Modern Extravagance

Dazzle with your trend-setting fusion style this Diwali as we give you tips on how to nail the Indo-western look!

British writer Rudyard Kipling (of ‘The Jungle Book’ fame) may have believed that East and West would never meet but fast forward to Diwali 2016 and it’s fusion fashion that’s rocking runways, red carpets and celebrations all over the country.

The Best of Both Worlds

Indo-western ensembles are probably the best ensembles to wear this festive and wedding season because they are high on both the comfort and chic quotients. Popular fusion silhouettes include ethnic kurtis teamed with flowy palazzo or dhoti pants and dramatic maxi skirts worn with crop tops or off-shoulder blouses. Such silhouettes flatter every body type from petite to curvy or boyish. These outfits are also great to have when travelling abroad as they are both reminiscent of incredible India and practical to carry.

Designer Duds

A great way to spice up a modern silhouette and add an extravagant touch is to make sure that the fabric is rich in color or embroidery. Traditional Indian colors are all derived from nature and passionate reds, vibrant yellows and leafy greens abound. Designer Payal Khandwala who is a favorite of Bollywood stars Karishma and Kareena Kapoor, Neha Dhupia and many more, uses opulent brocades in electric Indian hues for her festive collection. Khandwala’s sought-after fusion ensembles include billowing, long skirts and floor-length kurtas with high slits which can be worn with trendy palazzos. Mumbai designer Payal Singhal and Delhi’s Rishi Bansal both transform white (commonly associated with more somber occasions in India) silks into festive wear using age-old mukaish and mirror-work embellishment. Also stunning are Rashmi Verma’s draped sari-dresses in silk. With a ruched pallu attached to a long gown. These are timeless Indo-western pieces.


One of the most popular hash tags on social media, ‘OOTD’ stands for ‘Outfit of the Day’. If you want to incorporate the Indo-western trend into your daily ensemble, then ditch the expensive designers for your daily chores and put together your own ethnic mélange from what’s already in your closet. Choose a long skirt in an eye-catching print and team it with a cold-shoulder top in a neutral hue. Remember prints with elephants, peacocks, paisley (mango) and tribal (Warli-inspired) prints in bright hues always look bohemian. Pick a plain white tee and team it with your favorite distressed denims. Add a funky waist-coat with Gujarati mirror-work for some native flavor. Shop from one of the many independent fashion labels that work only with indigenous fabrics. Labels like Khara Kapas, the Pot Plant, Runaway Bicycle and Nicobar make shirt-dresses, jumpsuits and more using hand-block printed and hand-woven materials. Complete these looks with metallic kohlapuri sandals or wedges and silver jewelry.

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Shibi Kumaramangalam
Shibi, like the song in ‘West Side Story’, is oh so pretty, witty and bright! Modest too, but we can discuss that later. A Chennai native (34) who now dwells in the capital, there is nothing she loves more than a good story. Except for a good handbag. A self-professed shopaholic with impeccable taste, the young women’s rights lawyer and mother was ‘discovered’ by an Indian Express editor in Chennai at a famous boutique eight years ago and she has not looked back since. Fashion writing allows her to combine her two greatest loves and Shibi has been published in The Hindu, the Indian Express, Femina, Scroll, Bodahub, Hi-Blitz Magazine and many more. A militant optimist, Shibi abhors armchair activism and suggests that everyone ‘Be the Change’ instead of complaining about Modiji. Or run for POTUS – anybody seems better qualified than Trump. She also loves animals and has orchestrated many a doggy/kitty rescue; her most fervent hope is to see the status and treatment of both animals and women improve in India and the world over. Also, she requests you to RECYCLE and to REUSE. Climate change is real, people. Jai Hind!