Today’s Indian ethnic wear styling article slightly overlaps with my Lehenga Mix-Match Trend post, but with a lot more options for you. The pairing of shirts and tops with traditional Indian wear garments has been observed on the ramp in recent fashion weeks and on celebrities too. The choices are innumerable, be it your choice of shirt and top, or drape of the saree, or the choice of skirt underneath. I am sharing some fantastic visual references along with detailson how to achieve the look. Keep reading!
I have often cited my love for multi-tasking garments in previous posts and it is one of the favorable feature of this Indian wear styling too. As seen in the picture above you can easily wear the same Ka-Sha empire line top with both a-line trousers and a saree. All you need is some imagination and a will to experiment. The saree has been draped in the basic ulta-palla style with a lower side fall, thereby accentuating the top’s pleated design. You can also drape the saree in thin seedha-palla pleats or do a neck wrap with the aanchal.
August was the month of fashion weeks in India! We got to see a whole lot of bridal and pret designs. One style that really stood out was ‘layering‘. Layering is described as a way of dressing using multiple garments worn on top of each other, either to provide warmth or to create a fashionable ensemble.The concept of layering is not new to Indian fashion but never have we seen such variety in styling and it’s presence in over 25 designer collections in the same season. Even though layering could be as simple as throwing on a shrug over a kurta, to add an oomph to the outfit play with lengths and textures. Keep it classy.
Let’s start with a look at layering with lehengas. The concept of a basic lehenga skirt and blouse has anyways been redundant for the past two seasons and this year we also saw top-layers replacing the dupattas. You could pick anything from short heavily embroidered jackets like Sabyasachi’s, a lapel blazer in soft fabric like Rahul Mishra’s or a slit cape like Neeta Lulla’s to wear over a blouse. It has been noticed that most designers kept the layering pieces either in the lehenga’s colour family or in the neutral colour family.
I have been mulling over the idea of sarees with different edge designs for a while now and it became stronger while researching for my post Saree Trends for 2015. The patti-patti border saree made famous by the likes of Sabyasachi and Anamika Khanna have been all over the place for more than six-seven years. I despise these embroidered straight border designs, often with contrasting coloured borders included, especially when compared to the alternatives available. In today’s post I will be discussing various border options along with other edge embellishments.
1. BASIC EDGE FINISH
The saree edge could be finished with a basic hem, fold and stitch. Anamika Khanna’s shaded organza saree is a perfect example of it. Certain sarees require weight on the edge for it to fall fluidly, in this case a self coloured fabric facing could be stitched onto the saree. You could also add a thin self coloured fabric border depending on the saree fabric. This style of edge finish highlight’s the saree’s fabric giving it an airy look.
2. VERY THIN BORDER
The saree could be designed with a thin border, no more than 1.5 inch wide. This could either be a fabric or embroidered border. Pick softer fabrics like georgette and silk crepe for thin border designs. Do not add heavy embroidery to the saree’s body. Focus on the blouse design. You could pair a simple design like this with printed crop tops or embroidered contrast blouses.
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.
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.