The season of flounce and loose shapes is over, with power dressing making a comeback. Women's autumn and winter wear this year will be all about immaculate cuts, silhouettes and tight fits, especially around the waist.
Fits that accentuate the contours of the body, clinched waistlines and flared hemlines with contrasting drapes stood out as one of the major trends at the just concluded Wills Lifestyle India Fashion Week (WIFW) here.
Designers said the trend was a carryover from the last season, which made an emphatic statement for the autumn-winter couture this time.
"The last season - the spring-summer line - was characterized by flounces, though the gradual shift to tighter contours was apparent. This season, the look was definitely fitted and draped," designer Pratima Pandey, a NIFT graduate, told IANS.
Pandey's Bohemian theme, "Fashion Ghetto", at the WIFW was inspired by the movie, Slumdog Millionaire.
The young designer experimented with a combination of the ancient Japanese tie-and-dye technique of Shibori, bagru print from Rajasthan and the traditional 'dhagai' (thread) work on her clothes.
She used the resilient Bhagalpur silk to create stiff, hugging silhouettes.
"After watching Slumdog Millionaire, I wanted to translate the darkest area of life into a beautiful pret line. I started with black, the most negative of shades, and moved on the positive hues of blue, grey and green," she explained.
The apparel line was a blend of fitted blazers, jackets, tops, skirts and dresses.
The traditional Indian woman with broader torsos played on the minds of designers this season. With the global apparel retail industry reeling from the impact of a fluctuating economy, the target audience was closer home.
And the fits had to make the cut with the conservative Indian woman, conscious of her flab, explained designers at the fashion week which ended Sunday.
"My credo is wearable and Indian. I have fitted the upper part of the bodies of ensemble to enhance the figure. My clothes were more about fabrics and cuts than about textiles and embroidery. Fashion always changes and hence I tried to keep my line more everyday than one-off," Delhi-based designer Shyam Narayan Prasad, an NIFT graduate, told IANS.
He used the Benaras brocade, self-jacquard silks, short georgettes and heavy crepe for the dresses and slim line jackets that could either be worn as standalone Western style evening wear or as formal tops with lowers, leggings, tights and denims.
Designers did not want to risk losing money this season with new looks and excess frills, divulged Jaipur-based designer Aruna Singh, who worked with Satya Paul earlier.
"The fitted trend from last year continued this year. Last season, the waistline was camouflaged, but this season, India has drawn heavily from the tight fits and trim waistlines on the global ramp," Singh told IANS.
The designer's elaborate line of fuchsia and baby pink 'anarkali' tunics in silk and khadi - a Mughal era top with pleated hemlines and embroidered bodices - has lost its baggy look.
"It used to be a shapeless garment originally, for the Mughals did not like their women to show off their shapes. I have evolved it into elegant silhouettes with tighter cuts around the waist and fitted embroidered busts. The 'kalis' (pleats) have been joined below the waist. I have also shortened their lengths," she explained.
The original anarkali has a mass of voluminous pleats - a baggy top - that fell well below the knees, almost touching the ankles. They were usually matched with Indian-style churidars and salwars.
Delhi-based designer Samant Chauhan, a native of Bihar, who flaunted an organic line of heavily textured and draped dresses in cream Bhagalpur silk, said structured fits were the ramp highlights both in India and abroad.
"I have experimented with long and tight churidar sleeves and modified the anarkali-dresses with less flounce and pleats to fit the broader Indian women. The Indian market is finally ready to accept structured clothes," he told IANS.
Young designer Namita Rathod, who has trained in Milan, used innovative Benaras motifs and textures in a fusion of silk and cotton for her fitted line of formal wear.
"The silhouettes of last year have become smarter and upbeat. Fit gives a feeling of formality and structured clothes are associated with confidence," Rathod, whose collection was themed on natural fabrics and three dimensional patterns, told IANS.
Designer Charu Parashar's "Women of Impact" collection, drawn from heroines of the past like Laxmi Bai, Chand Bibi and Kaurvaki, featured slinky figure-hugging clothes. Designer Namrata Joshipura boasted of form-fitting dresses, jackets, high-waist trousers, pencil skirts, corset tops and layered dresses.