Suggested pairings: Braided bun with copper thread, brass-colored flats
This dress is a more modern take on the traditional Indian Sari. It shows off rich hues that have been known to help indicate the mood of the occasion it is worn for. The copper ovals that line the green parts of the dress give it a shimmer as well as show wealth. The shape of this sari is very similar to traditional saris, but with the bold colors and sash, it becomes more fashionable in a Westernized way.
This is one fashion that has evolved constantly through the centuries, but held true to a certain style. Fashion historian, Toolika Gupta, states, “Modesty has had different definitions over time and in different regions and communities. It was not always about covering your face and body and in many respects India’s hot climate led the way. People just did what was convenient” (1). Sometimes the women of India wore more revealing clothing that would show their torso and legs almost entirely, and other times they have worn clothing that covered every inch of skin from the ankle to the neck.
The fashion influence in India most often swayed with the influences of other cultures. For example, when the English began to become a large influence on India, many saris were less used while blouses and petticoats became what were seen as normal.
While many fashion phases that came about, the sari is the most well known as being an Indian fashion for celebrations, marriage, and so much more. They are often made of silk, chiffon, or other light materials. They vary greatly in color, style, and pattern. In fact, saris have a wide range of appearances and even skin that they cover. Most commonly, saris are bright in color and show patterns of flowers or symbols in glittering gold, silver, and more. They are truly lovely and can be worn multiple ways.
Many Indian women pair a sari with a hair accessory or two that matches the design of the sari and adds even more elegance to an already dazzling ensemble. I have incorporated both the style of saris and hair embellishments into my designs.
While most women in India still wear saris and wraps for all sorts of occasions, many Indian women have adapted more western fashions in the recent years.
Sabyasachi Mukherjee is a highly acclaimed fashion designer that cleverly incorporates India’s rich fashion history into his designs. He uses colors and patterns that are important to Indian cultures, such as reds and gold with floral designs. His wraps are most often used for formal occasions.
Ritu Kumar’s fashions are actually quite similar to Mukherjee’s. She uses bold colors and intricate designs in forms that follow Indian tradition. Her pieces have mostly gold embroidery and are spectacular works of art. India’s clothing has not changed greatly over time.
Neeta Lulla has much more feminine styles and colors. Her designs venture out of traditional wraps and reach dresses as well as Chinese-like vests. They show a unity of Asian culture and fabrics and are incredibly popular.