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The funky side of Diwali fashion

Ameeta G | October 31, 2005

Fashion gets bolder this Diwali with brighter colours, daring cuts and funky accessories. Let's see what's in for both men and women.

imageThe funky Diwali look for women

Fashion designer Archana Kochchar has given the cocktail sari a whole new look. "I make saris that don't look like saris," she says. 

With the right placements of cuts and slits, her creation can pass off for an evening gown, lehenga (long skirt) or long kurta to be worn over trousers or jeans. A speciality in her saris are the kalis, with extra pieces of cloth added to the bottom for more leg room. The kalis come in different colours, giving her saris a funky look. Her saris do not have pleats.

When it comes to salwar kameezes, she says, "Everyone concentrates on the kurta, but I work on enhancing the look of the salwar." She adorns salwars with multi-coloured brocade patches; they can have up to 10 different coloured patches, making them rich and vibrant.

Even Archana's dupattas are not your typical long piece of rectangular cloth. They are asymmetrical and structured with cuts, embellished with thread and patchwork in colours like brown with olive green, brown with turquoise and ivory with multi-coloured patches.

Along with patchwork, she adorns her creation with crystal, sequins, coin work, shells, zardozi and other thread work. Her tip if you are making a blouse: "I play with the sleeves, back and hem line, but give the neck a basic vee or round shape. An embroidered neckline tends to clash with the jewellery."

Fabrics like brocade, crushed silk, lilac, georgette and crepe are in.

The funky look for men

For the long kurta worn by men, Archana has worked with embroidered kurta patti (a cloth panel onto which the kurta's buttons are sewed) and played with the sleeves. "I've made long kurtas with long bell sleeves that look great on guys," she says. She has also added multi-coloured brocade patches on her long and short kurtas.

Archana's suggestions for the season: An ivory coloured kurta embroidered with burnt orange, royal blue and turquoise coloured threads. Onion pink kurtas with embroidery is another great combination. 

image What women want

Archana's women's clothing is a blend of the modern and the traditional; of Western fits and cuts mixed with traditional, ethnic colours and designs.

i. The Empire Cut (it accentuates your bustline) is very much in vogue, and is a great option for women with a paunch. "The focal point of this cut would be your bust; it takes attention away from your tummy," says fashion designer Krishna Mehta.

ii. The Princess Cut is elegant and feminine. It has darts on the sides to give the outfit a good fit. You need a good figure to pull it off though, as the cut makes the fabric skim over your body and shapes your figure.

iii. Try colours like emerald green, rust, deep red, turquoise, blue, golden yellow, mustard, pinks, cream, olive green, brown, ivory and black this festive season.

iv. Designers are now experimenting with different kinds of fabrics. Most outfits like kurtis, tunics or salwar-kameezes are made with flowing fabric like georgette and chiffon or sheer fabrics like satin, raw silk and blended silk.

v. Coloured thread embroidery with coloured stones or metal sequins, like coins in dull gold or silver, are very popular. Shell work or patchwork with different coloured fabrics are also in vogue.
vi. Saris with traditional block prints like the Jaipur block prints continue to remain popular.

Some designers are playing with contemporary prints as well. "I've done a lot of saris with animal prints combined with lace work," says fashion designer Cherie Khemka.

Men, strike a pose

i. "Men are experimenting with fashion and colours," says designer Krishna Mehta. The colour palate has shifted from conventional to contemporary. Earlier, choices of colours for men were limited to white, maroon and black. Now, orange, red, sky blue, navy blue and rust are in.

ii. The long, embroidered kurta with traditional bottoms is still perfect for Diwali. As is the flowing Pathani suit or the sherwani. A more contemporary choice is the short kurti, a cross between a kurta and shirt. The kurti has the band collar (similar to a Chinese collar) and is the length of a normal shirt. Kurtas/ short kurtis can with worn with Aligarh pants or a churidar. Or you could pair them with jeans for a semi-formal look.

iii. The festive male ensemble is made with flowing fabrics like silk or blended silk and cotton. Kurtas are embroidered with coloured threads and other embellishments like metallic coins, etc. The ensembles are made with block prints and surface textured fabric (which have a self-design). 

iv. The male outfit's silhouette has also got a makeover. Earlier, kurtas were a straight fit. Now, a wider range of silhouettes is available -- open V-necks or Engrakha (slit sides with strings to hold it together), overlapping fronts, scooped up neck, etc.

Accessories for men

Embroidered belts, big ceramic beads in solid colours studded over a belt or waist bands go well with a kurta. Wear a solid coloured, crush chunari around the neck.
Jhootis or mojris look great with traditional ensembles. Depending on your outfit, you could also opt for  Western closed shoes or sandals.

image Formal wear for women

i. The traditional, heavily embroidered sari is still popular for the Diwali puja and evening dinner. 

ii. Another choice is the contemporary take on the sari -- cocktail saris made of very thin fabric like chiffon, georgette or even synthetic flowing material that cling to and accentuate your figure.

iii. Salwar kameezes and churidar kurtas are other great options. The Patiala fit continues to remain popular. 
The kurta should be about knee-length or longer and well fitted on the waist.

iv. The short kurti or kaftans are also good options. Club these with harem pants, with added narrowed bands at the bottom.

Fusion wear

~ Pairing the short kurti or kaftan with asymmetrical skirts, layered skirts, bias cut skirt, etc, is a great fusion look.

~ The long kurta or tunic can be paired with denim jeans or linen trousers.

~ Bejewelled t-shirts or backless tops with skirts is another cool match.

~ Pair bias cut skirts with spaghetti shrugs (short jacket that reach just below the bust line).

~ The butterfly skirt is a many layered skirt made with thin material like chiffon or georgette. Wear it with a fitting embroidered top or kurti.

Accessories for women

i. Accessories are essential, but the key is not to overdo it.

ii. Chandelier earrings are in. But if you think they have been overplayed, go for long, slim earrings with a drop or two at the end, made of crystal. "Jewellery has a lot of colour this season. Crystal is great," says Archana Kochchar.

iii. Try diamonds or stones with a sheen of colour like topaz, aqua marine, amethyst, crystals, etc.

iv. You can accessories with embroidered handbags and embroidered belts or waistbands.

v. Footwear like mojris add to the traditional getup. You can also opt for wedge heels or metallic coloured heels like bronze and grey or stilettos.

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