The voluminous anarkalis are back, in a more ostentatious avatar

Two summers ago, anarkali kurtas dominated nearly every upscale fashion store as well as shops at General Bazaar in the city. Designers, both in the city and nationwide, felt that anarkali kurtas may not rule for more than a year.

The flowy, voluminous anarkalis have returned with a vengeance and the fashion industry expects it to sail through summer. The avatar is a wee bit different this time. Rather than panelled kurtas, expect to see anarkalis dominated by one or two colours at the most, with full sleeves and wide necklines.

The B-town brigade has been sporting it like never before. Madhuri Dixit, Aishwarya Rai (she sported Sabyasachi-designed anarkalis in Raavan and followed with a host of anarkalis at many public events of late), Sameer Reddy, Genelia, Raveena Tandon, Urmila Matondkar, Kalki Koechlin, Anushka Sharma, Kajol and Rani Mukherjee are just some leading women who've taken to anarkalis. In most cases, the glamour brigade showed off ankle or floor-length kurtas accessorised with bold earrings.

“The traditional, more conservative trend is back. We've seen 3/4 sleeve blouses for saris as well and anarkali kurtas are most often with full sleeves. The showbiz likes to wear anarkalis ankle length or floor length to make it look more decadent and ostentatious,” says designer Puja Sahney.

Designer and former NIFTian Ishita Singh suggests chiffons, georgettes, mul and soft cottons with kalamkari's to give an edge to regular anarkalis. “You can even use a variation of two fabrics to get interesting textures in an outfit. I tried using kalamkari for anarkali and the result was as stunning. We will get to see variations of anarkalis not just in weddings this summer but also for casual outings during the day time,” she says.

While anarkali kurtas have trickled down from the swish set to working women, Puja points out that most women prefer knee-length or calf-length kurtas. Contrary to notion, she feels these kurtas befit even shorter women. “Everything depends on the cuts and the fabric. In summers, anarkalis with kota, soft cottons and mulmul work well. You can change the lining given inside to cut the bulk. A gentle flair can actually make a shorter person appear lean and tall,” adds Puja.

Ishita sounds a note of caution, “Shorter women need to be careful in choosing anarkalis and avoid fabrics and cuts that make them look shorter.”

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