LEHENGA GOES MOD

The tra­di­tional lehenga-choli is get­ting a chic makeover, as de­sign­ers are ex­per­i­ment­ing with the eth­nic out­fit to make it less con­ven­tional and more func­tional

Hindustan Times (Patna) - Live - - Lifestyle - Ruchika Kher ■ ruchika. kher@ hin­dus­tan­times. com

Have you ever con­sid­ered wear­ing a lehenga with can­vas shoes? Or has the thought of pulling off a jacket in place of a tra­di­tional blouse crossed your mind? If not, then now might be a good time to con­sider these whacky op­tions.

While the com­bi­na­tion of the lehenga and choli is a clas­sic one when it comes to In­dian gath­er­ings, de­sign­ers are in­creas­ingly twist­ing the con­cept to give the tra­di­tional ensem­ble a newage touch. You can now shimmy into the night in a glitzy tube top, paired with a lehenga, or make a chic state­ment in a bolero along with the lehenga skirt, among many other rule­break­ing op­tions.

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For in­stance, de­signer Mon­isha Jais­ingh re­cently paired a con­ven­tional red and grey lehenga with a tank top and shoes for a fash­ion show. Ex­plain­ing what prompted this trend, she says, “Peo­ple are tired of com­pletely tra­di­tional looks. They want to keep their choices mod­ern with only hints of tra­di­tion.”

Jais­ingh is not the only one who be­lieves so. Sev­eral In­dian de­sign­ers in­clud­ing Man­ish Mal­ho­tra, Gau­rav Gupta, Kr­ishna Me­hta, Abu Jani and San­deep Khosla, and Sabyasachi Mukherjee, among oth­ers, are giv­ing the lehenga-choli a makeover in their sig­na­ture styles.

De­signer Rahul Mishra had mod­els walk the ramp in lehen­gas com­bined with biker jack­ets and capes at a re­cent show. He says these sim­ple mod­i­fi­ca­tions have helped in­crease the func­tion­al­ity of the out­fit to a great ex­tent. “I think func­tion­al­ity plays a very im­por­tant role nowa­days. Ex­per­i­men­ta­tion is the need of the hour. And this is not just a re­sult of western in­flu­ences,” he says.

Mishra adds, “Brides al­ways want to look their best on their wed­dings. As a re­sult, they in­vest heav­ily in their bridal out­fits. How­ever, many women have started re­al­is­ing that while they spend so much on a lehenga, it some­how only ends up be­ing worn once.”

Mishra feels that in such a sit­u­a­tion, some­times, tweak­ing things can come to the res­cue. Adding ca­sual el­e­ments to a lehenga can help make it look slightly less for­mal, and ideal for other func­tions as well, thus in­creas­ing the gar­ment’s us­abil­ity.

Worth a shot

But will In­dian women ever open up to the idea of ex­per­i­ment­ing with the tra­di­tional lehenga and choli? Most de­sign­ers are op­ti­mistic. “The mod­ern In­dian bride is dis­cern­ing of her sar­to­rial choices. It shouldn’t be long be­fore they (In­dian brides) com­fort­ably sport such de­signs,” says de­signer Rim­ple Narula, who works with her part­ner Harpreet Narula.

Jais­ingh echoes a sim­i­lar stance, say­ing, “To­day’s fash­ion in­dus­try is re­defin­ing lux­ury for women. Peo­ple now opt for an ar­ray of con­tem­po­rary and edgy de­signs, which are has­sle-free, yet eye-catch­ing and ex­clu­sive.”

Fal­guni and Shane Pea­cock mix a bolero with a lehenga (above); Abu Jani and San­deep Khosla present an edgy look with a high-waist lehenga and top (R) Varun Bahl cre­ates a chic ver­sion with a blazer Ac­tor Aish­warya Rai Bachchan pulls off a shrug with a lehenga as part of this Man­ish Mal­ho­tra ensem­ble

For a bold look, Kr­ishna Me­hta de­signed a shim­mery tube top with a lehenga Mon­isha Jais­ingh

pairs a tank top and can­vas shoes

with a lehenga

Sabyasachi picks a pe­plum top in­stead of a blouse

In­stead of a reg­u­lar blouse, Rahul Mishra matches a crop jacket (far left) and an or­ganza cape (L) with these lehen­gas

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