The first day of the 10th edition of the India Couture Week had decadence written all over it. After Anamika Khanna’s inaugural installation show, Rohit Bal made models, and some of his friends, walk the ramp in his regalia inspired designs. While the diaphanous gowns and skirts paired with intricately embroidered jackets and capes spelled Bal’s characteristic proclivity for grandeur, the mischievous “Gudda,” as he’s known among his large bevy of friends, asserted himself too. Ladies and gentlemen, Bal has unveiled his brand-new motif – it’s a COCK!
Bal’s show started with monochrome ensembles that successfully tricked the attendees. As the whites and beiges gave way to the maroons, greens and blues, everyone gasped. Bal has, once again, put on display his love for rich fabrics like pure silk, brocade and linens. He paired plain gathered skirts with richly embroidered jackets in matching and contrasting shades. Both worked.
In terms of embroidery, there was a neat blend of the gold-silver decadence and feisty Parsi style thread-work.
The high point of Bal’s collection was the innovation in terms of cuts. Some of his jackets and blouses, inspired by quilted garments from Rajasthan, had unending yet neatly crafted sleeves. The simplicity of fabric highlighted this virtuosity that matched the layered-look of the season.
Bal’s sarees failed to impress, in terms of both colour and design.
They looked like the crystal studded monstrosities on display everywhere from Chandni Chowk to the fancy malls, that make you lose faith in Indian craftsmanship. Unless it’s Gudda’s cheeky way of drawing attention towards intellectual property rights, stolen designs et al, the saree remained blah.
Along with the jaunty cock motif, Bal drew on the Mughal painting style to add richness to his white jackets for men. The courtly motifs were neatly executed, reminding everyone that Bal’s creations are all about opulence and majesty.
Bal is also about drama and sass. From FDCI director Sunil Sethi to designer Raghavendra Rathore, Rekha Purie, Shalini Passi and other known faces in the New Delhi style circuit, ‘Bal and Friends’ managed to generate excitement among the attendees, that included designers JJ Valaya, Rajesh Pratap Singh, Masaba and Manav Gangwani.
When actor Arjun Rampal walked the ramp in an elegant bandhgala, the hall in the newly revamped Bikaner House let out a collective sigh. Bal chose his most understated ensemble for Rampal to ensure there was no cannibalisation of charm. Veteran supermodel Noyonika Chatterjee also deserves a mention for her stately presence on the ramp.
Bal’s designs were rich, elegant, sometimes Swarovski-studded but all utterly wearable, especially in the upcoming months when the heat and sweat gives way to breeze and mist. In this ode to himself, he managed to pull a good design game.
Enough of Bal’s lotuses and peacocks, the symbols of Indian national pride, let this cock rule the roost now.