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Nir Gujarati A. Types of Indian Lehengas Nir Gujarati

·        Types of Indian Lehengas

The gamut of Indian Lehengas is very wide. This garment has undergone some transformation in terms of styles. Accordingly, the Indian Lehengas can be divided into following types:

  • Lehenga/Ghagra Choli
  • Chaniya Choli
  • Sharara
  • Lachcha

1.     Lehenga/Ghagra Choli

The most famous traditional dress of India is lehenga choli or ghagra choli. The Indian lehenga cholis with their glittering mirror work very attractive. The lehenga choli or ghagra choli is extremely colourful and attractive. The Indian lehenga choli/ghagra choli is usually worn with the 'dupatta' to cover the head and the chest. In India, lehenga choli is also known as lehenga or ghagra chunni or chunri, ghagra chunari, ghagra chunaris and sometimes Lachcha choli.

Wearing of this traditional dress at formal occasions is the latest trend. There is a tremendous boost to the ghagra choli in recent time as a fashiongaments. Lehenga is a typical feminine silhouette that epitomizes style, craftsmanship, quality and class of Indian clothing.

Fabric in Indian Lehenga

  • Silk
  • Georgette
  • Crepe
  • Net
  • Satin
  • Brocade
  • Chiffon

Three parts of Ghagra/Lehenga Choli

  • Ghagra/Lehenga: These are ankle length long pleated skirts secured around the waist. The skirt is flowing and flares around the wearer.
  • Choli: The choli or blouse is a snugly fitted piece of clothing that accentuates the female form. The blouses have elaborate mirror work and patch work on them and are very colourful. It is generally designed to leave the back and midriff bare.
  • Odhi, Chunni, Dupatta: The odhni, the third part of the total garment, acts as a scarf covering the head and body and is a sign of modest shyness for the wearer.

Design and colour
There are ghagra choli of vivid colour contrasts with traditional as well as modern patterns. It is the embroidery and the shape that makes all the difference to the ghagra choli and one can identify it with the occasion it is meant for. Indian market has a wide collection of ghagra/lehenga cholis such as

  • Designer lehengas
  • Traditional ghagra cholis
  • Embroidered lehengas
  • Hand worked lehengas
  • Indian bridal lehengas

Even the lehengas are of different shapes such as

  • Straight cut lehengas
  • Fish tail lehengas
  • Mermaid lehengas
  • Paneled lehngas
  • Kali ghagras lenghas
  • Circular lehengas
  • A-line lehngas
  • Lehengas with full flair

The Indian Lehenga choli brings out the essence of feminism. Similar to the western skirt and blouse, the ghagra choli's intricate designs create excitement amongst the fashion conscious women. Wearing of lehenga is a fashion with lasting values and rich craftsmanship. It is so much in fashion that it is one of the most favoured dress at beauty pageant contests at national as well as international level.

 

2.     Chaniya Choli

Chaniya choli is another form or say another name of ghagra choli. The home of the chaniya choli is no doubt Kutch, Gujarat and Rajasthan. The outfit is popular in the west and north of India. In the south, another more streamlined version known as the 'pavade' is popular. There is a tremendous boost to the chaniya choli in recent time as a fashion garment expecially in weddings.

Fabric in Chaniya Choli
Fabrics that are used for chaniya cholis normally range from cotton, silk to khadi and at times chiffon, organza, satin cotton, raw silk and brocade. But the last variety is only for weddings and formal occasions. The creation of a chaniya choli takes a couple of weeks to create as the fabrics are embroidered in Gujarat, Kutch and Rajasthan and sent to different craftsmen after which they are stitched into garments.

Three parts of Chaniya Cholis

  • Ghagra/Lehenga: Also known as Chaniyas, these are pleated skirts of ankle length secured around the waist.
  • Choli: The cholis have elaborate mirror work and patch work on them and are very colourful. In almost all chaniya cholis, the choli is generally designed to leave the back and midriff bare.
  • Odhi, Chunni, Dupatta: The odhni of chaniya choli acts as a scarf covering the head and body.

Design
It is the embroidery and the shape that makes all the difference to the chaniya choli. There are different varieties of Chaniya Cholis. There are traditional Chaniya Cholis with traditional designs of Zari, Zordosi, Resham work, with butis and sequins all over it. Bridal Chaniya Cholis are heavily embroidered with precious stones studded over it. Designer Chaniya cholis give the modern look with an ethnic touch. Even the chaniyas are of different shapes such as Straight cut, Fish tail, Mermaid, Paneled, Circular shapes, Chaniyas with full flair.

From ancient history to the 20th century, the chaniya choli has made a long journey that has sustained it as a garment of fashionable interest to not only the Indian women but women in the west as well.

 

3.     Sharara

Though saree was and still is the traditional garments of Indian women, another stage reached in the history of Indian costumes with the invasions of the Mughals in the 16th century. The Mughal had a great impact on Indian society. Their dress pattern was one of the richest art forms. Persian fashions in clothing entered India. Sharara is traditionally a muslim garment. Sharara came into existence during Mughal period and is popular since then.

What is a sharara?
Sharara is a wide legs pants-fitted till the knee, with a big flare from the knee onwards which looks like full skirt with draw string waist. Sharara is usually worn with a matching long Chunnri and cholis and it is also called sharara cholis which are usually heavily embellished. Another definition of choli sharara is a kind of loose, trailing pajama worn by women. In short, a sharara is a loose
flowing gown divided in between. Like lehenga or ghagra, shararas are worn with choli and dupattas.

Fabric in Sharara

  • Silk
  • Georgette
  • Crepe
  • Net
  • Satin
  • Brocade
  • chiffon

Design
In the modern world of fashion, designer Indian sharara is essentially a wedding dress for the ladies. Girls accompanying the bride throughout her wedding need something special too. Sharara cholis are just right for them. There are choli sharara for party wear, sharara cholis for formal occasions, wedding parties in traditional colours and much more. Some popular designs of shararas are rich Zardosi Sharara Choli, Resham Work Choli Sharara, Mirror Work Choli Sharara and many more.

 

4.     Lachcha

Known by many names ghagra choli, chanya choli, lehenga, lachcha--all meaning a long skits and blouse to go with it--these have become very popular among the fashion conscious Indian women, expecially for weddings.

. Lachcha is also one of the most favoured dress for the wedding. A common and popular dress among the Muslim community, now even the Hindu and Christian Community are opting for it as a wedding dress. Lacha, Lachchas with choli are quite common in Punjabi weddings.

Fabric in Lachcha
Lachchas are available in different fabrics like

  • Silk
  • Georgette
  • Crepe
  • Net
  • Satin
  • Brocade
  • Chiffon

Design
Lacha/Lachchas have different type of work done on them like embroidery or mirror work. Wearing a heavy and trendy lachcha for a big function is catching on now. Most brides
wear ghagra for their wedding engagement, mehndi function and the reception. The work that is done on the ghagras or lachchas is elaborate and very intricate, at times. Zardosi, in-laid with stones, antique and gold work or sequins on them form part of the embroidery. When it is a part of a bridal collection there is a lavish use of gold and antique threads.

Convenient to wear, easy to manage even if it is very heavy, colour, craft and custom made are some of the plus points that go in favour of this beautiful and gorgeous attire-- it is a must in a bride's
wardrobe.

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