The cosmopolitan Delhi denizens have reflected this tradition of an all-accommodative mindset, in the choice and setting of the costume-trends. A living example is the admired female costume of Delhi, Salwar - Kameez, which refers to a dress of baggy trousers, narrowed down towards the bottom, topped off by a long shirt or tunic like dress, and a cloth -piece called dupatta, covering the front upper portion. This costume of Salwar-Kameez, hugely popular among girls, is not inherent to India. The pattern of this Turko-Persian, or Turko-Mongol costume, was imported into the Indian horizon, with the advent of the Turko-Iranian dynasty of the Delhi Sultanate. Salwar-suits with sequined embroidery or semi-precious stones' embroidery, mirror-work, ari work, cut-work, or simple but elegant cut, prints, hand paints, all alluring on excellent fabric is the characteristic of salwar-kameez in Delhi these days.
A very noteworthy attribute of today's costumes of Delhi is that, modern innovations have started impressing their signatures on the traditional element of the costumes of Delhi. For instance, sari is the traditional Indian costume for women. But a modern-day Delhi sari, can very much be invested with design, shades and get-up. The same applies for Ghagra-choli and salwar-kameez. Ghagra is an oriental ankle-length skirt, and choli is the upper blouse. The distinct charm of today's Ghagra Lehenga Choli of Delhi is the modern designs, colours, and cut of a traditional attire. In fact this conjunction of the old and the new is the mark of excellence of the costumes of Delhi.
The dress-designers namely Ritu Kumar, Neeta Lulla and Sabyasachi Mukherjee are weaving magic with their embroidery splendour, including Zardozi, a Persian form of embroidery, done with gold or silver thread, and introduced by the Muslim rule in India. Exclusive silk materials, tissue cloth, crepe, georgette, chiffon and other types of fabric possessing a rich texture, work as the perfect base for shimmering Zardozi. Zardozi can be on sari, or salwar-kameez, ghagra lehenga choli, or Kurta-pajamas, and sherwanis, worn by men, and even on skirts and blouses, to obtain a gorgeous appearance.
Women of Delhi are well-aware of fashion-updates. Along with the ethnic costume of sari, or salwar-kameez or churidar-kameez (churidar is a body-hugging trouser), Western jeans tops, shirts, T-shirts, skirts, varying in sizes and shapes, blouses, and so on, crowd a fashionable and modern-day woman's wardrobe. These costumes are not only wear-friendly in the course of daily busy schedule of modern-life, but also enrich a woman's aura of style and smartness. Resplendent semi-precious jewelry, crafted by the deft craftsmen of the neighbouring Jaipur and Rajasthan, including fascinating Kundan work, at present compete with the original gold, silver, diamond or authentic gem-studded ornaments. They are increasingly becoming a woman's passion in Delhi.
When it comes to making themselves presentable in proper costume, the men of Delhi are not lagging behind. The senior and the venerated generation cater to the ethnic costume of India, namely, Dhoti, Kurta, Sherwani-salwar, Kurta-Salwar, kurta-pajama. They are not only keen to preserve the culture they belong to, but also assert the Indianness of their identity, as well as their values, which get well-communicated through this costume-type. Jawaharlal Nehru, the first Prime Minister of India, exhibited himself in Sherwani with Nehru collars (collar-style, popularised by him) and Nehru cap. His costume was helpful in emphasising his role as the national leader to the country.
The young generation, however, usually dress themselves in formal shirts, trousers, jeans, T-shirts and the other modern-day chic male garment, happening to be the daily costume, even workplace dress for men. However, on ceremonial occasions, men try out ornate Sherwani-churidars, Dhoti-Kurtas, or Kurta-Pajamas, frequently turning out to be a designers or a boutique's collection. Men sometimes adorn themselves in ornaments like bangles, wristbands, to augment their manliness, along with stylish wrist-watches. Traditional shoes, like, Nagra shoes, is usually worn with Sherwanis, to effect a royal outlook, on special occasions.
The expanding range and plethora of patterns, related to the costumes of Delhi, have made Delhi a dream-destination of the costume-lovers, allured by the availability of the recent in-things as well dignified traditional dress there. Costumes of Delhi make the style statement and are a yardstick for the clothing industry nationwide. Over all, the costumes of Delhi have manifold facets of cultural and ethnic identities despite its primarily global look.
(Last Updated on : 27-05-2010)
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