What has the mercury rising in style's thermometer? T. Krithika Reddy talks to designers about summer's blueprint for success

It's time to pack up those spotlight-grabbing sequins and silhouettes that celebrate exaggerated volume. Summer is about simplicity. It's about upgrading those throw-it-on-and-go warm-weather staples with a shot of urban attitude. As the mercury soars, style unequivocally means one thing — wearability.

“Hot, colourful and full of life,” is how designer Krishna Mehta describes the season. “No matter what you are doing — Indian, Western or Indo-Western, the cuts have to be simple. To me, long, lean and elegant are the buzzwords.”

Designer Anita Dongre who treads the tricky line between exclusivity and masstige, lists the key trends for a searing summer. “Flowing maxis, knee-length Fifties-style dresses, graphic pants and tunic dresses are in. Broad, colourful stripes and multi-tone cacophonous prints add cheer to the summer wardrobe.”

Though summer is about lightness and effortlessness, designers hardly scrimp on the detail. So whether it is a thigh-skimming sheath or a demure peasant-style maxi dress, you can't miss the subtle workmanship on necklines and hemlines. “A gentle touch is all it takes to transform a dress from simple to stunning,” adds Mehta.

Natural is in

Talk about fabrics, and “natural” is the chorus. “Linen is emerging as a cool option. And there is always cotton that's synonymous with summer. Viscose georgettes are for the evenings — they breathe equally well,” says Mehta. Designer James Ferreira who insists on experiments is clear about his summer fling, “Organic is the way to go. A lot of organic yardage is now available in the market. Interesting fabrics are woven from bamboo, pineapple, etc. They add a new dimension to the cool quotient.” Soft Indian textiles used for Western silhouettes is another trend fashionistas are tracking.

When designers unveiled their summer stories, a ubiquitous element across the ramps was floral prints. Ever since Julie Andrews draped the kids in Baron von Trapp's brocade curtains, fashion has been climbing the walls for inspiration. And this summer, designers are reaching unimaginable heights! Wallpaper blooms that make you blush are all out to perk up the style scene in a season when buds are coaxed to bloom. “Florals are really big this season. The thing about floral prints is they add a dash of romance and make even simply cut dresses seem dramatic,” say design duo Shivan and Narresh. Florals also add to the femininity factor. “Summer dressing is definitely feminine.”

When the debate veers towards silhouettes, designer Rehane is clear. “It's the season to chill out. Easy, unstructured clothes that don't make you feel constricted figure in summer's blueprint for success.”

Palazzo pants

“High-waist palazzo trousers are really haute. They are relaxed and cut away from the body and so work well for summer. You don't break a sweat in these,” explain Shivan and Narresh.

Says Shilpee, designer for Globus' in-house brand, “Sensuality and movement are expressed in airy fabrics that flutter and drift. The ethos of less is more is followed through in wonderfully pared-down garments that are minimal — but never severe. In my opinion, the tunic remains a centrepiece this season with hemlines rising and falling. Comfort dictates the extra generous cuts. Pyjama pants and slouchy duster coats are easy and cool. Garments are either popped over the head or thrown over the body — there's not much tailoring this season.”

Talk about colours that will liven up the fashion circuit, and Dongre says, “Mint green is big this season. Pastels are definitely integral to warm weather. Neon, yellow and orange are the other colours that will hold sway as the temperature rises. To Ferreira, “White is a winner in summer. So are bright reds and shocking pinks.”

Cutting our long hot, hotter, hottest summer story short, Mehta says, “Comfort comes first. The key to success is not to overdo. There are prints, patterns and colours to make a summer dress look busy. So don't throw in too many elements. And when it comes to accessories, use them judiciously to dress up a white creation or dress down a colour-drenched outfit.”

EXCESS-ORIES

Accessories that work this season:

Sunglasses with statement-making rims

Long necklaces

Over-sized watches

Big and colourful fun bags and chic belt bags

Colour block wedges and kitten heels

What’s haute?

FIRE AND ICE While sizzling reds and flaming orange are big this season, it's also time to think cool pastels, white, butterscotch and shades of the sea. The green family – particularly mint – is super fresh.

LACE-D WITH ROMANCE Lace and crochet add that much-needed femininity and romance to summer dressing. They've been spotted in global fashion capitals. Hit the delicate route to design.

ALL FLARED UP Palazzo pants are a fashion victor this summer. They are high-waist and fall elegantly in gentle swirls. Think Katherine Hepburn chic.

PATTERN PLAY Clothes look busy this time round with chaotic patterns grabbing eyeballs. From quirky to bold and big, patterns do the trick in perking up the warm-weather wardrobe.

THE PEP SQUAD The vintage peplum has made a huge comeback in the fashion scene. The ruffle that gives accent to the waist is being used smartly in dresses and even jackets!

BLOCK PARTY Colour blocking continues to hold sway in the fashion scene. In fact, it's not just limited to clothes. The dynamic trend of using huge blocks of different colours in the same creation has hit the accessory market too. Bags and shoes are now scene stealers with vivid chunks of colour.

MIDI'S MAX EFFECT Yes, they are back. Lady gaga made them popular during her world tour. The fashion fraternity was quick to follow suit. If you are a fame monster or a simple girl-about-town, midis are a perfect summer recipe.

DRESS UP Sheaths and peasant-style maxi dresses take a cool stroll out this season.

FIRE AND ICE While sizzling reds and flaming orange are big this season, it's also time to think cool pastels, white, butterscotch and shades of the sea. The green family — particularly mint — is super fresh.

LACE-D WITH ROMANCE Lace and crochet add that much-needed femininity and romance to summer dressing. They've been spotted in global fashion capitals. Hit the delicate route to design.

ALL FLARED UP Palazzo pants are a fashion victor this summer. They are high-waist and fall elegantly in gentle swirls. Think Katherine Hepburn chic.

PATTERN PLAY Clothes look busy this time round with chaotic patterns grabbing eyeballs. From quirky to bold and big, patterns do the trick when it comes to perking up the warm-weather wardrobe.

THE PEP SQUAD The vintage peplum has made a huge comeback in the fashion scene. The ruffle that gives accent to the waist is being used smartly in dresses and even jackets!

BLOCK PARTY Colour blocking continues to hold sway in the fashion scene. In fact, it's not just limited to clothes. The dynamic trend of using huge blocks of different colours in the same creation has hit the accessory market too. Bags and shoes are now scene stealers with vivid chunks of colour.

MIDI'S MAX EFFECT Yes, they are back. Lady gaga made them popular during her world tour. The fashion fraternity was quick to follow suit. If you are a fame monster or a simple girl-about-town, midis are a perfect summer recipe.

DRESS UP Sheaths and peasant-style maxi dresses take a cool stroll out this season.

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Krithika ReddyMay 11, 2012