Old-fashioned, New Style
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Kareena Kapoor's choice of wearing her mother-in-law's wedding outfit is both sentimental and fashionable.
By the time this column is published, actor Kareena Kapoor will wake up as the new Begum of Bhopal. Unarguably one of the most awaited weddings of the past few years — Kapoor and Saif Ali Khan, ridiculously called 'Saifeena'—will have finally got married.
Not only will she be heralded as royalty in circles where it matters, Kapoor's wedding also places her notches above the rest, fashion-wise. Her choice of wearing her mother-in-law, beauteous actor Sharmila Tagore's wedding gharara, shows what a true-blue fashionista the Kapoor girl has turned out to be.
For one, sustainable fashion scores high on the style charts. In these times of throwaway chic, even couture-style wedding lehengas are often a one-time wear. Designer Sabyasachi, whose lehengas start at Rs 3 lakh upwards, complains that brides sell his wedding lehengas for much less to master-tailors, who then remove the panels and re-align them, selling them as 'originals' for a fraction of the price.
It is Indian fashion's greatest tragedy that our extremely profitable wedding wear market is finding it hard to sustain itself with stories like these.
Secondly, 'heirloom' is pop-culture's newest buzzword. (Even certain tomatoes are called 'heirloom' among food snobs.) That's actually incorrect, since heirloom never really comes into and goes out of style. The very idea of a traditional bequest is a sentimental one. When it concerns itself with elaborate clothing or jewellery, it inescapably connotes unadulterated quality, absolute purity and the finest by-hand techniques. There is little more personal or stylish than this. Old-fashioned suddenly finds itself both 'new' and 'now'.
Ritu Kumar's gharara is historical alright. It's the finest picture in Kumar's book, Costumes and Textiles of Royal India, where it drew a collective gasp from my gaggle of friends and me. Tagore, rechristened Begum Ayesha, stood gloriously with her dashing cricketing hero, wearing, in turn, her mother-in-law Begum Sajida Sultan's joda. It was a pink-gold elaborate kurta and farshi pyjamas, with a green and gota border. (It made me fall in love with the farshi; for the longest time, only Kotwara designers Meera and Muzaffar Ali made them. Now, with our renewed romance with all things Mughal, Tarun Tahiliani and Manish Malhotra make beautiful ones too.) Kumar's office has said it took them four months and at least 10 artisans to restore the almost 100-year-old antique outfit for Kapoor to wear.
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