Cruise calling trends ahoy

There were some style trends of 2019 that we absolutely adored and others that we simply abhorred. We loved the colour blocking and the evocative floral prints but not so the ill-fitted fashion week gowns and pencil heels that Indian couturiers decreed as de rigueur. After all, which of us working gals can afford to go about tottering in vertiginous stilettos, flaunting body-hugging dresses?

So, what can we look forward to sartorially in the new year? We speak to some of the country's most prolific design gurus and get you the lowdown on all the hautest trends coming into vogue for early 2020.

Individuality rules

The keyword for fashion in 2020 is individuality, and for the first quarter there is a huge focus on comfort and colour. You can expect to see unexpected colour combinations, specifically for sleek, soft silhouettes paired with sharp tailoring and statement accessories.

Opines Jacqueline Kapur, creative head and co-founder of Ayesha Accessories, “2020 is all about big and bold accessories, bright colours and gold tones will now be in vogue. But there will be flowing and fluid lines and over sized chunky effects as well.”

Key elements

Pre-spring, or Cruise as the first fashion season of the year is called, will be a paradoxical mix of girlie charm and structured, almost rigid shape. Shares veteran fashion designer Lina Tipnis, “One of the hottest items this season is a denim or bomber jacket-simply must-have.

The one colour that will rule is salmon pink; it will be most popular,” she adds. For fashionista Sweta Agrawal, this season throws up clearly delineated detailing. “Boxy jackets are a big trend right now, and also bralettes,” predicts Agrawal.

'Bralettes, which are like mini cropped tops, paired with flouncy feminine ballgown skirts or lehengas are extremely popular with brides this season.

These are being teamed with little bolero jackets and tailored blazers for a unique look for weddings and eveningwear,” predicts Agrawal. "Pearls are very big this season, literally and figuratively,” comments Jacqueline Kapur of Ayesha Accessories.

“Baroque, over-sized, oddly shaped, on multi strand or rope chain necklaces and earrings, pearls are a focal element and will continue to be hot picks even later into the year.

Also, unusual handbags like a glittery backpack in soft metallic gold or silver or a shimmery sequinned drawstring bag are just right to add that extra bit of zing and glamour,” she adds.

Hautest looks

In deference to the climate, garments for the early months of 2020 will be light, but not as light as for summer. Predicts Sweta Agrawal, the designer behind the immensely successful label A Humming Way, “The fabrics to look out for this season are mainly khadi, organza and silk in mostly neutral colours and a few jewel tones.”

Avant-garde Agrawal, who has been making huge waves on the international fashion circuit with her highly acclaimed runway shows at Altaroma Milan and New York Fashion Week, has taken the humble homespun khadi and elevated it to globally appreciated couture.

Her designs for day as well as night are an interesting mix of flouncy femininity and sleek, almost streamlined, contrasting silhouettes, such as a boxy blazer teamed with a flowing ballgown skirt or even shorts.

The contrast silhouette look is definitely a leading trend, with even upcoming designer Niharika Tipnis echoing the look in her debut collection. Tipnis, a recent graduate from the Parsons School of Design, states, “Minimally embellished separates likes tops and tunics in jewel tones should ideally be paired with contrasting coloured coordinates for maximum impact. “If you pair sharply cut, well-fitted top with broad trousers with pleats, it works beautifully to create a whole new silhouette.”

Adds Agrawal, “Bermudas are very versatile, trendy and just right for our climate. They can be worn as casuals for day but also look very smart when dressed up for night when worn with an embellished jacket or corset blouse.”

The Blouze Bra, an innovative multitasking garment similar to the bralette, is also making waves. "It is functional yet very versatile: equally wearable with both Indian and Western ensembles.

Pair it with a contrasting coloured sari for maximum effect,” suggests Kiruba Devi, Design Head, Zivame. “One final trend to follow this season would be oversized cuffs, flouncy ruffles and collars that I call Disco Collars to lend a little exaggerated drama to a simple outfit,” asserts Sweta Agrawal.

Suggests Jacqueline, whose JQ jewellery line has brought widespread accolades, “Opt for classical and feminine lines in a matte, hammered gold finish that is super happening, to bring alive any ensemble, even a black or white top with Jeans.

Other favourites this season are multilayered necklaces with charms or varied textures, funky neon hues, enamel and coloured stones.”

Experts’ last word

“Make a shopping list of whatever you need. Buy smart, not more.”

— Lina Tipnis

“Size is no longer a constraint to being stylish. Today, the mood has become adventurous and we designers are happy to make our unconventional garments for people of all sizes and one should not be afraid to experiment!'

— Sweta Agrawal

“A little bling is a good thing. One or two statement accessories can make a huge difference  in pulling together your look with utmost ease and elegance.”

— Jacqueline Kapur