At his India Couture Week 2018 show on Friday at Taj Palace, New Delhi, fashion designer Suneet Varma offered a parade of such extravagantly saturated hues, swaggering proportions, and how-does-one-even-do-that craftsmanship that in closing it brought the audience to its feet.
But let’s begin with the backstory. “My inspiration has always been from the French art work and baroque. The garments that you see in my collection exude modernity with a hint of tradition,” Varma, a lover of all things colourful and rich, told Hindustan Times in an interview before the show. “My friends often tell me that they are more interested in seeing the back of my saris or gowns because they know that there would be something interesting,” he said.
For his couture 2018 collection, titled Naintara, reminiscent of an Indian princess, Varma’s vision involved a mash-up of nostalgia, whimsy and romance, while keeping his brand’s sexy ethos intact.
There were many magnificent, dreamy dresses in this collection of 55 looks. His evening dresses composed of exciting fringes (swish, swish), tassel-bedecked hems, necklines and sleeves (that swung and shimmied), appliquéd jackets, oversized flower motifs (that lit up in dark), multiple brocades, rhinestones, sequins, pearls, exuberant ruffles, plunging necklines, distracting yet fantastic mirror work, sheer transparencies, frilly flares, vivid textural embroideries, heavy-on-the-metal fabrics, ornate thread-work and fluttering (but certainly flattering) ruffles. Can we just say sparkle-emblazoned perfection?
The colours — gold, crimson, black, royal blue, purple, almond, pistachio, turquoise, tangerine, lilac, lemon — were luscious and dramatic, and the volumes equally so. These were clothes for when one is tired of merely blending in or in any way circumscribing one’s presence in the world. Varma’s attention-grabbing clothes were not about being “skinny” or “sexy” or “avant-garde.” They were about being dressed beautifully and unapologetically.