At first it was just Ensemble, the high-end fashion store that opened in 1987. It set the foundation and put India on the fashion map, Everyone wanted to emulate Tarun Tahiliani and the late Rohit Khosla's brain child.
After that the fashion scene snowballed as haute stores like Glitterati, Melange, Arreesa and the Designer Studio pushed Indian fashion into the forefront. Designer labels by pioneers in the business like Abu Jani, Sandeep Khosla, Shahab Durazi, Pallavi and Bhairavi Jaikishan, Krishna Mehta, Suneet Varma, Wendell Rodricks, Ravi Bajaj, Rohit Bal, Ritu Kumar, Ritu Beri, J J Valaya and many more set the look for the decades to follow.
Mom and pop stores like Sheetal and Roopam went in for a major face lift. The former brought in Australian trained Hemant Trevedi as design head, while the latter roped in and introduced Rocky S. Even busy Premsons the family store on Warden Road, known as Mumbai's Rodeo Drive added Eternia an up market section in 1993 filled with designer names and the first Shoppers Stop opened in 1994 putting the multi brand stores firmly onto the fashion scene.
With the opening of the Indian economy in the 90s and the foreign label invasion, Indians turn into brand and label junkies. Pepe, Wrangler, Levi's, Louis Vuitton, Versace, Gucci, Jimmy Choo, Burberry, Zegna, Pal Zileri, Max Mara, Triumph, La Senza, Mango, Promod, the list is endless. Zandra Rhodes, Lecoanet Hemant and Pierre Cardin came and went, Chanel replaced the sari on the Red Carpet.
Bollywood drove fashion as a new brash set of designers and styles set trends for the masses to follow. Manish Malhotra, Neeta Lulla, Narula and Sabyasachi Mukherjee were the norm. Jackets became a part of the Indian woman's wardrobe thanks to Shahab Durazi and Ravi Bajaj. Power dressing was the buzz word for both men and women as the latter climbed up the corporate ladder.
The body conscious fitness boom that started in the mid 80s had people running, jogging or sweating it out in gyms as lycra, jersey, knits and sportswear turned into causal and outer wear. The sari turned into a designer's favourite as multi fabrics and colours along with embroidery made this 6-yard wonder make a fashion statement in the New Age and its accompanying choli was reduced to a bikini top with the most seductive styling.