Fashion has long been considered peak cultural currency. Whether you were enamoured by the feminine charms of balletcore or cosplayed Sofia Richie’s old-money aesthetic, 2023 was rife with zeitgeist-shifting fashion trends. While some such as quiet luxury and Barbiecore made for great and lasting additions to the wardrobe, some fads missed the mark entirely (we’re looking at you, Balenciaga’s towel skirt!). As we embrace the annual ‘New Year, New You’ adage following the end-of-year festivities, we are looking at old and new trends that are set to rule in 2024.
Reimagined Indian silhouettes
2023 saw the sari gain renewed international relevance with Zendaya wearing a Rahul Mishra sari gown and Priyanka Chopra in a gown made from upcycled vintage Benaras saris at the opening of the Nita Mukesh Ambani Cultural Centre, and Naomi Campbell donning a sari-inspired archival Chanel look at the MET Gala. Amit Aggarwal, who crafted Priyanka Chopra’s stunning gown, believes the new year will see a continued exploration of reimagined Indian silhouettes. “I should expect a further modernisation not just of the six-yard drape but of many traditional silhouettes. This isn’t new per se, but I think it will grow in popularity this year,” he says.
Nikhil Mehra, chief design officer and co-founder at Maison Shantnu & Nikhil, anticipates continued innovations will add international appeal to Indian silhouettes, “The fusion of heritage with modern design sensibilities not only caters to a global audience but also revitalises and preserves India’s rich sartorial traditions in a way that resonates with the contemporary world.” S&N by Shantnu Nikhil saw a lineup of sari gowns adding a contemporary touch to Indian bridalwear. “The coming year promises a captivating evolution of other iconic Indian ensembles,” Nikhil says. “Lehengas are expected to transform with a focus on modern cuts, unconventional fabrics, and experimental drapes. Designers may introduce asymmetrical hemlines, unconventional blouse styles, and contemporary embellishments, striking a balance between tradition and avant-garde aesthetics.”
Return to logomania
After a year of loud proclamations about quiet luxury, trends seem to be giving way to the return of logomania with runway collections seeing an increase in logos by 53% since 2021. However, unlike the loud and proud logos stamped across garments in the Noughties, designers are taking a subtler approach this time around. Think tiny Prada triangle plaques on tank tops or Valentino’s V monogram emblazoned across sheer tights. Indian designers are embracing the cleaner trend as well. “We believe that Indian high-street labels are embracing a fusion of traditional motifs and signature style logos, creating a unique aesthetic that resonates with the global trend of logo resurgence,” says Nikhil whose pret-wear label S&N by Shantanu Nikhil saw minimal logo inclusions across the latest collection. “Rather than flashy and conspicuous logos, the emphasis is on incorporating culturally significant symbols and script into the designs,” he says. “This approach is more sophisticated and aligns with the growing demand for personalised and culturally rich fashion statements.”
Catapulted by the messy handbags populating Parisian runways this season, Indie sleaze is enjoying a moment in the spotlight again. The fabulous-yet-messy bags packed with a plethora of the woman’s everyday needs grounds the aesthetic littered with unabashedly chaotic fashion choices such as needless layers, lived-in garments, and grunge influences. Oversized shirts, ripped tights, studded belts, and skinny scarves served alongside a helping of smudged mascara and messy hair can find an interesting home amidst Indian fashion. Says Nikhil, “Incorporating distressed denim jackets over traditional Indian kurtas or layering sheer fabrics with grunge-inspired accessories can create an interesting and balanced look. The key lies in maintaining cultural authenticity while experimenting with the edgier elements of the trend.”
Amit echoes that sentiment while noting that layering will never go out of favour even if indie sleaze eventually does, “There is plenty of scope to reimagine traditional Indian and European costumes, mix and match them and create new looks that serve the ethnic body while being mindful of the climate. Whether with the addition of a cape or a drape, I think that the Indian woman’s aesthetic will be elevated.”
Continued Y2K nostalgia
GenZ’s noughties nostalgia isn’t dissipating anytime soon as designers and it-girls alike continue to borrow from past aesthetics. “As the fashion cycle often revisits past decades, the coming years may see a resurgence of these elements with a contemporary twist,” says Nikhil. While the classics such as crop tops, low-waist pants, and mini skirts will continue to be popular, preppy athletic styling will see a major resurgence.
“Vintage sportswear, characterised by bold logos, much like our line at SNCC, oversized fits, and vibrant colour blocking, could make a comeback,” adds Nikhil. Seen on shows such as Gossip Girl and more recently in Saltburn and across runways including Miu Miu, Louis Vuitton, and Loewe, the aesthetic includes classic button-down shirts, blazers, and crisp trousers.
Accessories also take cues from the past for the coming year. “We will see a revival of ample old-world charm, pieces that will speak of heirloom-like quality and look,” says designer Payal Singhal. “Inspirations will range from Elizabethan and Victorian moods with lace and pearls to the 1920s and 1940s with lots of tassels and fringes.” Payal believes diamond and pearl designs will reign. Vintage embellishments are also primed for infusion in clothing according to Singhal whose recent Fashion in Motion collection featured endless pearls and tassels. “Occasion wear will feature vintage-inspired gota and zardozi embroideries,” she says. Statement vintage pieces are sure to be timeless and hold appeal for generations to come as well.
Put your saccharine pinks away as muted and rich shades take centre stage. While Pantone’s Colour of the Year may have been proclaimed a soft Peach Fuzz, the colour hardly does any favours to Indian skin tones. Spring Summer 2024 runways did away with soft shades for muted charcoal greys, royal blues, deep wines, and dark cherry reds across brands such as Fendi, Loewe, Burberry and Gucci. “I believe that while the past couple of years have seen an explosion of riotous colour to signify a jubilation of spirit after 2020, this coming year will be more sombre,” says Amit, whose recent collection is populated with rich purples and blues.
Death of the microtrends
While the TikTok-ifictaion of fashion may have never truly made it to the real world in full force, we are ringing the death knell on microtrends in 2024. Good taste and personal style are set for a return in 2024. Super-niche trends, while popular on the Internet and often emulated, are finally passe. Whether you are embracing timeless fashion à la Phoebe Philo or experimenting with textures and silhouettes from designers such as Gaurav Gupta and Rimzim Dadu, the new year will be all about good old-fashioned style discernment.