It’s funny how fashion goes from one extreme to the other. In the early 20th century the floor length dresses suddenly moved up in the 1920s to the knees. Then back went the hemline in 1950 below the knee and in the 1960s it shot up as a mini then back in the 70s to the midi and maxi and so on. Silhouettes too went to extremes. In the 80s it was the V shape – broad padded shoulders and narrow hips for women’s jackets to denote power dressing. With the rise in beautiful toned bodies the silhouette has moved to a slim lean look for both men and women’s wear.
Close to the body, highlighting the curves, showing off toned arms, legs and perfect abs, women’s wear has never been leaner and figure hugging. After all if women are sweating it out in gyms lifting weights and running on treadmills for hours, then why hide those perfect curves and so designers are helping by creating sexy tiny fitted clothes.
The most popular option for the lean look is the Bandage dress created by Herve Leger and now inspiring many Indian designers to present their versions. Swapnil Shinde’s spring/summer Resort collection at Lakme Fashion Week had quite a few options to offer. The pencil slim dress is another version that is very popular, while gowns for the Red Carpet look wonderful when they caress the curves of the wearer. Designers Falguni and Shane Peacock have a line of jewel toned long slinky gowns which are favourites with Bollywood beauties. Even Tarun Tahiliani, Manav Gangwani, Raakesh Agarvwal and Suneet Varma offer some glamorous figure hugging gowns that make a striking impact at weddings and film premieres.
For dresses and maxis, cutouts and cutaways work very well for slim silhouettes. Besides making the wearer look sexy these bits of skin show also reveal how fit and toned the wearer is.
Lean also does not mean gowns and dresses but even trousers, blouses and jackets are moving close to the body for men and women. Pants are getting skinny and at times a little short up to the ankles. Shirts and blouses are body hugging in fabrics that cling and the most favoured are jersey and Lycra. The jackets are short and slim for men as well as women’s wear. In fact buying a size smaller than the one needed is very often how women prefer to dress in the 21st century.
On the ethnic front too it is skin tight sheer churidars which are a rage instead of billowy salwars. Although the anarkali long kurtas may work for festive occasions it is the slim long versions with high side slits that the women want. When it comes to the lehenga choli combo the former is a fitted long pencil skirt with just a hint of a flare at the hemline and the choli or blouse is a bustier, corset or clinging halter.
The lean slim look appears to have been approved by women and men and it will take a while for it to move off the fashion charts and turn into the wide ballooning option. So till then at least fashionistas will make sure they are in top shape come what may.