Onesies, pant suits, capes: See Indian wear’s summery makeover
Traditional patterns like batik, kalamkari and ajrakh make their way into contemporary trends along with natural dyes this summer.Updated: May 30, 2019 18:20 IST
Indian prints and silhouettes are colliding with elements of Western wear in cool cottons this summer. New silhouettes include the kurta onesie, the ethnic pant suit and the caped kurta dress. There are also Kalamkari wedge heel shoes, formal shirts in Ajrakh prints, palazzos covered in Batik.
Ethnic prints in Indo-Western silhouettes is a bit of a pendulum trend, says Ritupriya Basu, stylist with design brand Pernia’s Pop-Up Shop. “Trending mainly in the summers and monsoons, then fading a bit and eventually making a comeback in different avatars the following summer.”
- Kunal Kumar Duhar, head designer at B Label by Bombay Hemp Company (BOHECO), offers his top tips for buttoning up in the summer
- Dressing for summer is as much about colours, patterns and styles as it is about the fabric you choose to wear. The perfect summer shirt should literally be light, with a lower GSM (or grammes per sq metre). Your best choices are light cotton or light linen. There’s also hemp, which we are big fans of. It’s eco-friendly, organic, sustainable. It looks like linen, feels like cotton and is a step above both when it comes to look and fall. For one thing, it doesn’t wilt as easily.
- Whatever material you choose, try and find it in organic fibre. That gives you higher breathability, allowing air to pass through the fabric and dissipate moisture more effectively to give the shirt that premium look you want.
- When it comes to colours, go for light to mid tones of pastel or neutral colours such as mint, teal, yellow, peach and light blue, especially for men. Loud and experimental is all very well, but not in the glare of a May day.
- A round collar is best; it won’t stifle your neck in the heat. Half sleeves are a given. These summer rules work for any kind of shirt – from tee to formal button-down.
- (As told to Natasha Rego)
Because our summers are so hot and so long, we have always had interesting silhouettes emerge during this season, fashion designer Nachiket Barve adds. “People need constant change too, and that’s one reason we’re seeing these silhouettes, and seeing traditional prints bring their vibrancy to cotton, muslin and linen fabrics.”
Look closely and you’ll see elements of Central Asia too, in the Uzbeki Ikat and Kazakh patterns on some of this summer’s ethnic wear, in addition to Indian prints, says Anuradha Kumra, chief of product at FabIndia.
“Fashion follows a cyclic pattern and while the Central Asian prints and Indian prints are trending globally, Afro textile designs are slowly gaining popularity too. Before we know, they might be trending in the next two-three years,” she adds.
Here’s a look at our top fusion trends of the season.
The kurta onesie: It’s a kurta that extends into a slim-fit but flowing jumpsuit in light cotton or muslin. These onesies are often styled in solid colours, to be paired with printed capes.
The ethnic pant suit: Think kurti and capris, but more formal. The corporate pant suit has got a desi makeover with a button-down kurta that ends around the hips, paired with narrow pants bearing the same print.
Caped kurta dress: A midi in Ajrakh or kalamkari prints with attached shrug, this looks like a kurta at first glance but is more summer-appropriate. For that extra desi semi-formal look, pair with a hand-block-printed cape.
The kalamkari jacket: These are light cotton coats that look like collared tunics but extend to thigh level, and are bright with traditional kalamkari prints. Best when paired with shirt dresses; can be used as light autumn-winter wear too.
Printed footwear: There are collections of kalamkari and Ajrakh shoes too, boots, Oxfords, wedge-heel shoes and mules covered in ethnic patterns.