Indian fashion is a minefield of interesting varieties of garments, textiles and designs. The awe-inspiring magnitude and ramifications of Indian geography, history and culture impact every aspect of life and society, which includes clothing styles.
Many of the traditional garments of India have a long and illustrious history, but none is as glorious and enamoring as the lehenga choli. It has a watershed history, which has invariably been a central part of Indian fashion.
Goes Back To Mughal Era
Lehenga history begins with the Mughal era, which is when this garment was first worn by women. It flourished during that period, quickly becoming the most commonly worn garment not just amongst the rich, upper-class women and royals, but also amongst the masses. The lehenga origin story is lost in the mists of time, but what is certain is that these garments very quickly became the most popular Indian outfits for women.
In states like Rajasthan and Gujarat, this garment quickly became the most popular form of dressing for women of all ages and classes. Throughout its long, checkered history, lehenga choli designs have experienced various alterations.
The outfit worn today is different in many minor aspects from the one worn centuries ago. There are also many more varieties, from the classic ones still worn in the villages of Rajasthan to the innovative, modern ones seen on fashion ramps and red carpets. This is because in the last couple of decades, Indian designers have really expanded the scope of their business and designs. One of their biggest areas of focus is the rediscovery of traditional designs and patterns.
Hence, many designers are delving into different periods in the history of lehenga cholis for finding and redeeming the pride of beautiful traditional designs, which have not been in vogue for many years. In addition to this, they are also incorporating interesting western aesthetics to create stylish, fusion outfits.
This majestic outfit consists of a long skirt, with or without pleats fixed at the waist with drawstrings, and a well-fitted blouse called the choli. It generally leaves a small portion of the waist uncovered. It is completed with a flowing dupatta, which is elegantly draped around the outfit to induce some aesthetic beauty and modesty into the outfit.
It’s Like A Mother Indian Ensemble
The history of lehenga choli is not really linear; in fact, it is like a history of not one garment but many garments. The ghagra choli history from Rajasthani clothing annals documents the evolution of the voluminous, circular cut lehengas. The tale of the simple Patu Pavadas worn by little girls in south India starts with the emergence of the silk weaving industry in the south. Thus, there are many interesting, regional aspects of Indian lehenga history.
Today, of course, one can find a tremendous variety of interesting lehenga cholis in the market. From the exquisitely decorated designer lehengas to the colorful festival lehengas, the range is quite vast. The skirt style can vary on the basis of the silhouette used; mermaid cut skirts have a sensual fit, tight till the knees and then elegantly flaring out. A-line skirts have the typical, straight-cut look of western skirts while circular lehengas have a wide-spreading fall that is both voluminous and structured.
Bridal lehenga history is one field that has not experienced an extreme evolution of designs. They are just as rich, ornate and exquisite in their look today as they were in the days of Maharajas and Nawabs. However, nowadays, designers have started including unusual colors like cream, ivory, grey and even black along with the typical shades of red, pink and green.
The kinds of designs and patterns have also evolved and expanded over the course of lehenga choli history. While rich gold thread designs (zari or zardosi work) have always been the most popular, other styles like ‘ek taar ka kaam’, buti work, cut dana and gota patti are also widely employed to create exquisite, intricate designs of artistic, nature-inspired motifs and patterns. In terms of fabric, cotton and silk continue to be the traditional favorites. However, today, chiffon, georgette and crepe are also used. Velvet, net, tissue and other such unusual materials are often layered to create gorgeous, formal wear lehenga cholis.
Indian Lehenga’s Evolution
Styles and trends have a tremendous influence on the lehenga choli, just like any other outfit. The seasonal and in-demand cuts and designs are bound to change. Bollywood has a huge role to play here, not just in terms of demarcating and defining the popularity of an outfit, but also in terms of the jewelry and accessories worn.
For instance, the revival of the popularity of traditional Kundan jewelry with bridal lehengas is largely due to the use of this jewelry style in Bollywood historical epics. On the other hand, many women prefer to accessorize lehengas in a more western, glamorous style with sparkling Polki earrings and diamond bracelets.