India is experiencing “Innerwear Revolution”. Till some years ago, there was nothing candid about innerwear as it was considered a very private piece of clothing and a mere utility item. And especially for women, innerwear was entirely a “hush-hush” affair and “lingerie” an outlandish concept. But no more! Innerwear nowadays is held as significant as outerwear – in terms of comfort, quality, design, fit and styling, and even branding. Little wonder, it’s now finding its way from the confines of the closet to the runways – and is dubbed as ‘Intimate Fashion’.
The India Intimate Fashion Week (IIFW) is a unique endeavour that seeks to redefine once a ‘humble’ innerwear to a ‘glamorous chic’ fashion statement. Markedly, the second edition of IIFW concluded recently in Mumbai (Maharashtra) not only brought forth the newest, innovative and bold intimate, beach and bridal lingerie styles by notable Indian and international brands and designers – the fashion spectacle also went on to shatter a few myths and taboos along the way.
Apparel Resources scoops some key highlights and break-away trends showcased at IIFW 2018 and finds out how Intimate Fashion in India is evolving beyond the regular trends…
A Blend of Sass ‘N’ Grace
An upbeat fusion of sass and grace descended on the IIFW 2.0 runway when the stylish models strutted in home-bred premium intimate wear brand La Intimo’s beachwear collection – an interplay of fun and peppy prints.
“We try to shell out the best to the audience that looks forward to spending some good moments when it comes to exotic or erotic times. At IIFW this year, we mainly focussed on the beachwear segment. Criss-cross cuts, stylish necks, backs, classy strings; our collection was mainly youth-centric,” says La Intimo Managing Director Yogesh Mittal.
The brand’s showcase included four themes viz., the Jail, the Punk, the Beachwear and the Midnight Believer. The jail theme symbolises personification of possession, dominance and command where trendy cuts and halters are key design elements, while the punk theme strives to bring creativity to life by blending debonair and graceful.
For those who are game for sand and sun fun, La Intimo crafted the exquisite fashion lingerie for beach, resort, cruise and destination wear fashion. Bright hues, floral prints, soothing patterns are the highlights of the sequence. Lastly, the Midnight Believer theme, tailored with a unique touch of perfection, is a combo of bold and oomph.
The Old-World Charm
Clothes allow us to relive the fashion of eras gone by. The fashion design students of INIFD Bandra presented two resort wear collections at IIFW ’18 – ‘Mystical Egypt’ and ‘Glory of Greece’.
The Mystical Egypt collection encapsulates the opulent, the mysterious and enchanting ancient Egypt. It recreates the grandeur and mysteries of Egypt with a striking use of gold sustained by the base colours like royal blue and black. Each garment is crafted with intricate hand-painted details inspired by traditional Egyptian motifs like the hieroglyphics and prominent pharaoh images.
INIFD Bandra students’ second collection Glory of Greece exhibited the decorous, elegant fashion of ancient Greece. It captures delicate yet prolific Greek elements, utilising a broad array of traditional drapes and motifs like the Meandros where a decorative border was constructed from a continuous line, shaped into a repeated motif. The garments depicted the evergreen white with subtle drapes and motifs from the era.
Referring to intimate fashion, INIFD Bandra Centre Director Vivek Dhawan states, “Something that’s very close to the beautiful body that God gave everyone must be spoken of and displayed fashionably. INIFD Bandra’s collections exhibited at IIFW were inspired by Ancient Egypt and Ancient Greece, a new foray into making resort wear very classic and chic.”
Khadi Is ‘In’ Thing
Nowadays, Khadi, the classic Indian fabric, has become a cynosure of designers across genres – ethnic as well as western wear. IIFW witnessed yet another interpretation of this amazing fabric in ‘Khadinarra’, an exclusive resort wear collection by designer Rashmi Solanki under her label, Rudra.
The range mainly comprised jackets, shirts, skirts, shorts and bralets. Modern designs, appealing cuts and patterns make the garments ideal for wearing to a corporate gathering or a wedding by the beach.
A combination of Khadi, the collection is crafted using varied Khadi fabric textures and colour combinations. Khadi is quite versatile and can be worn in summers as well as winters. Interestingly, the fabric is procured from different Khadi Gram Udyog(s) and every sample is distinct much like human fingerprints.
Further, the use of vegetable dyed Khadi cotton and Khadi silk, buttons made of coconut shells and nominal use of plastic only for zippers makes Khadinarra eco-friendly as well.
