Today is my first Indian ethnic-wear DIY post. The idea of this came along when I was looking for a jacket or something to layer with a brown floor length kali dress. I could not find something I liked completely and most of the embroidered pieces available were priced above Rs.7000. I would probably wear this layer just once or twice and was not willing to spend so much on it. That’s when the DIY bug bit me again.
Some of you might think that it’s easy for me to make one since I have studied fashion designing and you won’t be able to make one. But that’s not true, I have made the tutorial easy enough for anyone to understand. If you have basic stitching knowledge you could make one yourself or you could even instruct your tailor on how to make it. The tutorial includes pattern instructions, design details, finishing touches and additional tips.
I finally picked the in-trend Cape for my top layer design. The cape as we know it in Indian fashion was brought into the limelight by Anamika Khanna in the year 2012. Since then Anamika has designed variations of the silhouette in all her collections. In 2015 other notable designers like Samant Chauhan, Payal Singhal and Riddhima Bhasin have incorporated the cape in their ethnic wear collections. You will also see the influence of cape in western-wear collections by Rohit Gandhi+Rahul Khanna, Amit Aggarwal and Huemn among others. The cape is a versatile clothing piece that can be styled easily with both ethnic and western wear.
The cape design I chose is based on a design by Anamika Khanna (click here for the picture). Please do not assume I am promoting copying of original designer pieces. I am against stealing someone’s design creations. I have just taken inspiration from the in-trend silhouette and modified it to suit my design sensibilities. Also, it is impossible for anyone to achieve the finishing and skill level of a designer house.
I am making two cape tutorials: one without a lining and one with a lining. Depending on your fabric and the look you want you could follow either. I will further explain the particularities in choice in individual tutorials. I did a mini-shoot styling the capes with six different ensembles.
Today I will be discussing saree draping styles along with styling options. Sarees are usually worn with blouses with different embroideries and variations in necklines and sleeve lengths. I will not be discussing the basic blouses, instead I will talk about uncommon blouse options and how each can be styled in several ways. You can also use layering and accessories to create alluring looks with a saree.
The three common styles of draping the saree is the ulta-pallu (draping the aanchal of the saree over your shoulder to the back of the body), the wrapped ulta-pallu (after draping the saree in a ulta-pallu wrap the excess across back and take it over the opposite shoulder towards the front) and the seedha-pallu (draping the aanchal of the saree over the shoulder to the front of the body).
Style 1. In the first section I want to discuss slight variations in the drape of the basic styles. The shoulder pleats in a ulta-pallu are usually 4 to 5 inches wide and changing the width immediately changes the look of the saree. Try seven inches wide pleats at the shoulder along with a lower drape on the right side of the body. In a regular ulta-pallu drape after the waist pleats the saree is wrapped tightly across the hips towards the front and over the left shoulder but to achieve the first style variation after the waist pleats tuck the saree till the left front waist and let the pleats form across the hips and front waist over the left shoulder. You could also try twisting the aanchal of a light weight soft fabric and hold the twists with an embroidered tie up at the shoulder. While using this style make sure your blouse is well fitted, you should go for a thick fabric blouse or a completely embroidered blouse like the Anaikka beaded blouse.
Style 2. The second style is a variation of the seedha-pallu. After draping the aanchal over the right shoulder to the front of the body drape one side around the neck over the left shoulder and leave the other side falling at the front in a diagonal. This drape style is well suited for sarees with aanchal focused prints or embroideries.
It’s time to store away your regular lehenga and matching blouse combination. In the spring/summer 2015 fashion show I noticed the presence of interesting lehenga pairings. It is not a new trend but with Rohit Bal’s finale collection at Wills India fashion Week ’15 the mix-match lehenga is getting the attention it needs.
I assume Rohit Bal designed the specific pairings but what stands out is the ease with which they could be interchanged or even paired with western wear. For example the gold colourful jacket can be worn with a pair of blue denim and white top, the white floral peplum top can be paired with beige palazzo pants or one could wear the white peplum jacket with white pencil skirt and shirt. The skirts too can be paired with regular cut blouses giving it a different look altogether. The bonus of this trend is the multi-utility of each garment piece.
As I mentioned earlier the mix-match trend is not new to the indian fashion world, various clippings of it can be seen in editorials ranging from Harpers Bazaar Bride to Vogue India. An Anamika Khanna ombre lehenga skirt is paired with an embroidered jacket, a Anju Modi red skirt gets the same treatment with a contrast gun-metal grey jacket and a Rohit Bal velvet peplum top is paired with a heavily embroidered lehenga skirt. Kareena Kapoor is seen wearing a Sabyasachi skirt with a sequined jacket for an editorial.
I recently visited the famed Stylefile exhibition in Kolkata. It is an annual exhibition hosted at The Old Bungalow in Alipore. While browsing through the designer collections I noticed the presence of ghararas and shararas at most stalls. First let me differentiate between the two silhouettes. Both gharara and sharara are types of flared trousers/bottoms worn originally during the 19th century to early 20th century. A gharara is usually fitted till the knee and flares out dramatically beyond that, whereas the sharara flares out from the waist itself, almost like a lehenga skirt. The gharara and sharara have been widely present in designer collections in the recent few years.
Ace designer Anamika Khanna has used variations of the gharara in her last three couture collections. She has paired an organza panelled sharara with an embroidered peplum top for her 2013 couture collection. A similar sharara can be seen in an editorial shoot of Kangana Raut. A metallic gharara has been paired with a knee length black and beige jacket for the same couture collection. Anamika has also paired a gharara trouser with a short jacket and yellow dupatta, giving the drape a lehenga saree look, for her pret collection. In her most recent collection, for the Bvlgari show, Anamika has designed an organza gharara with floral lace embroidery at the hem.
The gharara can be styled in several ways. I have shown three styling examples from the autumn-winter 2014 collections, in the picture above. It can be given a resort styling like Rizwan Beyg has done by pairing a bright coloured gharara with a block coloured flared top. Suneet Verma has given a lace palazzo like gharara an etheral look, this ensemble can be worn for a pre-wedding function by the bride. The bridal party can wear the trend by pairing a tulle gharara with a contrast coloured velvet embroidered jacket, like this Ekru ensemble.