The oxblood elegance

Temperatures soared when Hollywood siren Megan Fox recently appeared in a curve-hugging burgundy dress for the premiere of her film This is 40 in Los Angeles. Kate Middleton was spotted in a similar hue at the launch of a scholarship programme in east London in October.

Kareena Kapoor looked resplendent in a burgundy  gown at the premiere of Talaash

On the international circuit, designers Jason Wu, Alexander Wang and Peter Som mixed and matched this gorgeous tone of oxblood in their Fall/Winter 2012 collection. Closer home, Bollywood actresses like Kareena Kapoor and Sonam Kapoor along with fashion-savvy college girls are flaunting this shade. So what makes this tone so special?

The anatomy of a colour
The name ‘burgundy’ was coined in 1881 after the Burgundy region in France. It falls in the same colour family of red and is often considered a more intense hue of the colour. But this elegant tone is not new to India. Nachiket Barve, fashion designer confirms, “Burgundy has always been in vogue in our country, what with the colour being a staple at weddings and formal functions. But with new trends, Indian designers are taking it to a different level by exploring more possibilities in contemporary and western wear.”

Apart from designers using the shade extensively in their collections, even high-street stores are stocking their racks with apparel in different hues of garnet. For instance, the VERO MODA store in Santacruz currently stocks special racks of dresses, coats, blazers, blouses and shoes in diverse tones of oxblood. Vineet Gautam, country head, VERO MODA, JACK & JONES and ONLY elaborates, “Burgundy has definitely emerged as the “it” colour this fall. Our fashion forecasters saw this shade dominating the fall fashion scene and we immediately translated this trend onto our shop floor. We have apparels and accessories in all hues of burgundy. This colour is the new black this season.”

In November, actress Penelope Cruz attended the 2013 Campari Calendar unveiling cockail party at Milan in a floor length wine coloured Armani Prive gown. Pic/Getty Images

Custom made for Indians
What makes this shade special is that it suits the Indian wheatish skin tone perfectly. Also, it acts as a saviour to those who are overwhelmed by the fiery reds and purples. James Ferreira, a Mumbai-based veteran fashion designer, agrees. “I love the versatility of the colour. It can glam up even the drabbest outfits. Not only burgundy but all the hues associated with it such as plum and wine suit the Indian skin tone perfectly. Someone who is not comfortable with red can definitely try this hue without being too overwhelmed,” he explains. Anisha Pasricha, a 23 year-old freelance fashion writer, thinks that burgundy has come a long way from just being a popular hair colour. “I think it was about time that people used this gorgeous shade in fashion and beauty rather than just as a hair colour,” she says.

A sophisticated glamour
A dash of oxblood can add a sophisticated yet subtle charm to your overall look. The colour stands out without coming across as too flashy. Ferreira confirms, “Burgundy adds that extra bit of glamour to your outfit. The shade brings out the right pop of colour. In fact, it lends a vintage charm to your overall look.” Jeena Sharma, a 21 year-old student of Bhavan’s College, incorporates a lot of oxblood in her daily wear. “Teaming up a burgundy blazer with a simple pair of jeans adds a dash of colour to your ensemble. I am not someone whose wardrobe is completely driven by trends but this colour is a style statement in itself.” 

A burgundy  outfit by designer Ruchika Sachdeva

Not just women but even men are incorporating this shade in their wardrobe. Yashraj Waghela, a 20 year-old student of Jhunjhunwala College, believes it’s the vivaciousness of the colour that lends a unique charm to the wearer. “Not many men will opt for burgundy jeans or jacket. But a burgundy bowtie on a beige blazer looks sophisticated as well as playful.”

Anaita Shroff Adajania, fashion director, Vogue India, thinks that this wine hue is very wearable. “Burgundy adds a hint of grown up charm to an ensemble. The deep and intense colour spells royalty. Due to its versatility, it can be called the new neutral.”

The Goth beauty
The beauty industry too is charmed by this gorgeous shade. Sonic Sarwate, senior artist, MAC Cosmetics India, states, “This season, a bright mouth is the talk of the town. The complete focus is on lips with the colour palette ranging from red to burgundy and wine tones depending on what complements your skin tone. For those who aren’t comfortable sporting bright colours, a good trick is to take neutral colours but play with highlights and mid-tones of the same shade. This will help you create a glamorous effect, contour your face and enhance your features without going too bold.”

Celebrity makeup artist Ojas Rajani claims that the colour was always a staple in the Indian fashion and beauty industry. “Burgundy has been in vogue with everyone from Audrey Hepburn to Rekha. Those who like to experiment can add a dash of this shade on their cheeks, while others can use it as a face sculptor.”

An Abraham and Thakore oxblood mirror-work saree

For women the world over, no makeup is complete without a dash of kohl and a deep shade of lipstick. Though the garnet colour makes you look chic, you must ensure not to go OTT with it. Celebrity makeup artist Clint Fernandes adds a word of caution. “While this hue suits almost all skin tones, fairer girls should use it subtly on their eyes or else they will look as if somebody has punched them on their face.”

Let’s style burgundy!
Twenty one year-old Malavika Mohanan, a fashion blogger at pink-struck.blogspot (.com) admits that the right accessories can uplift the appeal of oxblood. “You can team your burgundy outfit with silver oxidised jewellery or a gold cuff,” she explains.

Sophie Choudry in an Alice+Olivia  oxblood dress

Ruchika Sachdeva, an upcoming Delhi-based fashion designer thinks that this gorgeous colour should be paired with a neutral shade. “I guess the beauty lies in the understated elegance of the colour. I have used a lot of burgundy and maroons in my collection. Always style it with neutral shades like beige, creams and khaki to bring out a sharp contrast in your overall ensemble. Don’t go overboard with it. Too much burgundy can sometimes weigh you down.”

By the looks of it, we can safely say that this ‘oxblood elegance’ is definitely here to stay! 

Colour me right
> people with a dusky skin tone should wear a deeper shade of burgundy that won’t clash with their complexion
> Fair-skinned people should opt for plums, wines and garnets
> All hues of burgundy generally suit people with a wheatish skin tone
> Team your oxblood outfit with silver oxidised or gold jewellery
> If you are going heavy with burgundy on the lips, then keep the rest of your face neutral
 > A light brush of burgundy eye shadow on the lower lash line lends a subtle colour to your face
> Burgundy can be used as a face contour but ensure that you do not go overboard 

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