Staples like anti-fit cocktail dresses, dhoti pants, breezy palazzos and salwars will not go out of fashion. However, all these will go through some tweaking, feels city-based designer Aditi Bhoopal Pradipak. “You’ll see more cold shoulder and off-shoulder dresses and overlays. Straight fit pants, a variety of dhoti pants and salwars, kurtas with high side slits, maxi skirts with overlays or pleats and trapeze dresses that we saw on the ramp at Lakme Fashion Week Summer/Resort 2017 will be popular,” she says. Choose lighter fabrics like mulmul, ikats, handwoven cottons with quirky block prints. Ikats with tiny animal and bird motifs are slowly making inroads. “Many designers now use handlooms like Mangalagiri for statement ethnic wear. Variations of tie and die like shibori, lehariya, dip dyed fabrics and a mix and match of textures will work. If you have a dress or sari in solid colours, use tassles to make it appear playful,” she adds. Besides summer essentials like pastels, whites and off whites, Aditi suggests sorbet shades like watermelon pink and melon yellow.
She roots for fuss-free one piece garments. Spotted those airy, ankle-length dresses in handlooms? Those are among the must-haves for summer. “When the dress skims your ankle, you don’t even need to wear palazzos. These single-piece garments are versatile and available for women in different age groups,” says Vyshnavi. Think kurtas and dresses with overlays in delicate kotas and muslins, kala cottons and malkha. “Once you get used to wearing garments that use handspun fabrics, nothing else feels that comfortable. Kala cottons from Gujarat and our own malkha are really good,” she says. Vyshnavie suggests natural fabrics in ivory white, soft pastels, steel greys and blue.While accessorising, you might want to give those chokers a break during the sweltering heat. Look for quirky, skin-friendly options if you must. Leftover pieces of fabric can be used to create brooches and neck pieces.
Summer and khadi are inseparable. Aravind Jashua, who primarily works with khadi, says its unique ability is to keep the wearer cool in summer and warm in winter. “That quality comes from khadi being handspun,” he points out. The fabric is ideal for those who want to flaunt an individualistic style statement and not adhere to changing trends. “These days, you do get garments that have a touch of embroidery or some embellishment on khadi. But largely, it’s a simple fabric and suits minimalistic designs,” he adds. Aravind suggests one-piece dresses and long kurtas without slits that can be carried off like a cocktail dresses uk. Look for khadi in natural dyed indigo to stand out from the crowd.Know your khadi: Recently, a retail brand was slapped with a legal notice for passing off powerloom fabric as khadi.
Can a layman identify the handspun, handwoven khadi from machine made fabrics? Aravind Jashua explains, “Going by the definition of The Khadi and Village Industries Commission, natural fibres of cotton, silk and wool can be used to make handspun, handwoven khadi. Many a time, cotton-linen blends that have a texture similar to khadi are passed off as khadi. In the retail sector, some players use small machines to increase the output of the fabric, which goes against the very ethos of khadi. Look for Khadi India or Khadi Mark label granted by The Khadi and Village Industries Commission.” However, there may be cases where small stores or weavers may not have the resources to go through the rigmarole and get this label. In that case, Aravind suggests taking a closer look at the fabric to spot slight irregularities one expects in a man-made process. “Minor inconsistencies add to the charm of handlooms. Machine made fabric is nearly flawless,” he says.