What is Indian style today?

What is Indian style today?
Indian models showcase creations by designer Manish Malhotra during Lakme Fashion Week (LFW) Winter/Festive 2015 in Mumbai on Aug 26, 2015.
PHOTO: AFP

Contemporary Indian designers create an extraordinary spectrum of fashion, from ornate bridal ensembles to minimalist daywear. Today, they are faced with the challenges as well as the opportunities of carving out a space in a market that also produces a large amount for international brands - many of which, such as Zara and H&M, are planning expansion across the country.

Amid India's rapid globalisation and economic development, fashion provides a lens onto culture and the transforming fabric of society, according to Parmesh Shahani, director of Mumbai's Godrej India Culture Lab.

"Fashion's enormous aesthetic diversity is a reflection of the polyphonous nature of our society, which now, as always, is in the midst of an exciting churn," he says. "It also has roots, which is why we see tradition holding its ground: whether in women wearing, and re-imagining saris, or men wearing the mundu, and in a lot of bridal fashion.

In a society defined by sharp contrasts between ancient tradition and uber modernity, Indian style is displayed in a mixing of ethnic and Western fashions. Kurtas are worn with jeans or redefined as linear, minimal dresses, lehengas are given peplums and kick flares, and saris are reinvented as 'sari-gowns' or styled with sharp blazers and classic white shirts.

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