B. Lehengas by Design
Indian Lehengas by design can be divided into the following categories:
- Traditional Lehenga Choli
- Designer Lehenga or Ghagra Choli
- Embroidered Lehenga Choli
- Bollywood Lehenga
1. Traditional Lehenga Choli
In spite of Western influences on the modern Fashion Industry, the ethnic element and the traditional touch to any Indian Costume is still alive. The traditional look of any garment will never change whatever the fashion is. Today, in the Indian market, we have different varieties of lehenga choli or ghagras starting from heavy embroidered to designer look to fancy choli to ghagra choli exclusive for brides and weddings. Inspite of the emergence of such varieties, the traditional ghagra choli is still popular. Indian lehenga choli helps you to retain the exotic look of the Indian woman.
As is well known, the traditional dress of women in Rajasthan and Gujarat is still the ghagra choli. While the tribal and rural women preferred the embroidered lehenga choli made up of cotton fabric decorated with embroidery and mirror work, women belonging to royal families afford more intricate brocade, tanchoi and heavy satins even with real gold and silver embroidery, studded with precious stones. The length of tribal embroidered lehenga varied between knee to ankle, whereas that of richer people was always long enough to touch the floor as they moved.
Wearing of this traditional dress at occasions is the latest trend. Traditional lehenga choli is worn during wedding, festivals like Navratri, Eid, Dusshera. In wedding seasons this traditional dress has its own significance. The Indian ghagra choli can be worn at main occasions like mehendi, dandiya/sangeet, the wedding ceremony and the reception. The Indian lehenga choli brings out the essence of feminism.
Since, the lehenga choli is representative of the traditional Rajasthan/Gujarat style of dressing, when we talk of traditional, nothing is more traditional than the bandhani printed--the tie and dye ghagra cholis. This is immencely popular all throughout. This is mainly of pure cotton. Other fabrics like silk and other man made fabrics are also available. Generally, the blouses have elaborate mirror-work and patch-work on them and are very colorful. Other designs that give a traditional look in a ghagra choli are kalamkari, mangalgiri, maheshwari, ikat and so on. Hand embroidered ghagra choli are also traditional.
2. Designer Lehenga or Ghagra Choli
Designer ghagra cholis or lehengas have become very popular nowadays. Manufacturers of the latest lehengas are using different types of fabrics and designs to make this ethnic Indian attire look gorgeous and different. Indian designer lehenga is basically for formal occasions, weddings and marriages. Any ghagra or lehenga whether embroidered, printed, silk or chiffon can be given a designer look to distinguish it from other regular lehengas.
Today brides prefer a contemporary look, a balance of modern with the tradition. Yet, there are brides who don't mind being more flamboyant or going for the 'mix and match look'. The latest trends in today's bridal wear are short cholis with ghagras or lehengas with elaborate embroidery.
Young women in India as well as abroad wear exclusive lehengas for parties and special occasions. Not surprisingly, then most designers choose to include the ghagra in their collections every year.
Various Indian designers have come with innovative designs for designer ghagra choli. Designer ghagra cholis are available in different styles and prices. Designer Lehenga choli sets are stitched in different types of fabric : silk, raw silk, cotton prints, georgettes and so on.
Sequins work and handwork is very much in demand along with beadwork. Bringing forth the richness of Indian culture, indian designer ghagra cholis are intricately embroidered and embellished with stones, beads, swarovski crystals, sequins to enhance the beauty and elegance of the wearer. There is an amalgamation of traditional and contemporary designs. A vibrant combination of plains, prints, textures and embroideries puts together a collection of ghagra cholis, in a riot of colors, to suit all occasions. The consummate thread work embellished on the finest quality fabrics reflects legacy of craftsmanship and exuberance of Indian culture.
Designer lehengas are contemporary in style, yet timeless in their appeal. Brocades, woven silks and crepes, chiffon, crinkled tissues, tussars are embellished with zardozi, gold and antique work, crystal mirrors and pearls.
3. Embroidered Lehenga Choli
Embroidered Indian ghagra choli is immensely popular round the globe. It is one of the oldest form of Indian lehenga choli developed since the times of tribals and nomads as well as royal people of ancient times. Even today, the traditional dress for women in Rajasthan and Gujarat is the lehenga choli or ghagra choli. While the tribal and rural women preferred the embroidered lehenga choli made up of cotton fabric decorated with embroidery and mirror work, women belonging to royal families afford more intricate brocade, tanchoi and heavy satins even with real gold and silver embroidery, studded with precious stones.
Any lehenga whether silk, crepe, cotton, georgette gets an enhanced look with embroidery. The simple thread embroidered ghagras are popular and can be worn on festivals or other celebrations. But, for wedding and other formal occasions, heavy embroidered ghagras are preferred.
Embroidered ghagras are famous for their royal look and rich feel. Indian embroidered ghagras or lehengas comes in different styles and designs. Indian Embroidered lehengas in
- gota patti,
- zari, gold & silver threads work,
- zardosi embroidery,
- kundan and dubka work
give a collection of embroidered lehengas which are preferred for wedding and any formal occasion. The highlight of the embroidered lehenga or ghagra choli is vibrant colour contrasts, rich patterns and sparkling mirror work. Exquisitely styled and intricately embroidered, this traditional costume has entered the world of high fas.
4. Bollywood Lehenga
Bollywood is the informal name given to the popular Mumbai-based Hindi language film industry in India. Today for the fashion conscious people, Bollywood offers an opportunity to bring a part of the Bollywood style into their own world. It is mainly through films that a taste for exaggerated Indian style is spreading all over the country and abroad. Style-struck Indians are embracing Bollywood style.
Elegance and grace are the key to perfection in Bollywood. From bollywood saris to salwaar kameez to ghagra cholis, traditional clothing and style is continually being altered with a western twist. As new designers emerge, fashion is becoming more and more glamorous and new trends are transpiring each day.
It is seen in all bollywood movies, actresses wear ghagra choli, in atleast one scene of the movie, expecially if it is a wedding scene. Bollywood ghagra cholis are considered to be designer ones as there is a modern touch to the ethnic look. These ghagra cholis are in all types of fabrics like silk, crepe, dupion, georgette, satin and all types of man-made fabrics available in range of colors, designs, thickness and styles. It is through Bollywood, many Indian ladies design their own ghagra cholis. Otherwise, how can you explain the popularity of some heroines in some movies creating a style satement of their own through their dresses. For example:
- How can you forget the red and light pastel shade ghagra cholis of Kareena and Kajor in the movie 'Kabhie Khushi Kabhie Gham'?
- Preity Zinta's ghagra choli in her engagement scene in the movie 'Kal Ho Na Ho' was also popular.
- Go for the authentic Rajasthani flavour - silk ghagras and cholis with kundan trinkets worn by Rani Mukherjee in the movie 'Paheli'.
- Kareena Kapoor and Rani Mukherjee wore some antique net lehengas in the movie 'Mujhse Dosti Karoge'.
It is fair to say that despite numerous fashion forecasts by leading national and international designers, the larger than life Hindi Films are the last word on fashion or bridal fashion for that matter.