Indian fashion designer Varun Bahl Image Credit: GULFNEWS ARCHIVE

Varun Bahl returns to India Couture Week, taking place in New Delhi from July 20-24, with a show on July 23.

His show last year was spectacular; this year, he tells tabloid!, he will be reinventing traditional Indian styles for the modern woman. What does that mean? Hear it from the man himself.

What is the theme of your couture line this year?

We have renewed our commitment to reinventing traditional Indian silhouettes for the contemporary woman with our India Couture Week 2016 collection and are showing almost 50 looks. Delicate floral motifs make a prominent appearance in the entire collection, with sophisticated colours, textures and patterns mixed with the intricate craftsmanship that our brand is well known for. Dainty vintage inspirations meet opulent baroque influences in this line, which has a hint of tropical motifs as well. The colour palette is versatile and varied, and imitates a bouquet of flowers.

Is there a celebrity walking for your show?

I feel a celebrity showstopper is not essential to a successful show, but I’m not averse to the idea either if it suits the concept of the collection. For this couture week, though, you’ll have to wait and see.

What is the most challenging aspect of doing a couture show?

The modern Indian consumer is evolving. She is well aware, has ample global exposure, and is extremely quality-conscious. She is also one on the lookout for designs that seamlessly marry Indian heritage with an international sensibility. The real challenge is to appeal to her nuanced tastes. Another imposing challenge is to stay true to the craft in the face of growing commercialisation.

You are largely known for your couture and bridal lines. Do you think bridal and couture are clearly demarcated in India?

One can’t deny that the focus of the couture market in India is largely on bridal pieces — they are considered two sides of the same coin. That’s mainly because the wedding market in the country is one that cannot be ignored. Moreover, since couture is associated with hefty price tags, people are more likely to purchase them for wedding festivities. While the trend of considering couture and bridal as synonymous is changing, it will take a while before the two are clearly distinguished. As a brand, we’ve been paving the way for couture to be embraced as part of one’s daily wardrobe since the very beginning.

What is the most repeated request for a couture VB outfit?

There are many actually, like our sari-gown, our farshi-palazzo with a couture tunic, our anarkalis and of course, our haute couture saris.

— Rubina A Khan is an Indian journalist and photographer.