CLIENTS would walk into designer Suneet Varma’s store and ask, “Do you have any gowns?” Until a few weeks ago, the answer would be no, for the youthful designer does evening gowns and wedding dresses only for a lucky few. All that has changed, with the launch of Varma’s first western wear collection — Dream Couture. The line offers both formal and evening wear and this season, the collection features 35 gowns in chiffon and silk taffeta.
Age of gowns
“Indianised western looks have previously featured in my collection like off-shoulder, floor length anarkalis which resemble gowns and have interesting back details. I realised fabrics like georgette wouldn’t do justice to the western collection I intended to create. Materials like net fabric and two tone chiffon were brought in from Italy,” says the Delhi -based designer, who is also a sought-after collaborator. He was among a select few to be invited to design the interiors for the BMW 7 series back in 2012, has worked with Judith Leiber and now, the dinnerware brand, Arttd’inox.But back to his dresses – in cobalt blue, lime green and textured silk knits, they took four months to create. Details like large bows, cliched waist bands and beaded tassels add to the dramatic element.
The 70s were about trousers, but this age could be about gowns, the designer, 51, suggests. “I recently attended a full-on Punjabi sangeet in Delhi. More than half the crowd under 35 were dressed in gowns. It is making appearances on the red carpet as well. The gown has definitely arrived. I also feel it is less cumbersome to wear a gown when compared to a sari or lehanga, which are two or three-piece garments.” He also points out that the large 60-inch flare in his gowns are different from the regular 45-inch and have a grand circular pattern. The appliqué which features in the gowns has gold lace with a sprinkle of Swarovski crystals.
January will see Varma coming out with his dinnerware and kitchenware collection for Arttd’inox, the designing arm of Jindal Steel. He attributes these forays to his curiosity for design. Even a box could get his mind thinking about how it operates. “For Arttd’inox I wanted to take the humility of steel and make it premium by dipping it in 24 carat gold or studding it with gemstones from Jaipur,” says the designer who has also collaborated with brands like Calvin Klien and Donna Karan.
This is not going to be his only western wear collection. “The next will be designed in a similar fashion — it too will be young, flirtatious and new looking. What will be different remains to be seen,” he muses.
Dream Couture is available at Suneet Varma’s store from Rs 68,000. Details: 011 46060970
— Seema Rajpal