Lehenga Choli : The Quintessential Celebration Wear
The affinity for the Lehenga
India is a place where the traditionalism and modernity go hand in hand. Only we know how to wear one garment in many different styles and ways. A lehenga is the second popular garment in India which is known for its regal appearance after a saree which we lovingly call ''the six yards of grace''. Regardless of its origin, Indian girls love a lehenga dear to their heart. Young women in India are so fond of this apparel that they can’t imagine an Indian wedding or a traditional Indian ceremony without a ravishing set of lehenga, Choli, and dupatta.
The story of the Lehenga
The story of a lehenga also known as lehnga is no less than a fairy tale. The craft work done on this fancy skirt is so regally epic and charming that every young woman fantasizes about it once in her lifetime. There no auspicious clothe than a set of lehenga choli and dupatta when you think of a costume for the most auspicious ceremony of a girl's life i.e. a wedding. This attire is a dream for a bride. The preparation of this costume for a wedding is like a celebration for the bride. In a nutshell, a wedding function is dull without this elegant and magnificent outfit in north India. However, fans of this dazzling ensemble are growing in the southern states of India as well and also in offshore. In the South where women drape silk sarees also known as pattu sarees for the weddings are replacing their traditional wear with the dreamy lehenga for their D-day.
Every outfit has a geographical origin, a lehenga has it too. This stunning garment has a royal history that fascinates us. This outfit has a royal background as it is said to be introduced in India by Mughals between 12th to 18th centuries. Though it is uncertain whether the form of the lehenga was the same or it is the evolved form we are using today. Other outfits that seem emerged from lehenga are sharara and gharara which are popular ceremonial wear in north –west Asian countries. Whatever be the origin of gorgeous apparel, the credit goes to Mughal era for giving us this royally rich garment.
The skirt known by different names in Indian regions
Even though it was brought in to India by Mughal society, this A-line skirt has become the identity of Indian wear now. This long skirt is known by different names in different states of India. A Ghaghra from Rajasthan needs no introduction. This three piece set of attire is a symbolic wear for the women of all age groups in Rajasthan followed by other states like Punjab, Haryana, Gujrat, and all southern states of Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, and Kerala where preferably unmarried young women wear this skirt with blouse and dupatta which is known as pavadi -daavani. There is a slight variation between a ghaghra and a lehenga. While a lehenga is made with no pleats, a ghaghra is stitched with multi-pleated panels around the waist. A ghaghra is usually of ankle-length and most comfortable to wear on daily basis for the women in Rajasthan.
A fashion garment always undergoes a constant change as per the demand of the society and time. The artisans (tailors or fashion designer) always look for an inspiration to bring newness in their creation and transform the traditional wear duly. This ethnic long skirt has been experimented and innovated in various ways for many decades. Today, a variety of designs and styles like Jacket style lehenga, Mermaid style lehenga, Panelled or kalidar lehengas, flared, half saree, and straight cut lehengas etc. are available in the online and local marketplaces to give you many alternatives of special outfits to choose from. The use of this designer skirt is not limited to just marriages anymore; with a slight modification in layout, women are trying this attire for casual wear too.
This royal lower garb has been modified and reshaped regularly; however, the elegance of the traditional three-piece costume is still intact. Love for this ensemble amongst young women is still intact. Fashion experts are dedicated to maintain the elegance, authenticity, and popularity of this garment and look for new ways to keep the fabric in vogue every time.
Generally, this fabric is worn on special occasions such as wedding, parties, and festivals that demands heavy traditional jewellery to match up with. Finely crafted designer jewellery or authentic Indian temple jewellery is compatible with the ceremonial wear. On the other hand, handcrafted funky jewellery, artificial silver jewellery, and ethnic jewellery can be well paired with light weighted native lehenga choli worn on Indian festivals like Navratri during dandiya festivity.
Tale of the fabric
India has a rich legacy of indigenous silk and it is the home of cotton and these are the two fabrics that vastly used in the making of a lehenga. Brocade, silk, cotton, velvet, chiffon, georgette, silky satin, mulberry silk, and net fabric are the other material that are used for the base of the traditional attire combined with stonework, silk thread, and embroidery work.
The show stopper
A pair of lehenga, choli and dupatta is the first choice of any girl when she thinks about marriage. Fashion innovators bring fresh designs to make their creation to make it more glamorous, fancier, dreamy and desirable for the brides. The changing fashion trend may bring fusion in this garment, but the authentic lehenga would never change its charm and will remain the show stopper for many more years to come.