When designing clothing for fall, designers as well as exporters try and create surface ornamentations which are not very heavy looking, minimal in nature and still make the garment look unique and value-added. And the biggest surface ornamentation trend for 2016 is ‘waves’. Exploited through an array of techniques like, printing, embroidery, fabric manipulation and quilting, waves are literally creating ‘waves’ not only on the runways but are ready to take the retail sector by ‘storm’ as well. With exporters making a conscious effort of producing value-added products in line with buyers’ requirements, wavy contours seem to be the attention-grabbing value addition of the season…
Waves achieved either through print manipulations, creating undulated tucks, irregular stitching methods or through varied pleating methods, have found its way into the product development process of many garment export units. Waves as an element find roots from the ‘under the sea’ influence of last year. Getting magnified this season in the form of wavy surfaces on fabric, silhouettes and prints, designers on the pre-fall 2016 runways were seen embracing this under-sea element in full force.
Tibi’s idea of waves was through dropping in hints of not so feminine ruffles into their tough collection. Tibi, a New York-based advanced contemporary womenswear and accessories brand founded in 1997 by Amy Smilovic thought about what was missing in their wardrobes, and using the rich shades of brown; stronger shoulders; and quirky, not girly, ruffles created waves on the runway. Ruffles were also the main showstopper at Norma Kamali as well, infusing sporty ethos with a sensual femininity. Done in red, black and white, Kamali’s leggings, skirts, mini-dresses, floaty off-the-shoulder tops and swimwear came in tiered ruffled layers. Imbuing graphic interest, some digital prints brought out the feeling of 3D ocean cover, on jersey sleeveless jumpsuits and reversible blazers.
On the other hand, Mary Katrantzou excelled at print and embellishment and double-face cashmere. In one-piece and two-piece styles, getting inspired from the ’60s sci-fi movies and books by Isaac Asimov and Philip K. Dick, the designer produced embroidered, mixed-print dresses with undulated waves in a mix of tucks and prints. The overlay of 2D and 3D created the perfect illusion of wavy surface. Providing a bright range of digital prints, drawing inspiration from oriental kimono artworks and curvilinear shapes reminiscent of paper folding, Katrantzou inculcated a wide range of printing and fabric manipulation techniques in the same collections giving in varied ideas for inspiration and interpretation of waves.
The pre-fall ’16 collections witnessed multiple interpretations of the classic pleating technique in amalgamation with arty twists, folds and curves among other ocular techniques. Emerging from a structured and buckled waist, pleats fell out on one side of the calf-length skirts forming, what is called as the double skirt at ALC. An assembly of heat set creases were elegantly put together in separates and dresses by Paule Ka and Cushnie et Ochs. Whereas, a series of knife and accordion pleats – a favoured technique for the season – were elegantly laid on leather and panelled skirts, short flowy dresses and knitted versions by the likes of Givenchy, Ohne Titel, Temperley London and Veronique Branquinho.
Fabric manipulation for creating waves includes various techniques which produce a 3-dimensional surface on the garment, and is not just restricted to techniques like gathering, pleating, smocking and wrinkling of the fabric. Rajesh Kumat, Director, Ganga Exports Pvt. Ltd., exporter of readymade garments said, “Heat set effects on polyesters chiffons, ruffled nylon stripes on skirts and tops, wrinkled knit long cardigans, smocked knit sweaters, pintucks garnished over the entire silhouette, double controlled ruffled pleats on skirts and undulated tucks on blouses and shirts pinpoint to the forever building approach towards creating fluid textures and structures with a rich look.”
Techniques like the beaded diamond smocking are used for creating glittery but flexible surfaces. As already seen on ample runways, fluidity is a must for this season. Mostly used in skirts, different sequins run on top of the smocking whereas the base thread runs on the opposite, generating an attractive surface with beaded effect, creating rippling effects. Simple cable stitches, stem stitches, wave stitches, honeycomb stitches, trellis stitches and bullion stitches are giving the wave creation a further scope of expanding. Uneet Chhabra, Director, U & I Exports Pvt. Ltd. said, “We are creating fluidic lines and wavy structures through beading and hand painting. In non-silk we are using polyester-based fabrics, viscose-based fabrics, mixed blends and knitted fabrics which give us the liberty to create texture using heat setting.”
The translation of this ocean-inspired wave effect led many interesting things to happen. Inder Mohan Bhambri, Director, Srigan Exports, explaining about the effect said, “Be it by coral and seashell motifs patch worked on to black mesh trousers and shifts; sea surfs printed on to diaphanous trench coats and asymmetric shifts; or clams appliquéd on to a chiffon top and full-sleeve ivory dress, waves are huge this season. Knitted fluidic motif creations and crocheted waves formations, recreate the dreamy aesthetics of the sea.” For instance, the coral red sequined shift layered over a longer off-white lace dress at Pucci or 3D waves embroidered on the bralet-skirt combination at Fusto Puglisi depicted different ways the sea could be brought to life in the world of fashion.
Surface ornamentation has always been India’s strength and with the global fashion scene looking for eye-catchers, product development teams are busy developing innovative techniques for that one exclusive ‘look’ that creates the wow factor. Loveleen Dubey, Designer, Bittoo Overseas says, “With overdose of conventional embroidery and printing techniques for value addition, fabric manufacturers and garment exporters have started to experiment within the fabric to create a plethora of textures using techniques which are easily available in-house to induce freshness in surface ornamentation.” And the creation of wavy textures points towards exactly the same thing.