.
"We have been running away from our cultural heritage and glorious history. For most designers, fashion today means prêt wear," designer Ritu Kuamr said.
"Couture means luxury and in India, we always had the existence of this niche luxury market. But it's only now that we are acknowledging it," she added.
Even Rohit Bal told IANS: "The concept of luxury was invented in India. The opulence and grandeur of Indian costumes and textiles are legendry. Stories of Indian maharajas and their opulent and extreme lifestyles have been noted down in the chronicles of history."
Designer Pallavi Jaikishan, who is well known for her exotic bridal collections, said couture is all about opulence.
"Haute couture has been the benchmark of luxury and exclusivity in the world of fashion. This event will raise the bar for Indian fashion by unveiling the epitome of exclusivity," she said.
Tarun Tahiliani feels that people still do not know the right definition of the word couture."Couture means 'made to order'. This word stands for opulence and luxury. Unlike prêt wear, the clothes are stitched according to the shape and size of the person.
"You can't buy the product right away. It has to be tailormade and should fit your body," he said.
"The work here is too detailed, too fine, too painstaking or tedious and this makes it very exclusive," he added.