Indian politicians can rarely be called flamboyant or flashy. But today's leaders seem to be a trendier lot. A look at the sartorial tendencies that rule politics today.
Designer stuff like Gucci and Dior, Armani or Harrods, Rolex or Mont Blanc are not what normally come to mind when we think of an Indian politician. But it's time to take a look at the changing image of the ‘for-the-people' leaders who do not shy away when it comes to making a style statement. Whether, it's a fashion week, a social gathering or a photo shoot for a fashion magazine, our politicians are everywhere, flaunting edgy attire or watching the chic stuff carefully. What can be better for fashion when Indian politicians flaunt it like never before? The change in this dressing style is not just an indication of what people want them to look like but also a freedom to satisfy their own style wishes.
Indian leaders, especially young politicians, are establishing the image of a leader who is a classy looker yet down to earth when it comes to public affairs.
Take the younger Turks of Parliament. Agatha Sangma, the youngest MP, wore a regional costume for the oath-taking ceremony but prefers classy western wear during the Parliament session. On the other hand Jyotiraditiya Scindia, whom designers like Rina Dhaka and Ritu Kumar admire, is always spotted wearing branded eye accessories with sharp, edgy jackets. Sachin Pilot's constituency may be in the rural interiors of Rajasthan but his style in Delhi is both casual and formal. He carries off a simple classic kurta-pajama with as much elegance as a suit or branded shirt that shouts fashion. “What's wrong with dressing smartly? Are leaders banned from doing so? I'm not into opulence when it comes to fashion but I like neat edgy cuts,” says Pilot.
Well said, but the list doesn't end here. Some leaders are known for their unique styles: Jaswant Singh with his shoulder strap shirts and off beat colour combinations, Brinda Karat and her splendid saris, Sonia Gandhi and her crisp cotton saris, all presented in a contemporary way. Today Jatin Prasada reflects style from the word go, Dayanidhi Maran flaunts the corporate style with ease, Supriya Sule fits perfectly into her casual feminine suits while the ever gorgeous Hemamalini looks charismatic in her glamorously draped saris.
Designer Sunil Mehra of Study by Janak who designs for politicians like Ghulam Nabi Azad, Salman Khurshid and Bhupinder Singh Hooda, feels that only a well dressed leader is heard seriously. “I make no personal comment on politicians who dress badly but I strongly believe that a leader should look impressively dressed. He does not necessarily have to be a fashion plate but should go for smart cuts, and fine textures. My personal favourites are Sachin Pilot and Rahul Gandhi. Style and fashion began with Nehru who, I learnt, used to shop in London.”
Another well known leader known for his chic look, Omar Abdullah is a regular client of Sudhir Diwan of Diwan Saheb, a brand that's all about class and heritage. “Today politicians are well educated and travel a lot. This way they know the importance of style and statement. It's all about looking nice when you have to make your impression. Omar can carry off any attire well as he has a style sense. Often we tell him what's the latest in fashion and he is always open,” reveals Sudhir.
No matter how powerful, your style is the only tool to mark a lasting impression. Fashion is a giant canvas of styles; following it or not is a matter of choice!
A common assumption is that a politician's traditional attire is easy on the pocket. It's time for reality check! Whether it is the opposition leader's crisp cotton sari or the first lady's broad border sari, they all are select pieces from various parts of India. Of course, they are not pocket friendly!
Cotton is what most leaders go for; a comfort zone for a toned look. But when it comes to reality, such fine cotton clothes are generally of a good brand and expensive.