The origins of both tissue fabric and lehenga date back to the 18th Century and Moghul Era respectively. This period witnessed the introduction of some opulence in garments. The royal folk and artisans of this time ensured that the style was a cut above the rest. They incorporated embellishments, local arts and crafts and encouraged the use of garments, which testified the identity in a big way. It is said that one of the Generals of the Moghul Army, Maharana Bhim Singh, was an avid supporter of this work and first saw this craft of weaving tissue in the South of India in Mysore, Karnataka. He brought some weavers from those regions to a small village in Rajasthan, called Khaitoon, where he employed them to weave this fabric full time. Today, it exists as only one particular type of tissue fabric blend called the Kota tissue.
The word tissue is derived from the old English word “tissu”, meaning a rich kind of cloth. This further has its origins in the Old French word, “tistre”, which loosely translated means, to weave. At its essence, tissue is weaved using very fine silk and metallic ribbons of fiber. In mixing the metallic yarns, traditionally in gold or silver, the fabric gets a shimmery look, which has been the reason for its attraction, especially by people from affluent sections of society. Even today, its significance and purpose remain intact because it is commonly worn by the higher echelons in India. Because of the fineness of these yarns, the fabric in totality, is extremely light in weight, is super soft and flow-y, and in many cases, even sheer. These properties make it apt for ethnic Indian wear. It appears to have a sumptuous texture and great draping attributes. With an almost flat crepe-like texture, they are perfect for all seasons (depending on their weaves and designs). However, what make tissue fabrics truly timeless are their comfort factor and the newer methods of weaving propelled with high tech fabrication units like the power loom and other modular machinery. The main advantage that these innovative technologies have lent to the creation of this fabric is the freedom to experiment with various blends. Thus, tissue fabrics with glass blends, 100% polyester and nylon have added qualities like higher tear resistance, moderate wrinkle resistance and complete shrink resistance with hand and machine washes. Though in most cases, dry cleaning is still the advisable method to maintain the long lasting sheen for the fabric.
This fabric has stood the test of time wonderfully as its vintage aesthetics and sensibilities continue to be adapted in creative modern ways. Contemporary fashion designers, with big names in the fashion arena, have experimented a great deal with tissue lehenga designs to either play up a kitsch aesthetic or go extremely traditional with graphic prints and motifs of flowers, landscape designs and sparkly embellishments. Other more traditional designs on tissue include; geometric or floral patterns in brocade using the Jamdani style of weaving, Kundan or Resham embroidery all over or restricted to thick borders, tie and dye techniques with silver, gold or multicolored thread work, Kashmiri embroidery as well as Zari and sequin work for very ornate looks. Opulence often goes hand in hand with the use of tissue fabric and consequently, is worn mostly at festivals, formal parties and weddings. Gold tissue lehengas are possibly the most common ones, especially those that are made with Zari or thread work. The opulence of the outfit will depend on the thickness of the fabric, and it is not necessarily considered bridal wear. A tissue bridal lehenga is rare unless it is a blend of fabrics but regardless, is covered in embroidery work in either Resham or Kundan techniques. The fullness of fabric and its blends have interplay in the season in which it is worn.
How to Wear a Tissue Lehenga Choli
Owing to its flowing quality, tissue fabric is highly comfortable to wear. However, lehengas surpass sarees in this context, their material are a far bigger novelty as they step away from the more traditional, stiffer lehenga silhouettes. More often than not, the stylization of this fabric is based on the color of your garment; whether one sports jewel tones of reds, oranges and greens or neutral shades of gray, cream and beige tissue lehenga choli, the preferred jewelry should always be in contrast to the ornamentation of the clothes. If the garments have intricate work, pair it with simple metallic earrings or necklace. If the tissue garment has work just on the border, you can opt for heavier Kundan or beaded sets.