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Leatherman's forecast

Bags in a range of unconventional colours will explode on the ramp the coming season, predicts Dilip Kapur. HEMANGINI GUPTA listens to the man behind Hidesign



STYLE STATEMENT Dilip Kapur: `You can buy one bag and use it all the time' Photo: Bijoy Ghosh

The fashion conscious might still be revelling in the spring-summer collections showcased at India Fashion Week, but designers and buyers already have their eyes firmly trained on what's ahead - the autumn-winter round-up. And accessories experts already know what colours they will be churning out, what shapes bags will take and even the texture.

What is ahead

Hidesign's founder-president Dilip Kapur says that this season's reds and midnight blues will give way to lighter colours. In addition to the perennial favourites of black and brown for bags, red, pink, orange and blue (an aqua blue which will make way for a sky blue two seasons later) will explode on the ramp and subsequently in stores across the world. Red will also be an `in' colour for men, with honey, a light red, becoming a brave new fashion statement. "It's a safe colour to show you're different," says Kapur, explaining the popularity of red.

Unlike clothes where most trends are only discerned once the season gets underway, bag trends are decided at an international conference 18 months ahead of a new season. Conferences at international fashion hotspots such as Milan decided many months ago, for instance, that red would move from being an "extra colour" to an integral colour even at work, where subtler shades of it can even pass of as formal wear.

Kapur says that these conferences culminate in agreements between designers which are then conveyed to the media and soon similar trends leave a blaze across boutiques. "When the recession hit, women bought lower-priced apparel but more expensive handbags. You can buy one bag and use it all the time," he points out. With the middle class catching on to current bag trends, markets have been flooded with cheap imports, forcing designer houses to emphasise individual craftsmanship to make their mark in a crowded, competitive market.

Along with craftsmanship, women's handbags will embrace the short "grab handle" which goes perfectly with high heels, a look that has been the rage in Europe for some seasons and has quickly caught on in India and the U.S. as well. The look itself is matt, cleaner and not so shiny, a roughed-out leather look.

For men

Men are getting more adventurous as well, says Kapur, enjoying the definite "cross-body" look in bags. And Indian men, known to pedicure and manicure themselves more than they like to admit, are not far behind in these trends. "We are only about three months behind in picking up these trends," says Kapur, pointing out that India is ahead of South Africa and Australia in adopting the casual carefully cultivated metrosexual look. It's like a woman's bag but bigger, says Kapur. It is part of a unisex trend begun in Japan.

Women are sticking to the feminine look with small bags, basic colours and safe shapes, such as square, for work.

"It's important not to be attention grabbing in your accessories for work..

"And there's also the cost factor; women don't want to spend a lot on a bag which will be out of fashion the next season.

Our mantra is `Contemporary but not trendy', which allows people to use their bags more than just the few months of any one season."

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