In the last few decades, there has been a momentous and slow-building revolution in ethnic fashion. It has truly come into its own and one of the best parts about the increased love and appreciation of ethnic wear is that many traditional garments are being re-invented and explored to their full potential. The best example of this would be the net lehenga choli, a fabulous designer innovation which has taken the ethnic fashion world by storm in the last few years.
A lehenga cholis is one of the most traditional and beautiful Indian garments, known for its flattering and feminine look. Lehenga cholis consist of three essential pieces: the choli or blouse for the upper body, the lehenga or long skirt and the dupatta or flowing scarf. Net has only recently made its presence felt in the Indian market and while a number of garments have already been created using this beautiful fabric, the net lehenga choli is probably the most popular and easily recognizable.
Net is an open fabric known for its transparent look and soft feel. This is actually not a completely new look in the Indian market as the mesh like appearance of net has been created with different raw materials in India and termed ‘jaal’; however, the attraction of net lies in its durability. Though it is an open fabric in which threads are woven in an open check pattern, they are held together by a strong method of weaving, knitting or crochet. It is distinguished from other open, woven fabrics with holes because of its fine appearance and soft, elegant drape. In fact, this is what makes net an ideal fabric for a lehenga choli.
Typically, a net lehenga choli will incorporate the net in the lehenga and the dupatta while the blouse will be made of some other luxurious material such as silk or satin. This is especially the case with the latest net lehenga choli which come with layers. Net is layered on top of gorgeous brocades and pretty silks to create a very feminine, ornate look for the garment. The color of the lehenga can vary from luxurious gold and ethereal silver to beautiful rainbow hues of blue, green, red and much more.
Perhaps the most exclusive and exquisite of all the varieties would be the designer net lehenga choli. These are created using only the finest net fabrics and often incorporate very daring silhouettes such as the mermaid cut, a-line cut or circular cut for the skirt. Moreover, the net is used in a way which highlights the lightness and beauty of a woman’s figure. The perfect tailoring on a designer net lehenga choli ensures that it drapes the body beautifully and creates a chic and sophisticated look for the wearer.
Many brides who want to combine gorgeous traditional designs with an elegant and modish look are opting to wear the bridal lehenga. This is perhaps the most opulent of all the options in the market. The net itself may be decorated with shimmering sequins, crystals or beads work all over the lehenga. Large and ornate borders made of heavier fabrics like velvet, satin and silk are often added to the net lehenga choli to enhance its beauty and splendor. These come decorated with zari, zardosi, ek taar, gota patti, cut dana, aari, booti, stones, sequins and beads work wrought into sparkling and colorful designs of traditional Indian motifs.
Rich embellishments and embroidery can be used to decorate even the simple net choli, but to a lesser extent. Typically, a large, heavy border is always added to net lehengas to off-set the light and floating net fabric and create an interesting visual contrast. This can also be created by using layering, not just in the lehenga itself but also in the overall outfit. For instance, the latest net lehenga choli designs often make use of innovative cuts such as the anarkali cut to create a beautiful look for the outfit. Innovative garments like the lehenga style saree or jacket lehenga choli often make use of net to create the additional components such as the saree pallu or the jacket.
A net lehenga choli is one of the trendiest ethnic wear garments a woman can don today. Not only is it a huge part of couture Indian designer collections, it has also been embraced by Bollywood celebrities on red carpets. The best time to flaunt a designer net lehenga choli is a wedding, where glamorous yet traditional ethnic wear is the norm.
At an opulent wedding function, it is best to go all out with the styling. Many net lehengas come studded with sequins and crystal work, which is why stone studded necklaces and chandelier earrings are often paired with them. Women can also pair up gold tone, gold border or gold work net lehengas with traditional jewelry like Polki earrings, Kundan sets and Thewa necklaces.