The concept of culture is ever flowing. It changes with time, and so does its representation. Moreover, after one point, the representation turns to the media, and that is when we call it fashion. Come on let us face it, we do not see what Aishwarya Rai Bachchan wears, we only see what she wears when the media shows us. On the contrary, the celebrity itself, after a point of time becomes a source of this fashion, I.e. the media wants to show everything that the personality wears. Thus, we are stuck in a vicious cycle of fashion following, and what interests this article is how the following of Indian fashion has been taken outside, and who has taken it.
The Propaganda Machine
In the western societies, Indian fashion is a thing of awe. In addition, the prime source of providing it is through Bollywood. We have reached the point where movies like ‘500 Days of Summer’ has a classic Bollywood-ish dance sequence, and it is obvious how the west is being influenced by Indian culture. And as a result of this influence Indian traditional dresses are being recognized by the population of varied countries. Many of these movies have the actresses posing in traditional ‘sarees’ or ‘lehengas’. And as the elegance of these dresses is unputdownable, the Hollywood stars have taken to wearing these as the culture has spread throughout the west.
Along with the movies, we have filmfare festivals happening in major American and Australian cities. As there is quite a fan following for the Bollywood stars in these countries, people turn up to watch the festivals. And many a times the stars sport Indian traditional ‘kurtas’ or ‘lehengas,’ and the majesticity of these dresses carry the traditional culture of India into the west.
Let us take a look at the Indian traditional wear that the west has taken to:
• Party wear: The western party wear has changed with time, and is now taking in the essence of Indian party wear, which has its lavishness and grandeur at the same time. These gowns and single piece dresses can make on the centre of attraction at a party, and maintain the classy look in unison.
• Sarees: Indian Sarees is one of the biggest attractions in the west. Many a times a Hollywood actress has been seen to sport Sarees on red carpets or at wedding parties. The different types of Sarees have had their influence on the western women and the most famous ones are Benarasi, Phulkari, Kanjeevaram, Chanderi Silk etc.
• Lehengas: This is typical Indian traditional dress for both the married and unmarried women at any party. But to the west it has become one of the most attractive dresses of all for all ages. The open belly dress has added the sexiness to the classiness, and has taken over the western fashion world like a virus.
• Anarkali suits: Talk about a blast from the past. These royal suits have been dug up from age-old Bollywood films, and have now returned to fashion due to the western fancy. They are available in bright colors and lavish designs, to give you just that extra bit of fashion you need.
• Kurtas: The right wear for the royal man. Many Hollywood hunks have taken to the monochromatic embroidered Kurtas as their party wear.
The Modern or Classic Debate
One of the most interesting factors of the Indian traditional dresses is that it is a bridge between the modern and the classic. Most fashion followers are in a dilemma regarding which stream to follow. But the Lehengas and the Kurtas have paved the new path, which gives the best of both worlds. Bollywood has endorsed a traditional yet modern outlook throughout its time.
The People Running the Show
If we take a look at the previous year, movies like ‘Chennai Express’ and ‘Yeh Jawani Hai Dewani’ have been huge hits in the U.S. box office. And the ‘Sarees’ worn by Deepika Padukone have turned out to be great fashion statements in the Hollywood as well. Manish Malhotra’s costumes have turned to be huge market demands in the west. In addition, Samidha Wangnoo, the fashion designer of ‘Yeh Jawani Hai Dewani’ has taken to the fashion market in the U.S. The fashion trends of Deepika Padukone, Aishwariya Rai Bachchan, Sharukh Khan etc. are religiously followed by the U.S. fashion industries.
While the west is taking to the Indian culture, the Indian youth has taken to the western ones. We see jeans and tee shirts and other western wears being sported by the growing generation of India. Maybe this is the true essence of multiculturalism. And while we are at the apex of glory while the westerners sport our colors, we however raise an eyebrow to many forms of westernized clothing.
Without knowing, Bollywood has turned into the official representation of the Indian traditional fashion. And in the process it has become the harbinger of multiculturalism and has brought back the cultural domination which the nation was proud of during the golden era. We have celebrities like Paris Hilton, or Jessica Alba sporting Indian traditional wear, and it is at these moments that we truly understand the power of motion pictures and the numerous roles it can serve.