When it comes to designing a collection, either pattern making or detailed styling are the two critical features that define a garment’s distinctiveness. However, the coming season is all about statement sleeves which are an upshot of innovative intricacy and craftsmanship that has taken the season by storm. Many designers were witnessed scooping in new-fangled sleeve patterns like voluminous, frilled, ruffled, leg-o-mutton, bell and long, all in an advanced manner which are making a statement in their garments. From international runways dropping hints of the most alluring sleeve patterns, Indian exporters have got the shine and elbow room to flatter the world with their unorthodox sleeve patterns in the approaching season.
If 2016 was all about the shoulders, 2017 is going to be all about the sleeves. Traditionally, sleeves were only looked upon as a part of a garment which covers the arms, but is now referred to as arm wear. Indeed, the detailing has come a long way and now forms a major element in inducing character to a piece of clothing. For each garment worn above the waist, the arm design becomes even more crucial and a focus element. Most of the time sleeves have mostly stayed cap, mega or full, but with the revival of ’90s and drawing inspiration from many analogous movements, variegated sleeves have emerged as optional plucks!
For S/S ’17 this time, the runways did not talk about subtle batwings or simple dolmans, either, it was all the way about tops and dresses with sleeves of the statement-making, full-volume, fluted variety. Puffed sleeves are voluminous versions of cap, mega or peasant sleeves. These sleeves are extremely versatile whether it comes to that flouncy wave or that pretty swell on the fabric creating dynamic bounces. Simone Rocha, Emilia Wickstead, Ashley Williams and many others provided perfect examples of how to execute these intricate details. These sleeves can accentuate a tiny waist or willowy frame by drawing the eye upward conveying a sense of confidence.
’90s Bell Sleeves
In previous seasons, bell sleeves were typically seen on the wrists and made for oversized sleeves which completely covered the wearers’ hands, however for S/S ’17 the structure starts higher up on the arm. What is great about the reinvention of bell sleeves is that given the fact that they are closer to the top part of the arms, they are a practical and yet trend-driven wearable daytime look. Over at Burberry ribbed knitwear reigned supreme whereas David Koma took this style one step further and combined bell sleeves with off-the-shoulder dresses, creating a hybrid of two major styles. There is something rather architectural about bell sleeves, adding an element of drama to a look by taking on a sculptural form. The full-on volume of the sleeves means that one can keep the rest of the outfit fairly classic and balance out proportions by styling with a pair of cropped flares or an asymmetric midi skirt.
Centrepiece to the international designers S/S ’17 were colossal hoodies and sweaters which had military-style netting attached to their extra-long sleeves. These sleeves were another big style of the two colliding seasons – Summer and Autumn. It’s an on style silhouette for knitwear and jersey knit tops where these long sleeves are created with knitted fringes as seen in the collections of DKNY and Miller. The more mass market suitable version of these sleeves appeal to heavy arms, since they disguise them to look slimmer and longer which proves them to be a perfect example of form follows function.
Revised Leg O Mutton
Sleeves were definitely on Paulo Almeida and Marta Marques’ minds this season, where leg o mutton sleeves reigned big time. These sleeves were drafted in a full and extra-puffed style sometimes on the shoulder to elbow and then tightly fitted from elbow to wrist. There were interesting versions of leg o mutton sleeves where the sleeves instead of clinging on the shoulders dropped off, all together creating a different arm detail. Almeida had a distinctive connotation, where the sleeves instead of getting slim along the fore arms stayed loose in draped manner.
Mammoth Tiered Frills
With fabric manipulation taking the season like never before, sleeves were also fabricated densely. With designers like Chanel and Preen along with others known for the fabric manipulation and innovative skills of pattern making brought full raw edged ruffles and mammoth sized frills on the sleeves. The sleeves looked like a horse neck where the ruffles and frills rested like the mane of a horse. The manes were crafted through techniques of pin tucking, gathering and quilting with ruffle foot or by single or double basting stitches gathered by hand or machine providing a perfect sense to more cozy and voluminous sleeves for Summer-Winter season.
What does the industry think of the trend…?
Megha Singhal, Designer, Dexter Apparels
Since the last one year there has been a remarkable growth in the changing frequency of styles. However, statement sleeves are definitely making a mark and are staying for a long period of time. With the trends embracing volume, we too have gone voluminous with our sleeves, which are also our buyers’ demand. We have added a lot of laces in our sleeves and abated panelling them this time. Talking on the volume, unlike the leg o mutton sleeves we have huge puffed extending from shoulders till the biceps which gets tapered and tight on the forearms and cuffs.
Jitendra Kaushal, Owner, JK Overseas
We have decorated our kaftan sleeves with crochet and schiffli embroideries. For resort wear there are very less options of trying different sleeves, but for the pieces with sleeves we have used breezy dense frills and ruffles, be it tunics, jumpsuits or tops. These dense ruffles bring a very springy floral feeling which best suits our latest theme.
Vidhu Mehtani, President, Mehtani Garments
Since our collection is all about ethnic wear, we have not experimented much with the sleeves. However, we do some contemporary bridal pieces too. We have witnessed the sleeves getting exaggerated and have incorporated the same inspiration in the contemporary clothing. Some pretty puffs on the blouses but they are not that exaggerated. However, there are capes with long sleeves divided with slits and kimono bells sleeves which are crafted with different types on embroideries which is our forte.
Devraj Bhatra, Director, Bhatra Exports International
Puff sleeves in the leg o mutton pattern and bell sleeves have re-emerged in the runways and have high chances of being carried forward in the coming seasons. My product development team is already looking forward to these options and has inquiries coming for the same from buyers around the globe.
Kapil Sadh, Director, Roop Apparels Exim
Sleeves are definitely taking the season by storm. With a lot of experimentation in terms of volume and length, there has been a lot of experimentation in terms of symmetry too. Like the arms have gone way too asymmetrical with up-down patterns on body fitted tops and dresses. With these statement sleeves, the look of the overall dress becomes very much discrete.