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Can you smell it in the air, despite the monsoon rain showing off its power before bidding farewell till next year? Yes, the smell is of autumn. It also brings the news along that some of our favourite festivals are at the doorstep, following one by one- Durga Puja, Kali Puja, Diwali, Bhai Dooj rounded off with Christmas.
And if autumn is here can shopping be far behind? Festivals offer a perfect opportunity to pep up the mood by dressing up in style. The occasions are many too, from ritualistic ceremonies to parties in the evening and if going out of town for holidays, a bucket list for dresses in the destinations, depending on the location.
Designer Shruti Sancheti has been observing the general inclination of the Indian consumer who does not mind spending a little more on the festive occasion. “India has nine months dedicated to weddings and festivals . Our country loves rejoicing at such times. From grand dads to the little ones in the family, all members happily slip into their festive attire, come what may. Even the NRIs pay a yearly visit to their homeland during this time and go on binge shopping. ”
Designer Vineet Kataaria of Vineet Rahul label thinks fashion cannot be necessarily confined to festivities alone. “It’s a state of mind and one’s philosophy about life,” he says.
“A clean grey Chanderi sari with a plain red blouse or a crop top makes an interesting statement for any occasion. Grey has suddenly become the new black and is a solemn yet classy colour any day. However, our country luckily has a varied palette of colours to choose from keeping in mind different occasions,” observes the designer.
“I can’t imagine Indians opting for an austerity-drive when it comes to jazzing up their cupboards with colour,” Sancheti adds. For instance, clothes crafted out of tie-and-dye methods, manually done, with attractive gota work are worn by most North Indian communities, while motifs bearing the designs of lotus, mango, parrots etc. are woven in radiant tints on apparels manufactured down South as well as in the western parts of the country for festivals. The rich traditional embroidery like zardozi, pitta, kasab, dori are widely found during big festivals, she says.
Sancheti believes, “It’s imperative to sport a customary garb during a traditional festival. Nothing works better than the time-honoured sari in propitious pigments like red, saffron, turmeric, fuschia with surface ornamentation. Exquisite weaves drawn from the regional cottage and handicrafts industry give ample choice.”
Apart from saris , the elegantly flowy anarkalis and lehengas in bright colours will always look regal and graceful. Whereas for men, a kurta-pyjama pair in local fabrics like khadi, silk, matka silk and linen look great, especially if teamed up with a Nehru jacket and dhoti. To attach more sparkle and shimmer to one’s get-up, one may also select a tasteful sherwani piece.
Kumar recommends shades of pastels like ivory, beige, dull pink, mint green and grey with absolutely no metallic colours and embroidery so that it does not take away the beauty of the original colour and material. A mild thread-work can be suggested for embroidery, while clattered prints are a strict no-no. Too much of buttis all over the apparel may also disbalance the overall look of a person. Hence, constraint is important on such occasions, he advises.
“To render a twist to traditional wears, overlap kurtas with collars and embroidery; a pretty brooch can highlight a fitted churidar or a stitched draped dhoti to boot,” Kumar suggests. “As for women, sari is always a great option offering opportunity to mix and match. In this, the cut of the blouse is crucial. It ought to be stylish to complete the look, whether a sober one for a day- time ritual or glamorous for the evening. ”
“For the young and fancy free, a smart crop top with a skirt would rightly fit the bill. Or else, a coat dress. While for dashing boys, Jodhpuri pants and short-jacket like shirts would definitely pass off as uber cool and comfy,” Kumar prescribes for the festive phase.
From his new line, Kumar unwraps a pot shift wrap dress and describes it as a fitted shift dress with panels in the yoke without disturbing the body shape. The sartorial creation comes in an eye-arresting variety of Jaipuri stone, mango yellow, peaches, red and coral hues, added with tonal prints of bold floral motifs. Also abstract motifs are still going great for the ethnic look which is popular.
Hand-woven silk fabric with embroidery of wool yarns in contrast colours is another signature component of Kumar’s oeuvre. A big advantage of his line is that it contains customised designs for plus size women on request as well as suitable cuts for all body types.
Conversing about fusion, the couturiers confirm that it has been a huge trend from the last few seasons and an amalgamation of the East with West is preferred by today’s Gen-Y. “Crop tops coupled with long skirts, dhoti saris, maxi anarkalis, pallazo saris are some popular interpretations of contemporary traditional clothes which are trendy plus comfortable, yet stylish and youthful at the same time. For young men, dhoti pants, achkans with jeans etc. are interesting pick-ups,” says Sancheti.
Her festive stock is replete with modern version on traditions, affixed with fun elements like gunmetal diskettes, sequins and cut pipes. “We have worked hard to introduce geometric embroidery in resham (silk) and metallic threads, “ she shares. Minute detailing in the form of quilting, pleating and ruching techniques are neatly applied to the clothes. Silhouettes conforms to fusion with draped skirts and crop tops, cold shoulder anarkalis and so on. “This apart, we have thoroughly worked on a lot of Banarasi lehengas this year and kept the same noticeably traditional,” she elaborates. The colour-palette now flaunts an array ranging from soft apricot, custard, Lucite green to warm oranges, alphonso and watermelon.
Festivity also rings in day-outs, revelry with friends and family, nightlong parties, pandal-hopping, chilling out with buddies and dining out. So alongside heavy layers of those orthodox outfits, comfort and travel-friendliness are also very much taken care of. “Pants with dupattas or dressy crop tops are a nice way for girls to dress up this season. Even skirts with crop tops look good,” Kataaria advises for the trendy to take note of.
Image: Designs by Vivek Kumar