The theme at Van Heusen + GQ India Fashion Nights was clear—men are feeling moody. The opening show set the tone as no-nonsense models skulked to the beat of intensely dark tunes while a video backdrop featured tempestuous rains and rumbling thunder. Menswear designers Shantanu & Nikhil, Van Heusen, Abhishek Paatni & Sahil Aneja, Rohit + Rahul, Rajesh Pratap Singh, Kunal Rawal, and Rohit Bal each presented colourless collections in black, white, and every shade of grey in between. Any inklings of colour were revealed through a few pieces in dusky lavender, rich burgundy, army green, and deep plum.
This all might sound drab, but the collections were anything but dismal. In fact, these were some of the most interesting menswear shows I’ve seen. Long silhouettes appeared in the form of elongated overcoats, knee- and calf-skimming kurtas that were layered over lean trousers, and sleeves that fell far below the hands. Enveloping dhotis also added to these lengthy shapes.
Much like the coinciding monochromatic ensembles, it seemed that the designers also conspired to opt for asymmetrical styles—Fabrics that draped on single shoulders, jackets with off-center closures, angel hems, and bias-cut man-skirts. Symmetry did make an appearance once or twice via repeat patterns, modest grid prints, and geometric embroidery.
In line with the moody vibe was the merging of dualities—Combining the tailored with the draped, and asymmetrical styles embroidered with symmetrical patterns. Gender lines were blurred as sharply tailored jackets emphasizing strong shoulders were embellished with effeminate florals.
The combination of contrasting fabrics—quilted, leather, velvet, suede—ornamented with touchable embroidery produced head-to-toe texture. In addition to these textured compositions were all the details that made the quality and craftsmanship of the high-end styles so outstanding—plackets, pockets, zippers, patches, tabs, and metal embellishments wherever they could be placed.
I’ve always pitied men when it comes to fashion—With so many options to choose from, it seems us women get to have all the fun. However, the Van Heusen + GQ Fashion Nights shows left me wanting to borrow from the boys.
Check out some of my favourite looks from the show: