Some things are timeless like a Banarasi saree or zari-gota work on your saree or lehenga.
And then, some things change. Do you want to bring manual loom? Break with traditional silhouettes. Do you love draping sarees? Why not try a cape with it or a sari dress, or even a radically new silhouette? Do you like ornate Indian fabrics? Why don’t they turn them into pants?
Diwali fashion essentials for men and women limit the traditional, the inventive, the innovative and even the radical this season.
For some, tradition is sacrosanct. Khushi Shah, creative director of Shanti Banaras, a brand known for its innovative work with sarees and Banaras textiles, says, “Wearing brightly colored Banarasi pieces, be it sarees or kurta sets for Diwali, never goes out of style . The other classic that I personally love are authentic zari sarees. Most often these real zari sarees are part of a family heirloom that has been passed down from generation to generation. Our contemporary sarees such as Rangkat, they have silk and gold spun and woven in intricate geometric zari work.”
Twists on tradition make festive fashion an avant-garde statement. Designer Archana Jaju sheets to choose timeless pieces, like shararas or anarkalis in prints and handmade motifs, but in trendy colors like lime green and mustard. “We have hand painted Kalamkari pieces that are highlighted with intricate threads and mirror embroidery.”
Who said traditions and trends don’t go together needs to check out the opulent suit and dress trends like Ayesha Sohaib Malik’s Haute Couture embellished mirror dresses or Riddhi Jain’s Studio Medium, a reimagining the Jamdani saree woven with contemporary metals. Bandhani threads and details, worn in a flowing drape with a top or shirt, rather than a blouse. The whole look is paired with boots for a fierce festive look.
Young designer Dolly J. says, “The easy, minimal-effort look is a good style: elegant kaftan, sequined saree or just a jumpsuit. Invest in a full-length Chikankari for an understated style, or mix and match your patterned skirt with an embroidered cape or top.”
Designer Anju Modi’s tips on how to combine classicism with modernity: Pair opulent ethnic wear with velvet blouses, embellished shawls, balloon-shaped trousers, cropped jackets and bold tops. Designer Manish Malhotra, who styled Deepika Padukone in an intricate Chikankari layer worn over a lehenga and blouse, and Ranveer Singh in a black sherwani with white embroidery worn over a contemporary black kurta, adds: “The traditions can be merged into a contemporary way of dressing. without taking away the beauty and heritage, like we did with the layer over lehenga look.”
Asymmetrical kurtas, sheer shirts and stylish bonnets dominate the festive fashion.
Designer Nachiket Barve says, “Menswear for the season can be embroidered or include a sheer shirt, or it can be an exquisite black Chanderi kurta ensemble with gota patti embroidery.”
Organza wrapped shirts, embroidered kurtas and equally embroidered trousers are the recommendations of designers Abu Sandeep. “The style should be easy and comfortable and the fabric should be as light as air, with subtle details.”
Diwali fashion doesn’t necessarily have to follow a traditional route. Designer Rajesh Pratap Singh talks about marble print on shirt jackets, coordinating ensembles, shirts with quirky graphics, cropped jackets and slim fit trousers as great options.
Combining everything with jewels
Precious stones may be your favorite jewelry style this season, replacing that old favorite: diamonds. Vandana M Jagwani, creative director at Mahesh Notandass and founder of Vandals says, “Women are looking beyond emeralds, rubies and sapphires. Various other gemstones have come into play, including opals, pink sapphires and multiple sapphires. . Heavy jewelry is in style. Choose a heavy necklace, such as a choker or long earrings.”
At the other end of the festive spectrum are delicate pearl chokers, chokers and large rings. Chandbalis continue to be the bright sparks, in keeping with the bold and boundless fashion trend. n