Karachista: The Ram-Leela style guide

Published: November 19, 2013
The mulmul lehengas are embroidered and fall beautifully. Once again a patchwork blouse and a lovely contrast of colours and textures.

The mulmul lehengas are embroidered and fall beautifully. Once again a patchwork blouse and a lovely contrast of colours and textures.

Oxford-grad Salima Feerasta is a social commentator and lover of style in any form or fashion. She blogs at karachista.com and tweets@karachista The mulmul lehengas are embroidered and fall beautifully. Once again a patchwork blouse and a lovely contrast of colours and textures.

Ram-Leela may have its faults as a film, but style-wise it’s a winner. Designer Anju Modi has created some wonderful costumes and the film is full of style inspiration for fashion lovers.

1. The ghagra-choli

The decision to dress Deepika Padukone (Leela) entirely in ghagra-cholis may have been an exercise in authenticity, but as a result, the signature Gujrati costume has never seemed more desirable. Our tailors, bodies and sensibilities may not be able to carry off the sexy, backless cholis Leela wears in the movie, but with less-revealing blouses, this is a trend that is going to have wings. Expect to see multiple versions of the lehenga-choli at every wedding in the foreseeable future.

 Sadaf Malaterre’s lehengas had a certain Ram Leela touch although the embroidery and detailing was missing.

2. Patchwork

Leela’s patchwork blouses were gorgeous. Banarsi fabrics in various colours were placed against silk and cotton. Dabka, zari and mirror work were used on different patches. The play of colours, textures and embroidery was sublime and this is a technique that should translate well to kameezes.

3. Mirrors

Mirror work is set for a comeback. The costumes in Ram-Leela use mirror work in a variety of different ways. A subtle mirror edging to an off-white blouse works just as well as mirror work enhancing colourful embroidery. Get inspired and use mirrors as an unusual accent for formal wear this wedding season.

4. Rang-barsey

Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s love of vibrant colours is infectious. The delicious reds, oranges and pinks of Leela’s wardrobe popped on screen. The film is awash with flamboyant colour schemes. Leela’s mustard yellow outfit in her opening scene, the classic red and black of her Holi outfit and the stunning red lehenga she wears for the Nagada song are all striking examples of how to wear colour, and wear it well.

5. Hand-loom

You can’t watch Ram-Leela and not be seduced by the fabulous drape of the outfits. Designer Anju Modi has mostly used a cotton gauze mulmul for the lehengas, a fabric that is difficult to find in Pakistan. Mulmul has a more open texture than lawn and falls very differently. It is traditionally hand-woven and holds its structure well. Pakistanis tend not to consider cotton as a formal fabric but Indian designers have long embraced it. Anju Modi pairs cotton with silk borders, silver work printing, embroidery and more. The effect is exquisite. Pakistanis aiming to get the look should aim to use lightweight handloom cotton, which is most likely to give the desired effect. Check out designers like Fahad Hussayn and Sadaf Malaterre who incorporated cotton outfits in their PFDC L’Oreal Bridal week collections.

6. The layered lehenga

The best lehengas or ghagras are all about volume. Layering can enhance this, and Anju Modi shows how layers can be used to add texture and colour as well as volume. The details aren’t visible in this picture but the heavily-embroidered top layer of this lehenga has a longer printed under-layer. There is a further contrasting layer underneath while a slit in the top layer showcases the pretty print of the second layer — poetry in motion.

This picture has it all — the layered lehenga, the patchwork blouse, popping colours and a sophisticated mix and match scheme.

7. Mix and match

Matchy-matchy outfits look so dated. One of the best things about the costumes in Ram-Leela was the way Anju Modi threw together contrasting colours and textures. For example, Deepika’s outfit for the Ishquiyan Dishquiyan song pairs a navy cotton lehenga with a colourful patchwork blouse and a hot pink silk dupatta. Another outfit contrasts soft blues and greens with an elegant tea pink hue. This trend is the perfect way to give traditional embroidery an edgy and modern feel.

This exquisite lehenga has layers of volume, print and delicate embroidery.

8. The twist

This is a day-to-night hair trend that’s already everywhere. Hair is twisted at the front and then held back in a loose braid or a bun. The effect is elegant and sexy. Watch out for it at mehendis, dinners and even at the school gate.

9.  Pleated jackets

These were a menswear item in the film; though I can’t imagine any man I know wearing them. There was something uber-stylish about the jackets though and they would look great on a woman, paired with jeans. It’s not necessary to replicate the style exactly, but a pleated off-white jacket with a pop of colourful ethnic embroidery is definitely on my winter wardrobe wish list.

An ethic jacket like this would look great with jeans.

10. Statement ethnic jewellery

Leela is much cooler than traditional Sanjay Leela Bhansali heroines and she doesn’t drip with jewellery. Instead, a few striking pieces such as a huge ring or some statement earrings accent her look. The Amprapali earrings Leela wears have been selling like hot cakes. Similarly, the huge earrings on Deepika in the promo pictures for the movie have become an Internet sensation, with various websites offering their own replica versions.

