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Couture meets high-street fashion! Here’s how you can pair the two fashion worlds

Can the time-consuming craftsmanship of haute couture and casualness of fast fashion ever meet? Here are some ways to make it work.

brunch Updated: Jul 28, 2018 21:00 IST
Drishti Vij
Drishti Vij
Hindustan Times
haute couture,high street fashion,shyamal bhumika
Here’s how you can pair couture with high-street fashion stylishly. (Location courtesy: The Roseate, New Delhi, Make-up and hair: Leeview Biswas,Styling assistant: Riya Dhankar)(Farhan Hussain)

Haute couture is the ultimate form of luxury. In France, ‘couture’ is a legally-protected term and only a handful of designers are allowed to use it. It’s a sartorial indulgence that comes at the cost of a family car you’ve been planning to buy, or your yearly salary (uh-oh!).

But, can these six-figure lehengas and cholis be paired with more humble everyday wear?

In the backdrop of the grandest fashion extravaganza and taking a cue from design houses like Chanel and Jean Paul Gaultier that are sending out models in sneakers and knee-pads for their couture shows, we present a marriage of high and low fashion that some participating designers were worried about, but all were ecstatic with the results!

Shyamal & Bhumika X a bomber jacket

“The combination of the bandhani-print jacket and the lehenga looks quite unusual and quirky,” says Gujarat-based couturier Shyamal Shodhan.

Lehenga and blouse, Shyamal & Bhumika; bomber jacket, NorBlack NorWhite; jewellery, Amrapali (Farhan Hussain)

Street cred:“Fashion is a dynamic industry, and we are constantly looking at new ideas, notions and inspirations. Street wear has no influence on Indian couture but couture techniques are used as references by fast fashion companies to create looks by mechanical automated processes,” says Bhumika.

Go glocal:“Due to social media, the millennial shopper can easily identify the designer that he or she associates with in terms of aesthetics. In fact, Indian couture has driven many global trends. I could think of at least 10 different international designers who are using elements of Indian couture in their collections,” says Shyamal.

Wear your couture with: “A piece from your wardrobe that’s reusable. It all comes down to how you break up the set and restyle it with a new element, which in turn makes it re-wearable,” says Bhumika.

Suneet Varma X a cotton dress

“The greatest trends originate from the street. My mirror-work jacket is originally inspired from the tribal community of Bhuj. Pairing it with a dress celebrates its origin while giving it a new life,” says designer Suneet Varma.

(Left) Jacket, Suneet Varma; dress, Doodlage; shoes, Call It Spring; jewellery, Amrapali. (Right) Jacket, Suneet Varma; dress, Zara; shoes, Chalk Studio; jewellery, Amrapali (Farhan Hussain)

Street cred: “If you feel confident enough to wear sneakers at your wedding reception like Anand Ahuja, it makes for a relaxed and cool style statement,” he says.

Go glocal: “Most millennials are aware of international trends and comfort is a major factor in their purchase. They do not want to be decked up in zardozi just to be able to look dressed up,” says Suneet.

Wear your couture with: “A simple white T-shirt like Sharon Stone. It totally changed the red-carpet game at the time,” he quips.

Tarun Tahiliani X a metallic sweatshirt

“I think the revival of royal Indian costumes, and now the funky addition of street-style has been driven by Indian couture and globally-exposed customers,” says fashion maestro Tarun Tahiliani.

Sari, Tarun Tahiliani; sweatshirt, NorBlack NorWhite;jewellery, Amrapali (Farhan Hussain)

Street cred: “Versace was one of the first few designers who mixed it all up. He paired shredded denim jackets with big billowing taffeta skirts in a famous shoot. A bomber with a lot of crystals will make it look like couture. It depends on how you do things. As people in the world get richer, and this global disparity increases the top one of five per cent is going to wear couture like never before,” says Tahiliani.

Go glocal: “All the online shopping has led to the necessity of an ‘Insta appeal’. The flip side is that luxury is not something you can know without feeling it, and so things that have finesse are destroyed by the needs of e-commerce. It is like knowing pornography without knowing intimacy,” he says.

Wear your couture with: “Shredded jeans. But, I dare say while you are going to see a lot more street wear influences in luxury brands, they will still have to be made with a super luxurious twist,” he says.

Anju Modi X a bodysuit

“It’s a liberating idea to pair couture with high-street clothing,” says champion of slow fashion Anju Modi.

(Left) Lehenga, Anju Modi; bodysuit, Zara; jewellery, Amrapali. (Right) Sari, Anju Modi; coat, Zara; jewellery, Amrapali (Farhan Hussain)

Street cred:Anju Modi feels that the truest form of luxury isn’t about money; it’s about an experience. “One should be able to do what they want to do. And, it’s always nice to experiment with clothes. It’s not necessary to spend so much money on clothes that scream of a logo or a brand. It’s all about style,” she reveals.

Go glocal:“Our lifestyles have become a cultural potpourri of everything. We’re getting influenced from everywhere and our vocabulary has changed accordingly. In the day time, we’re thinking of pastel colours like an English blue or a blush pink. At the same time, if we’re at a Sufi evening, we’ll probably wear ashararaoranarkali. We’re enjoying every culture, which requires its own set of dressing. Youngsters are ready to take on anything. And, we designers are presenting our interpretation of this cultural mix,” says Modi.

Wear your couture with:“Sneakers for a destination wedding. The idea is to be comfortable. It’s all in the mind,” she says.

Rahul Mishra X a striped shirt dress

“Nowadays if you’ve worn a lehenga once, you can’t wear it again. In that sense, street style allows you to style it again. You can take a lot of cues from it,” says award-winning designer Rahul Mishra.

(Left) Lehenga, Rahul Mishra; tunic, Three; jewellery, Amrapali. (Right) Blouse, Rahul Mishra; tunic, overlay and bottoms, Three; jewellery, Amrapali (Farhan Hussain)

Street cred:“Globally, people want to combine a haute couture top with a skirt or a pair of jeans. Even wear sneakers with it. That’s what people are doing by combining different looks. Street fashion optimises the usage of clothes,” says Rahul.

Go glocal: “There was a time when I was a gen-next designer; people would look at the weight of the sari. The heavier it was the better. However, people now want to have the fairytale look; they want to wear a dreamy-looking outfit but also something lightweight,” says Rahul.

Wear your couture with:“A full-length skirt for an evening look. If you pair the same top with culottes or a beautiful pair of pants then it can become a great daywear look,” he says.

From HT Brunch, July 29, 2018

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First Published: Jul 28, 2018 21:00 IST