TRENDS The sweatshirt emerged as a silhouette to watch out for at the recently-concluded WIFW

That sportswear is a prerogative of sportswear companies is a myth long dismissed. While sportswear has been part of brand DNA with designers like Stella McCartney, the trend towards a more relaxed, away-from-the-body aesthetic has been adopted by several labels over the last few years.

The sweatshirt here has emerged a willing blank canvas, capable of absorbing a range of materials and surface details that differentiate one fashion house from another while lending them a casual vibe. The Fall/ Winter 2013-shows that concluded recently have been a good example; Tom Ford (sequinned, monochrome), Reed Krakoff (animal print) and Ashish in London, Milly by Michele Smith, John Richmond (sweatshirt-inspired fur jackets), DKNY and Rebecca Taylor in New York, Antonio Marras in Milan, and Elie Saab (surprisingly), Chanel, Chloe and Kenzo in Paris had their own luxe versions of the sweatshirt. The recently concluded Wills Lifestyle India Fashion Week in New Delhi saw two prominent labels, Manish Arora and Namrata Joshipura, presenting their take on the sporty silhouette.

Manish Arora’s finale show was inspired by his visit to Burning Man in Nevada. With a slideshow of photographs taken at Burning Man rolling on the giant screen, Hilight Tribe playing away on the side, and a mirror-shine ramp that brought to mind desert mirages, models presented lots of silhouettes that ranged from knee-length dresses to pencil skirts, peplum dresses, floor-length fan-pleat dresses, and fur coats. Sweatshirts were recurring pieces. Cumulus-print sweatshirts with neon highlights that came in the first sequence were paired with dresses in matching prints, and contrasting monochrome pieces with fox fur gilets. (There were also monochrome versions paired with cloud print pencil skirts.) As the collection progressed towards a darker evening palette, there were lurex sweaters with all-over embellishment and neoprene sweatshirts with sequin-embellished fronts and sleeves.

Namrata Joshipura, in her collection “Wings of Desire”, sought to incorporate materials like polytex, neoprene and glazed micro-fabric in a line that features the label’s signature sequin embroidery. Here, the sweatshirt came in the form of a polytex raglan-sleeve one that came paired with a red skirt, a black textured neoprene sweatshirt worn over textured “angel wing” pants, leather sweatshirt worn with a circular skirt, and another in neoprene (worn over grey embroidered shorts).

There was also the ribbed cuff dress that referenced the cuffs of a sweatshirt.

Coming seasons are very likely to see more variants from other designers.

SHALINI SHAH

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