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Home / Mint-lounge / Features /  The summer frock

Not so much a fashion statement as a sartorial staple (a wardrobe-wonder that transcends trends), the perfect summer dress is as elusive as the perfectly made pina colada.

Here is a selection of five frocks for every occasion—biking, brunches, boardrooms and beach surfing. From delicate pastels to whimsical whites and diaphanous silks, from sleek to chic, and everything in between.

MIUNIKU: This minimalist, progressive London-based designer label, co-founded by sisters Nikita and Tina Sutradhar, was awarded the LVMH Special Jury Prize in 2014. For their Spring/Summer 2016 retro-futuristic collection titled Before The Digital Age, the duo focused on clean lines and graphic detailing. An office-appropriate, full-sleeves blush pink and yellow dress, made of 100% silk charmeuse, offers just the right amount of propriety, chutzpah and laid-back allure.

SHIFT: Nimish Shah of Shift is known for scaled back, modest pieces that retain that comforting “worn-in" feeling. Drawing inspiration from a blue sky at Palm Springs and Coachella in California, one of his full frill shift dresses in handprinted cotton has contrasting sleeves in khaki twill. Its simple ruched silhouette and impeccable finish make it an instant modern classic.

PAYAL JAIN: Inspired by the golden sun and sand of the Mediterranean islands, the free-flowing, fluid, feminine silhouettes of Jain’s La Playa Blanca are made with a melange of natural textiles sprinkled with shells and bugle beads. This dress made of “dumpach" cotton and organic lace hand-knotted into translucent leaf and floral motives is versatile enough to see you through a day on the beach, even a languorous sundowner.

SHIVAN & NARRESH: The designer duo looked to Mexican artist and muralist Diego Rivera for inspiration. The collection meditates on Rivera’s signature large-scale blocks in calming hues and textures translated into vibrant cubist prints for the runway. Teamed with a jewelled egg-shaped crocodile leather bag with scalloped straps, this bodacious cacti and pineapple print cut-out dress is reason enough to spend those extra hours toning up to get your abs fab.

IKAI BY RAGINI AHUJA: Known for her boxy, anti-fit silhouette, streamline cuts, Ahuja manages to ensure her clothes have a sensual, feminine look. IKAI combines Indian tailoring with international styling. This collection was inspired by Ahuja’s love for Japan.

She worked on creating textural motifs using the Japanese functional embroidery technique of Sashiko stitching. A navy blue cotton dress with bell sleeves has frayed floral and crane appliqué adorning the yoke and is styled over an ivory Chanderi pleated skirt with red polka dots appliqué. The skirt-dress combination may sound unusual, but Ahuja makes it work.

Supriya Dravid tweets at @superear.

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