Earlier this month, 27 year-old Janki Tank had ticked off all the must-haves for her wedding trousseau — sarees, lehengas, salwar kameezes and western outfits. “But there was still something missing,” says the Khar resident, who was simultaneously preparing for her best friend’s wedding early next year.
“I wanted an outfit that was classy and elegant that I could wear for her wedding. All my wedding outfits would have made me look too overdressed,” says the marketing professional for a healthcare company.
To her rescue came Mumbai-based designer Sonam Modi, who suggested she go in for a floor-length Anarkali. “It’s really in this wedding season, because it’s perfect when you don’t want to wear a saree or a lehenga,” says Modi.
One look at photos of the ladies who attended Amitabh Bachchan’s 70th birthday party in October, and you’d agree. Everyone, from Sonakshi Sinha and Deepika Padukone to Neetu Kapoor, Ayesha Takia and Urmila Matondkar, was dressed in voluminous floor-length anarkalis, that showed almost no hint of the churidar underneath.
It’s all about length
Juhu-based designer Arpita Mehta, who supplies her garments to Amara, Aza and Fuel fashion stores, is having a creative blast designing this season. “Even if it is a regular salwar kameez or a churidar kurta, the difference is that we are playing with the length to turn it into a new outfit,” she says. Walk into her studio and it is a riot of sindoori reds, neon greens, pinks and oranges, against blacks, whites and even subtle nudes. “You will hardly find anyone underdressed at any social gatherings this winter.
Glamourous is the look of the season, and even if it means going for a distant relative’s wedding, my customers want to wear flattering outfits that are playful and less serious,” adds Mehta.
Keeping this in mind, Mehta has created long kurtas with high-waisted shararas (a divided skirt minus the extra flounce of a lehenga), cropped jackets over skirts, gown-like kurtas and lehenga-sarees (the regular lehenga with a Bengali draping), along with popular floor-length Anarkali kurtas that have gotten a more elegant and classier touch from last year.
What’s made the Anarkali kurta so popular? We found the answer at designers Abu Jani and Sandeep Khosla’s production unit at Andheri (W). Production manager Afshan Mukherjee says, “The Anarkali has been reintroduced with a longer length, completely hiding the churidar. This will lend the wearer more grace and elegance. Paired with high heels, it changes the entire gait and carriage of the wearer. We have worked with flamboyant gota embroidery this season, and customers are loving this comfortable yet rich look.”
Dressy and classy
And it doesn’t just end with the kurta touching the floor. Nagpur-based designer Shruti Sancheti, who supplies to fashion stores including Aza, Fuel and Vyom, is replacing the churidar altogether, with a skirt. “A longer length adds a formal element and ups the glamour quotient. A short kurta usually gives a casual effect,” says Sancheti, who has used indigo, purple and emerald green shades, along with the traditional wedding colours of red, saffron and fuschia pink in her designs this year.
“This turns it into an entirely different outfit that would command a particular poise, and give an elegant and classy look. It is in-between a lehenga and salwar kameez,” says Sancheti.
Mumbai-based fashion designer Sonaakshi Raaj caters to a lot of young customers. “This year, floor-length Anarkalis in neon shades of pink, orange and yellow with sheer sleeves are a hotseller. Even prestitched sarees are doing well,” says Raaj. While Kerela cotton, khadi and net is being used this season, the usual suspects — georgettes, crepes and silks — will never go out of demand. “The basic fabrics will not change as anything else is not conducive for Indian weather,” says Mukherjee.
This season, the men aren’t too far behind in the fashion stakes. “Ranbir Kapoor donned a bandhgala at a recent event, and it has really picked up after that,” says Modi, adding that typical churidars are passé. “Men have a lot to choose from — short kurtas, blazer-length jackets or short sherwanis over patiala salwar kameezes, cowl pants or jodhpuris. I have used handloom brocade fabrics as men are not great fans of embroidery,” says Modi.
“Men too seem to be in an adventurous mood this year,” confirms Sancheti, who says her customers are opting for unconventional colour palates such as indigo, purple and orange. Sherwanis have gone shorter this season, explains Khosla, who agrees with Sancheti. “Men are eager to experiment, and are not shying away from bold colours. We are doing a lotof Jodhpuri dhotis, pyjamas and Aligarh kurtas that are teamed with jackets to give a very Indian and classic look,” saysKhosla.
While navy blues, black and browns continue to be popular, many men are experimenting with other colours, such as reds, maroons and even neon bits,” adds Mukherjee, who says male buyers have become more accepting of vibrant patterns and designs. Varun Khanna, a 26 year-old businessman, is excited to wear his brand new navy blue cowl pants and kurta that he got Modi to design this season. “I have worn jodhpuris before and I like the idea of a short kurta or sherwani on cowl pants, as they give a classy and unique look,” says the Andheri resident. This season, ethnic wear is all about the long and short of it, then.
At: Juhu Tara Road, Juhu
At: 539, ground floor, Chowpatty View Building, Sandhurst Bridge, Grant Road
At: Kemps Kwality House, near Crossword bookstore, Kemps Corner
At: 7, Vaswani House, 1st Floor, Seven Best Marg, Colaba
Accessories get practical
According to Gautam Ghanasingh, creative director of the Be True line at Ghanasingh jewellery store at Bandra, long chains and round neckpieces are replacing the choker. “Buyers, including brides, are being practical and going for something they can wear on a regular basis. Chokers are something that will lie in the locker,” says Ghanasingh.While brides are going for two or three smaller pieces rather than one chunky set, one-side asymmetrical designs on neckpieces in coloured-stone that can be changed are in.
Another must-have this wedding season is the maang tika, which never goes out of fashion. “We have designed tikas that can later be turned into pendants and worn around the neck. Bride love the forehead piece as it is a classic look, but this season, we are giving them the option to experiment,” he adds. Floral headgear is also something that brides are flaunting for functions other than the wedding. “The idea is to have fun. Since the young generation is not really into heavy jewellery, they are trying out headgears made out of fresh flowers,” says Mehta.
Another look that young crowds are experimenting with is the minimalist. “Wearing only a pair of heavy earrings, or just a neckpiece, is something younger girls like. They don’t want to wear too much jewellery and prefer focusing on their outfits,” says Raaj.