Embroidery is the art of decorating a fabric with threads, wire and leather using a needle. This art has been practiced around the world for many centuries, largely by women and young girls. India, in particular, is a huge centre for all types of embroidered arts, with almost every region having a unique variation and style. Embroidery dresses from India have become famous around the world for their intricate and playful beauty. Along with the regional and traditional varieties, one can find a lot of indo-western and western clothing decorated with Indian style embroidery today. Earlier, embroidery was done only by hand, and was typically a costly technique patronized only by the upper-class. When done by hand, a single piece of fabric can take months or even years to embroider depending on the how complicated the technique is, and may even involve two or three artisans working together. With the advancement of technology and the invention of labor-saving devices like sewing machines, many of these regional embroideries can now be produced commercially, at a lesser cost, and are thus available for a wider customer base. At the same time, hand embroidered dresses are still very much in demand and will always retain their unique and exclusive appeal, especially for special events like weddings.
One of the most beautiful and comfortable garments that are frequently decorated all over with embroidered designs are salwar suits. When it comes to embroidery, suits of all types are often the preferred ‘canvas’ since they display all the designs very beautifully and are light and easy to wear, and thus are able to carry even rich and heavy embroidery without a problem. Embroidery designs for suits can range from sparse and simple to intricate and effusive; it really depends on the type of suit it is and the occasion for which it is intended. For instance a bridal embroidered salwar kameez will look very different from casual wear embroidered suits. The former will typically have multiple heavy embroidered designs all over the outfit, while the latter will limit the embroidery to the necklines or the borders. Moreover, the type of suit embroidery will also vary depending on the outfit. For bridal wear or wedding ceremonies, more glittering Zari and Zardosi embroidery is likely to be used, while simpler styles like Mokaish and Buti, while still attractive, are most beautifully displayed on festival or party wear salwar suits. Along with embroidery, salwar kameez for brides will also typically have some kind of heavy embellishments as well. The embroidery and the stones, sequins or beads are melded to create beautiful designs of Indian motifs like peacocks, fruits, flowers, leaves, trees, mythological figures and abstract shapes. Many regional embroidery types have their own set types of motifs that they use: for instance, Kantha and Kashida work suit embroidery designs have more of flowers, leaves and nature-inspired shapes, while something like Chikankari is often used to create net or jali designs and paisley shapes.
Every region in India has a certain type of embroidery art to boast of, and of late, many top fashion designers from India have used these regional techniques and thus made them fashionable again. These kind of latest embroidery designs utilize the unique stitches and styles but adapt them to more modern sensibilities, including western motifs and patterns along with the typical Indian designs. Salwar embroidery designs can thus include latest motifs of animals (owls, horses etc.) as well as more stylized abstractions and artistic shapes.
Some of the most popular regional embroidery styles that have become famous internationally include such recognizable techniques as Zari, Resham (silk work), mirror work and Chikankari. These have gone much beyond their respective geographical centers of production and can be seen decorating salwar kameez in all parts of India. However, lesser known techniques like aari, badla, ek taar, Phulkari and sitara work have also come into prominence of late and can be seen adorning both formal and casual salwar kameez.
Styling and Wearing Embroidery Dresses
Embroidery in India has never really fallen out of fashion, and the increased focus on luxurious fabrics and tribal prints has in no way diminished the demand for embroidered cloths. In terms of fashion, embroidered anarkali suits are considered one of the trendiest clothes right now and have frequently been seen in designer collections and on red carpets.
Accessorizing the latest embroidery designs for suits is very easy as long as the jewelry chosen matches the style of the embroidery. For instance, heavy gold work zari designs will obviously match best with gold jewelry while silver work patterns should be matched with either white gold or silver jewelry sets. Heavy embroidery designs suits, like bridal salwar kameez, can be worn with intricate Kundan sets and glittering Polki jewelry while casual embroidered salwar kameez should be paired with pretty pendants and embroidered handbags.