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Key Menswear Looks From FDCI x Lakmé Fashion Week 2021

FDCI x LFW - Kiara Advani and Kartik Aaryan walk for NEXA presents Manish Malhotra


A round up of a few standout menswear trends

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From March 16 to March 21, 2021, The Fashion Design Council of India and Lakmé Fashion Week came together for the first-ever joint Phygital Fashion Week—hybrid format, meaning both virtual and on-ground events. This seasonless fashion week was aimed at boosting the morale of the industry which like many others, deals with the repercussions that the pandemic has left in its wake. This first-ever collaborative edition kickstarted with a digital presentation from veteran designer Anamika Khanna. Day three of the event also saw the presentation of the first-ever drive-in show in Mumbai showcasing the collection of designer Masaba Gupta. Manish Malhotra, Shantanu and Nikhil Mehra, Sumeet Varma, Ritu Kumar and Payal Singhal were some of the most celebrated names who participated. Here’s our recap of some of the prominent menswear trends…. 

Designer duo and brothers Shantanu and Nikhil Mehra closed out the first day of the fashion week, with the newest collection from their bridge-to-luxury, celebration-wear brand—S&N—with the #SNSafari collection. S&N completes one year and has redefined celebration wear with millennial spunk with a contemporary touch. #SNSafari is an ode to travel and reinforces this very celebratory spirit, but this time with a calming mélange of safari-chic styles. At its very core is the idea of the escape—be it a road trip, a weekend getaway or a staycation. Wanderlust is on everyone’s mind in the post-pandemic world. The line borrows from the duo’s signature use of drapes, minimalism and nostalgia to tell the story of a modern India. Being travel-inspired, the collection is all about comfort and nonchalance; of being comfy cool. 

Key pieces: Tribal details and faux leather accents accentuate the line’s draped trousers, cropped shirts, bomber jackets and open-cut sherwanis and structured shirts with Nehruvian details. Plus, T-shirts, sneakers and shorts.

Sustainability and unisex lines were a prominent feature at this fashion week. As a part of FDCI’s emerging talent category, Akshat Bansal of the label Bloni showcased his gender-fluid line. The brand blends textiles and gives sustainability a new form and edge by using technologies to make eco-friendly clothing, not only supporting Indian artisans, but also introducing advancements and hybrid textiles for the new-tech generation. This season they experimented with marine plastic waste textile, giving it a new lease of life. Blending tech-generated fabrics with local artisanal techniques, hand crochet and knitting along with glazed fabrics, clean silhouettes and gender-neutral shapes blur the visual distinction and form a strong base for this collection.

Key pieces: Statement shirt, oversized neon jackets and shorts

On day two, the All About India presentation by Rise Worldwide, saw three labels present their collections. Huemn by Pranav Mishra and Shyma Shetty, showcased their namesake line called Huemn 21, packed with nostalgic elements and a hint of metropolitan touch. A truly unisex collection that will appeal to the fashion sensibilities of both sexes. Anti-fit and baggy silhouettes were the basis of the line, as shirts appeared with giant printed patch pockets while denim biker’s jackets had a dual wardrobe appeal.

Key pieces: Shirts with giant patch-pockets, denim biker jackets, denim/knit pants with frayed edges and sweatshirt with 3D embroidery 

Gaurav Khanijo’s eponymous label Khanijo for its All About India collection, brought in large doses of diversity and inclusivity for the marked unisex line. The primary base of the garments was upcycled fabrics. Bringing a blast of colours for the range that had a retro 70’s vibe, the oversized silhouettes were enveloped in celebrating the cultures and life in a rainbow of hues and textures. 

Key pieces: Printed shirts, cropped pants, buttonless denim jacket, Mandarin-collared kurta and knee-length coat with frayed-shoulder detailing

R|Elan™ Fashion for Earth in association United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) sponsored the Circular Design Challenge this year. Bandit by Satyajit Vetoska won the third edition of this sustainable initiative. The designer incorporated ordinary material such as tarpaulin to make a collection of functional, durable, yet well-designed products. The line offered a variety of bags made from excess waste tarpaulin discarded by manufacturers for its defects. The label showcased bags-infused with flex, which comes from printed billboards. 

Rahul Dasgupta was one of the designers to showcase his futuristic and modern take on menswear at the GenNext show presented by the International Fashion Institute of Fashion Design (INIFD). Influenced by the waves of the sea, the frayed detailing, intense ribbing effect on the garments and the rippling of fabrics on the kurtas, gave a refreshing upgrade to menswear. Keeping Shibori (a Japanese tie-dye technique) as the primary traditional craft technique on cotton dori and cut out selvedge of fabrics, the designer merged these to produce eye-catching fabrics on organza and cotton.

Key pieces: Silk-organza bagalbandi style kurta, Shibori-lined cotton-dori jacket, sherwanis with detailing on the waist and sleeves and flap pockets.

With this unique one-of-its-kind line, designer Payal Singhal brought her signature, bohemian, relaxed, treatment for garments to the forefront with her collection called Kismet. The line can be defined as loungewear-cum-streetwear meets Indian wear. The designer collaborated with R|Elan™ for this collection, which was entirely crafted using the brand’s high-performance, eco-friendly fabrics created using sustainable techniques.

Key pieces: Kurta-jogger sets, fanny packs and coordinates 

Manish Malhotra knows how to celebrate the grandeur of a wedding and his latest couture, bridal collection presented by NEXA at the fashion week, had everything a bridal couple longs for on the most important day of their lives. The showstoppers were the stunning Kiara Advani and the very dapper Kartik Aaryan. He was at his dapper best in a black, bandhgala jacket with three silver reindeers embroidered, perfectly teamed with an asymmetric ink kurta and slim pants.

Key pieces: Jackets with beaded lapels or silver shawl collars, Jodhpuri jackets with kurtas and sherwanis with animal motif embroidery 

To round up, the pandemic has clearly had an effect on the way we dress. In keeping up with the times, the immediate future of fashion is all going to be about minimal maximalism—meaning, that even when we’re dressed to the nines—silhouettes and fabrics will be light with a lot of movement and ease.