Diwali fashion
Real zari sarees from Shanti Banaras Image Credit: Supplied

Certain things are timeless — like a Banarasi saree or zari-gota work on your saree or lehenga.

And then, certain things change. Want to wear handloom? Break away from traditional silhouettes. Love to drape sarees? Why not try a cape with it or a saree gown, or even a radically new silhouette? Love ornate Indian textiles? Why not turn them into trousers?

Diwali fashion essentials for men and women are bordering on the traditional, the inventive, the innovative and even the radical this season.

For women

For some, tradition is sacrosanct. Khushi Shah, Creative Director of Shanti Banaras, a brand whose innovative work with Banaras sarees and textiles is well-known, says, “Wearing bright-coloured Banarasi pieces, whether sarees or kurta sets for Diwali, never goes out of style. The other classic that I personally love is the real zari sarees. Very often, these real zari sarees are part of a family heirloom that has been passed down through generations. Our contemporary sarees such as Rangkat, have silk and gold spun and woven into intricate geometric zari work.”

Twists to tradition make festive fashion an edgy statement. Designer Archana Jaju plumps for picking pieces that are timeless, such as shararas or anarkalis in prints and with handmade motifs, but in trendy colours such as lime green and mustard. “We have hand-painted Kalamkari pieces that are highlighted with intricate thread and mirrorwork embroidery.”

Whoever said traditions and trends don’t go together needs to check out the opulent jumpsuit and gown trends, such as Ayesha Sohaib Malik’s couture embellished mirror-work jumpsuits, or Studio Medium by Riddhi Jain, a reimagination of the Jamdani saree woven with contemporary metallic yarns and Bandhani detailing, worn in a fluid drape with a top or a shirt, rather than a blouse. The entire look is paired with boots for a fierce festive look.

A saree from Riddhi Jain’s Studio Medium Image Credit: Supplied

Young designer, Dolly J. says, “The easy and minimal-effort look is a good go-to style: Dressy kaftan, sequinned drape saree, or just a jumpsuit. Invest in a floor-length statement Chikankari for an understated style, or pair your printed skirt with a cape or an embroidered crop top.”

Designer Anju Modi’s tips on how you meld classicism with modernity — pair opulent ethnic wear with velvet blouses, ornate shawls, balloon-like trousers, cropped jackets and bold tops. Designer Manish Malhotra, who put Deepika Padukone in an intricate Chikankari cape worn over a lehenga and blouse, and Ranveer Singh in a black sherwani with white embroidery worn over a contemporary black kurta, adds, “Traditions can be melded into a contemporary way of dressing without taking away its beauty and heritage, as we have done with the cape over lehenga look.”

For men

Asymmetrical kurtas, sheer shirts, and sleek bundies dominate festive fashion.

Designer, Nachiket Barve says, “Menswear for the season can be embroidered, or include a sheer shirt, or it can be a black Chanderi kurta set exquisitely with gota patti embroidery.”

Organza-wrapped shirts, embroidered kurtas and equally embroidered trousers are designers Abu Sandeep’s recommendations. “The style should be easy and comfortable and the fabric should be as light as air, with subtle detailing.”

Diwali fashion doesn’t necessarily have to take a traditional route. Designer, Rajesh Pratap Singh talks about marble print on shirt jackets, coordinated sets, shirts with quirky graphics, cropped jackets, and fitted trousers as great options.

Pairing it all with jewellery

Gemstones can be your go-to jewellery style this season, instead of that old favourite — diamonds. Vandana M Jagwani, Creative Director, Mahesh Notandass and Founder of Vandals, says, “Women are looking beyond emeralds, rubies, and sapphires. Various other gemstones have come into play, such as opals, pink sapphires and multi sapphires. Heavy statement pieces of jewellery are on trend. Pick a heavy necklace such as a choker or any long earrings.”

At the other end of the festive spectrum are dainty pearl chokers, collar necklaces and big rings. Chandbalis continue to be the bright sparks, in keeping with the trend of bold and without-any-limit fashion. n