We often hear fashionistas of our buzzing cities complaining how the residents here lack a true fashion guide and that most of our trends are borrowed. Well I personally would second that even though not particularly proud. Some might argue that our local boutique houses did make a breakthrough in the fashion scenario but that trend of wearing ‘desi taat’ outfits with ‘latapata’ motifs soon lost the battle to its foreign adversaries, if I may call them so. Here is a synopsis into how our neighboring country/s have had a dynamic impact into the way we (women) dress- You will be surprised to see how the fashion scenario has changed dramatically within a such a short span of time:
The ‘Piya-Piya’ syndrome:
Okay that’s how I remember it. While Preity Zinta and Rani Mukherjee’s jiggly wobbly dance moves got the boys drooling, girls had their attention hooked to their new cut short and embellished Salwar Kamizes. This is when the ‘short kamiz’ re-incarnated. The 80’s look got reintroduced to the 90’s kids’ generation with a sexy make-over. Fitted kamiz combined with churidaars and salwars was the new must follow trend. Girls of all ages thronged to chandi-chawks and the likes and the tailors saw a boost in their business.
Bell bottoms or flared pants have been in style during the 1960’s to 80’s but to the 21st century it was Kareena Kapoor a.k.a bebo who popularized it. The credit also needs to go to Manish Malhotra, the famed designer, for bringing back this style. It ruled the denim domain for such a long period till the ‘skinny jeans’ arrived lately. The trend was not only limited to denim but also made its way to the traditional wear scene. Kamizes were now combined with bell bottom salwars, with a slit by the ankle.
Remember this hot actress from the Indian soap opera known by her screen name kashish. As the ‘short-kamiz’ scenario went onto get really cheesy with the hem of the dress going shorter and shorter ‘Kashish’ gave it a classy take with her semi-long i.e. knee length ultra fitted Kamizes with beautiful motifs and chic embellishments. Three quarter and full length sleeves were in and soon churidars replaced patiala salwars. Shopping malls redressed their mannequins as imports piled up in their stock.
Bunty or Bubly conundrum:
Yes it was then the turn of the queen of fashion faux pas to rule the fashion industry i.e. the famous actress Rani Mukherjee. Surprisingly her loud outfits in bold bright hues with even tacky combinations like pink and yellow became hugely popular. Collared kamiz with beaded motifs around the neck as well as around the bottom of the churidar allowed girls to dress like weddings even on regular days. (Don’t mean to be condescending though :p)
Post ‘bunty bubbly’ it was time for our desi brands to rule. It was a time of respite as the local business, artisans and designers finally got their due share of reward. Desi fabrics went extremely popular with girls experimenting with the length of the kamiz as well as the cuts of salwars- remember the dhoti salwar trend? This dominance continued for a good while.
After we got bored with our desi plain avatars it was time for some royal swag. Another old trend modernized- with countless ‘Kalis’ as they are called with kamiz length stretching upto the ankles. Hefty embellishments and heavy price tags is what these Anarkaliz came with. Different names got attached to these as these dresses were subject to several modifications in-terms of motif, fabric and silhouette to some extent.
Nothing is as dynamic as the fashion industry and there is no room for slack for the leaders in the field. It was imperative for our local brands to up their game and continue on the pursuit of innovation. Brands are not trend takers but trend makers. Failure to do so allowed the foreign competition to sneak in again and this time with a stronger weapon- the uber Long Kamiz and Lawns. Unlike before it is not India but Pakistan that has slowly yet strongly made its mark in our fashion scene. As long as our local brands don’t step up to the scene foreign trends would continue its reign over our shopping malls and wardrobe.