“Khadi continues to be exceptional in many ways for me as the world moves towards industrial and fast-fashion. It’s the fabric of freedom that continues to generate earnings for the poor, particularly women who contribute to 70 per cent of khadi artisans,” Solanki avers.
The Bridal Chic
Unlike the coy bride of yore, today’s self-assured and style-savvy Indian woman is rather outspoken and discerning about her wedding trousseau and trendy lingerie is an indispensable part of her bridal chest.
The internationally-acclaimed Filipino fashion designer Jef Albea’s line of bridal lingerie range exhibited for the first time in India at IIFW brought forth some enticing options for the new-age brides. The exhibits also included beautiful and elegant bridal gowns.
Designer’s bridal wear featured sophisticated designs that commemorate the vibrant craftsmen of Asia. Art inspired by patterns seen on earth combined with the techniques with seamless implementation exude a rich and contemporary vibe.
Importantly, the collection is aimed at providing a sensual yet classy look. In the words of Albea, an intimate wear must transport the meticulous eye into a realm so vast, rich and seductive. Unmistakably dramatic, his intimate wear range imbibes elegance and chic – it’s revealing yet gorgeously decent.
This year’s IIFW also became an occasion to foster ‘Body-positivity’ and celebrate beauty in all shapes, sizes and colours. A high point of the event came with India’s only plus-size transgender model Mona Varonica Campbell turning showstopper for newcomer plus-size designer lingerie brand, Melons India – debunking many a beauty myths.
“Size is just a number. One can appear sexy in any shape and size; all comes down to how much one believes in it,” Campbell underscored.
According to the brand Founder Varnika Sharma, Melons has been exclusively designed to cater curvy and plus-size Indian girls and women. “Our ethos is ‘every body is a perfect figure’ and our designers have created products to suit curvy Indian women body type keeping in mind the fabrics, cuts and styling,” she apprises.
In its first set of the product line, the brand brings in plus-size bras and panties right from basic designs to floral, urban range. Melons, the Founder believes, is going to be the foremost choice for the curvy girls and women when it comes to comfort, international standard styling and even pricing.
A ‘TABOO’ No More
Indians are progressively embracing the idea of intimate fashion; however, there are yet many dogmas and taboos associated with intimate wear as it continues to be publicly unmentionable even today.
Not limiting itself to the usual razzmatazz, IIFW, as well, extended a sincere platform to ‘Boo the Taboo movement’ by hosting a pioneering panel dialogue on ‘The Intimate Debate’ that highlighted the ‘Significance of Lingerie and Intimate wear’, the ‘Taboo’ deeply rooted in Indian psyche, and the ‘Future of Intimate Fashion’ in India.
Hong Kong-based fashion accessory designer Mona Shroff – who showcased her high-end jewellery collection ‘Rio Carnival’ in association with internationally-renowned fashion designer Rajiv Mehta – commented, “It’s heartening to see that India has now got a platform in IIFW which talks about a Taboo-free India.”
Emphasising that good innerwear is the key to inner confidence; Rudra’s Rashmi Solanki stressed on the need to do away with social stigma related with it. The subject, as per her, should be freely discussed because it’s not just about curves and sexiness but health and hygiene as well.
Significantly, the youth is leading the much-needed change in societal attitudes as La Intimo’s Yogesh Mittal sums up, “Millenials are self-assured about their individual body images and don’t settle on the product quality or style. They are confident and willing to experiment with their styles and intimate choices.”
Bridging The Market Gap
Intimate fashion lacks in India, feels IIFW Founder and Ideator Niraj Jawanjal. “We are striving to help Indians overcome the shyness and also enhance awareness and acceptance towards intimate fashion,” he describes.
This year’s edition, he shared, brought together veteran industry experts, business and trade honchos and e-commerce experts from the Indian and international fashion industry. It provided a platform to known and budding brands and designers from across segments viz., lingerie, lounge and sleep wear, lingerie accessories, men’s innerwear, intimate products and so more.
IIFW, Jawanjal avers, is building a bridge to fulfil the need gap of intimate fashion in the country’s fashion space. The objective is to create an influential platform for the intimate apparel industry in India, which is till-nascent as compared to many other international markets.”
“The second season endeavoured to establish that intimate fashion defines comfort and confidence,” adds Amit Pandey, Associate Partner of IIFW, anticipating that the next edition would lead to the exploration of many more possibilities in this space, as intimate apparel is one of the biggest markets yet still unexplored in India.