Can haute couture resist the tracksuit tornado?
Comfort dressing has been the key trend at the recently concluded menswear digital shows presenting Autumn Winter 21-22 collections. One saw a push on languid tailoring, floaty silhouettes and forgiving shapes at Zegna, Hermès and Paul Smith. At the ongoing Paris Couture Week’s digital showcase, couturier Julie de Libran showcased a panoply of robes de chambre and slip dresses apt for lounging at home and Atlein teamed a sporty hoodie with a sequinned party look. In this backdrop, one couldn’t help but question the changing role of couture post pandemic. Is it a still escapist fantasy or the last trying year has impacted its larger-than-life aura? What does the couture customer want in 2021? Is it a trailing gown sheathed with hand painted sequins or an elegant tracksuit in a lush fabric? Or perhaps is it a hybrid between the two?
Designer Amit Aggarwal, who’s always maintained that couture is something which makes you feel special, shares, “A pair of special track pants could still be couture or it could be a bridal outfit. Couture primarily celebrates the person you are on a daily basis - almost evoking a feeling like it’s your birthday. It’s about curating a product, which makes a customer feel that the product is made for her or him only and no one else. So it won’t always be a lehenga from us, but there will also be a mini dress or a beautiful shirt too. It’s always about feeling special.”
Aggarwal observes that the last year has given us more time and space than any other year. “Now people want to emerge fearless - it’s not about following a trend, but following the rhythm of your body. This is the time to break as many myths as possible. I do like the idea of comfort clothing - which is light and makes you feel free. Moreover, clothes should not be limiting. If a bodycon silhouette liberates you, then go for it. It’s not about the shape but you,” adds Amit.
It’s undeniable that the face of fashion has changed, people are embracing comfort dressing in new found ways every day. Designer Zara Umrigar observes, “As much as comfort dressing has come to the forefront of fashion in the past year, it’s clear that it won’t supersede one’s desire for high fashion in the long run. The new casual way will take a backseat to revenge dressing as people gain control of their lives once again and find power in what they choose to wear. The pandemic may have caused shifts in the demand for high end products, but there will always be a huge market for it- life is moving forward and so are weddings and events. People are moving forward and with that, markets will too. That being said, it’s certain that designers will have to adapt to the times, be more aware of how they produce their pieces and find ways to increase their flexibility.”