Sunil Sethi: Today's couture is more individualistic and less ornate

Sunil Sethi: Today’s couture is more individualistic and less ornate

The recently concluded FDCI India Couture Week 2022, in association with Lotus Make-up, was an amalgamation of the finest fabrics, extravagant techniques and intricate details. The ten-day fashion extravaganza with HT City Showstoppers as style alliance partner featured designers from Anamika Khanna and Rahul Mishra to Siddartha Tytler and Kunal Rawal. As the ICW ended its 15th edition this year on constant innovation, we spoke to FDCI President Sunil Sethi about its renewed focus, how it has evolved over the years, and the map to come.

1. For what purpose did FDCI introduce Sewing Week in India?

The idea for ICW was born in 2008, the same year I was appointed president of the FDCI. We were looking for a platform for couture, red carpet and formal wear, since the FDCI only did ready-to-wear shows. As second-hand clothes are the strongest market in India, our legendary designers being mavericks in taking tradition and mixing it with craftsmanship and textiles, it only seemed natural that they had a lead. to present. ICW has grown tremendously since then, each year getting bigger and better.

2. How do you think couture has evolved in 15 years?

Today, Couture understands the changing needs of a more independent, free-spirited bride who makes her own decisions and earns her own money. She wants to value the rituals, but still wants to add her own unique touch to them. Couture is also second-hand outfits and the red carpet; it is not limited by definition to the simple bride.

Although we all know that weddings are a source of money for designers, with the total market value pegged at $50 billion, I now see designers adjusting to second-hand clothing that’s easier, functional and versatile that are timeless. Vintage vantage is the new couture theme song because old is new! Designers reuse older pieces and add memorabilia to new ones. Comfort and bridal wear are now synonymous – you have pockets in lehengas, duppatas are gone, veils and trails bring new flavor, ruffles and faux feathers replace zardosi and dabka. In addition, charcoals and ivories are de rigueur creating a distinct space between reds and rani pinks.

3. What does sewing mean to you?

The stitching is done by hand and to order using techniques that have stood the test of time. Post-pandemic, it’s also a luxury that gives you the freedom to be who you are, the freedom of time, to do things your way. It celebrates slowness. Couture today is more individualistic and less ornate, it reflects the evolution of society; as we connect more with our inner selves, couture too is unrestrictedly moving away from the dictates of using traditional embellishments. The sparkle is now back, but it’s about innovating materials, reinventing processes, and building a bridge between craftsmanship, sustainability, and the future.

4.Is couture basically wedding attire?

Sewing is not just a question of wedding attire even if it constitutes a large part of it in our country. It’s about the finest fabrics, extravagant techniques, examining drapes and silhouettes that make a bride’s life sweeter, breaking established traditions about what color to wear or how to adopt. It is about thinking beyond what exists; if a bride wants to wear a jacket/tunic with her lehenga and a veil, a designer will provide it. Or, if she prefers a dress with a trail for her engagement in metals, she is now accepted. I would say engineered to please is the new definition of tailoring!

5. What were the criteria for choosing designers before vs. now?

The criteria remain constant: a very informed jury must select you from a list of coveted candidates. We also see how long the designer has been in the sewing business. Additionally, brides or red carpet fashionistas should be seen carrying your offerings, and needless to say, you should be known among the fashion designers and fashion fraternity. You should also have a store selling couture, bridal wear, or formal wear. We have always given new couturiers an opportunity and this year was no different as three to four new entrants made an incursion.

6. Which show(s) did you like the most this year?

As President of the FDCI, it is difficult for me to choose, but I would like to say that each designer has made a dedicated effort to give us many breathtaking moments in the physical format. They have outdone themselves in terms of design and taken tailoring to the next level – Pure luxury crafted with mindfulness.

7. What are your plans for ICW in the coming years?

ICW has now become an extremely exclusive space for veterans and new designers alike to explore. Every year, he gives a fashionable audience something that will live in their closet for a long time, that they’ll wear with aplomb, even with a new separate. And we plan to continue to do so.


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