Festive Fashion

Look grand and royal this Diwali. Pick from deep violets, pomegranate reds, and emerald greens for embroideredjodhpuris and kurtas

GirlsIt’s time to light up the lamps, roll out the mithai and dry clean those traditional clothes. The festive season is here again! And, festive times sure call for festive measures.

So, what does fashion call for this festive season? From what I see in stores and on display, there’s a lot lined up for us!

The twain have met

This season traditional Indian clothing is seeing a decidedly Western twist – a blurring of lines, so to speak. Along with Western look, on the one hand, there’s an element of nostalgic mood harking back to the time of the Maharajas, on the other. Choose your story, and let’s get into a celebratory mode!

As kurtas become tunics and chudidars leggings, the good-old riding pants from Rajasthan are back. Yes, for men and sassy women alike, Jodhpuris are all rage, worn under Western silhouettes like tent-like and shift [A-line] kurtas.

The kalidar look is back with panel upon panel of embroidered silk, velvet, or brocade seen in kurtas and lehengas which flare out enticingly from the natural waist. Cholis are slim, and glitzy with deep round, or plunging V, and halter necks. Waist definition in the form of wide and intricately-embroidered waistbands on kurtas and lehengas for women is a huge rage.

MenFor men, we see the bandhgala and sherwani, sometimes dressy with embroidery all over, but usually sporting needlework around the neck, front plackets and hems.

Mokaish work is seeing a revival as well. From being a has-been, it’s become the favourite point of shimmer and light with many designers, this season. Block-printing and khaddi printing continue to be hot embellishment options. Intricate gota work too is embellishing many a hem and sleeve. Bling in terms of crystals is totally passe.

Not patchwork, but embellishment

Patchwork, applique and a juxtaposing of different textures and patterns, is where it’s at. A plethora of colours are encapsulated in a single piece. Beaten zari work is also in style.

Earthy tones are one colour palette in the now. From saffrons and salmon pinks to taupe and matt golds, and buttery yellows, this colour story veers towards the natural. The other strong colour palette which is carrying forward from last fall is rich, jewel-like tones. Deep violets, ruby and pomegranate reds, emerald and forest greens are some of these. Black and ivory are eternal favourites when paired with antique gold and silver.

Embroideries are floral, sometimes delicate with beautiful Kashmiri motifs and other times bold and graphic floral sprays. Embroideries continue to see a melange of colour, adding to that cheery feel. Delicate and geometric brocades and jacquards are seen taking the place of embroidery, and adding a subtle, often regal air to the garment.

A sense of history and timelessness appears to be what couturiers are now inspired by. Their creations are so designed as to take one back to a by-gone era marked by palaces and princes.

Are you ready to undertake the journey?

Indian Tradition

Traditional dresses in India vary greatly across regions in colours and styles, and on various factors, including climate. The traditional sari and the salwar kameez are popular styles of dress for women. Traditional garments for men are the kurta and dhoti. Throughout India, both traditional and Western-style clothing are commonplace.

Women in India may wear a sari, a length of material wrapped over a petticoat and a bodice or choli. Different regions have different styles of wrapping the sari. The salwar kameez is most common in the northwestern part of India.

The women of Rajasthan and Gujarat often wear colorful swirling skirts called lehenga, paired with a short bodice called a choli. If they must cover their heads, they do so with bright veils called ordhani. Tribal women typically don their own unique costumes. The most common male attire consists of the dhoti and kurta, worn in most of the western and central regions.

A sherwani is typically worn for special occasions. The lungi [a type of wrap-around] is worn in many parts of India, but depending on the social practices of the region it may be restricted to indoor-wear. As with women’s clothing, jeans and other types of Western-wear are very common in the major metropolises and smaller towns. Shirts and pants are ubiquitous in cities and towns.

Team CW

Meera Mittal is a Mumbai-based fashion designer and consultant.


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