Fahad Hussayn has this Ram Leela look down pat.

Pakistani designers are already up to speed with some of the trends highlighted in Ram-Leela. PFDC L’oreal Bridal Week saw floral lehengas, sexy cholis and cotton lehengas — perfect for anyone wanting to channel Ram-Leela in the upcoming wedding season.

Oxford-grad Salima Feerasta is a social commentator and lover of style in any form or fashion. She blogs at karachista.com and tweets @karachista

Published in The Express Tribune, November 20th, 2013.

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Reader Comments (22)

  • Hilarious
    Nov 19, 2013 - 7:41PM

    But who are your intended audience , I mean buyer in country where black and white only rule . Better should try to design better Burkas and pathani kurtas.:)


  • LaLakiMKaa
    Nov 19, 2013 - 8:22PM

    u copy paste champs…bring something original from islamic history…


  • S
    Nov 19, 2013 - 9:28PM

    @ET feel a little shame from the comment from lalalkaMKaa?


  • Pravin
    Nov 19, 2013 - 9:52PM

    The author has excellent sense to understand the fashion and explain it to the dummies like me.
    I appreciated the article a lot and what it certainly doesn’t deserve is the negative, hateful comments.


  • Virat
    Nov 19, 2013 - 10:12PM

    @LaLaki : Islamic History is not Pakistani HistoryRecommend

  • Vikram, India
    Nov 19, 2013 - 10:24PM

    @LaLakiMKaa : This is a very cheap comment from a frustrated soul. The writer is expressing the elegance of the costumes used in the movie. Its nothing to do with religion.


  • Nov 19, 2013 - 10:38PM

    All I see are the colours of India.. Where is the Two Nation Theory?


  • rahul
    Nov 19, 2013 - 11:20PM

    Pakistanis are going mad behind Indian movies. Another example of it !!Recommend

  • mahy
    Nov 20, 2013 - 12:51AM

    embarasing it is… can we anything related to our culture ET?


  • lol
    Nov 20, 2013 - 3:52AM

    @mahy: what is ur culture… answer this question first…


  • Veena
    Nov 20, 2013 - 8:08AM

    I live in Canada and yesterday I watched the movie here and the show was houseful. The movie has an awesome cinematography, great sets, lovely dances and wonderful ethnic costumes. It is a celebration of vibrant colors. I loved the movie.

    This article is simply fantastic. While watching the movie, I did not pay so much attention to the details of fashion of the costumes. But the knowledgeable Author drew my attention to the beauty of the details of the costumes. Now, I want to see the movie once again just to look at the costumes from the point of view of a fashion expert like the Author and appreciate them.


  • Mirza
    Nov 20, 2013 - 8:45AM

    No matter where in Pakistan we live our forefathers were all born Indians. We do have a common culture and languages. That is why our weddings are not without Indian music, and customs. We never had an Arab culture. In fact there is no culture in Arab countries. Let us stop pretending that we have a culture that is similar to Arabs. They treat us worse than dirt and we still try to copy them.


  • Cosmo
    Nov 20, 2013 - 8:58AM

    ah, the million dollar question. What is Pakistan’s culture?


  • mks
    Nov 20, 2013 - 11:48AM

    You better leave these things to where they belong.


  • Khan
    Nov 20, 2013 - 1:43PM

    @LaLakiMKaa: Even your beloved arabs are incorporating indian colors and designs for their weddings.. so why should we pakistanis who share similar cultures and traditions forget about it?


  • Insaan
    Nov 20, 2013 - 4:51PM

    @LaLakiMKaa: u copy paste champs…bring something original…

    A multi-layered black and white burqa and a backless Male Kurta…

    to become a better human being, one needs to change inside…..thoughts and actions.


  • Dr Dang
    Nov 20, 2013 - 6:38PM

    @some people here ; Stop trolling . I appreciate Pakistani interest in Indian culture.


  • Mirza
    Nov 20, 2013 - 7:49PM

    To be honest I love these constumes and colors. These are the most sexy outfits in the world. Being a man I find them most attactive.Recommend

  • khan
    Nov 20, 2013 - 9:20PM

    Perhaps your ancestors were arabs.. but believe it or not.. Pakistan was a part of india not so long ago… and we should be proud. and embrace such wonderful things- not be in denial.


  • Galuru Ben
    Nov 20, 2013 - 11:45PM

    @Dr Dang:
    @Vikram, India:
    I think LaLakiMKaa is being sarcastic. He divulged sometime back that is neither Pakistani nor Indian.


  • Asif
    Nov 21, 2013 - 10:09AM

    Sindhi, Baloch & Pashtoon were never Indians!! All Sindhi & Baloch have their roots in middle east. Take some history lesson before posting such comments.


  • K
    Nov 21, 2013 - 6:42PM

    Pashtoon and proud… but I take pride in the vibrancy of colors, dancing, music…of India/Pakistan and our history together..


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