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Clothes make-over for men

Gone are the days when only brides shopped for their trousseau or the bridegrooms wore just a suit for a wedding reception. Today's smart and fashion-conscious bridegroom goes in for the well-turned-out chic look. And traditional Indian wear is in, writes RADHIKA RAJAMANI.

ETHNIC ENSEMBLE: The much in demand dhoti-kurta. - Photo: K. Ramesh Babu

THIS IS an era of designs, designers and designer wear. The tribe of consultants and couturiers is increasing day by day with the escalating demands. In the earlier days it was brides who went shopping for their trousseau. Today, the movement has gained momentum with designers catering to their tastes.Bridegrooms are turning fashion-conscious and are willing to spend large amounts of money on their wedding wear.

Till about a decade ago the male preferences were restricted to a dhoti-kurta or kurta-pyjama for the traditional ceremony and a suit for the reception. Today there is turnaround. The young men are willing to spend time and money on their wedding wardrobe. Weddings were great social occasions in the past but now it is the trend to show off wealth and celebrate in style.

And what has been the prime instrumental factor? Movies - emphasise most of the designers and shop owners of the twin cities in unison. For the last few years the sporting of ethnic wear - sherwanis, long kurtas, achkans or even jodhpuris by the film heroes has determined wedding wear. The influence is phenomenal say Delhi-based Shashank Devsare (who retails his signature wear Vaibhav Shashank for men from his store at MPM Mall), Jagdeep Shokeen of `Con'traditions', Vivek Khurana of `Origins' and Devanand Jethwani of `Meena Bazaar Exclusive' (Model House, Punjagutta), as most people want to go in for such clothes. Kabhi Khushi Kabhie Gham has had an extraordinary impact, echo Vivek Khurana and D. Jethwani. The `designer saga' has brought people under the spell of ethnic wear. There is a considerable increase in sales of traditional wear and it has "stimulated the craze for stoles, particularly the crushed tissue ones worn by Shah Rukh and Hrithik. So much so people are clamouring for stoles and teaming it up with anything even a dhoti and a sherwani," says Jethwani, who had to enhance his collection of stoles in a hurry.

For the South Indians the dhoti (with or without kurta) is generally a must for the main nuptial ceremony. "Some team it up with a stole," says Jethwani.Whereas, the north Indian goes in for a sherwani or kurta-pyjama. About eighty per cent of the grooms go in for a sherwani which suits tall men. The not-so-tall men opt for jodhpuris. These days grooms pick up three to four outfits on an average for different ceremonies from the sangeet/mehndi, nuptial ceremony and reception. The dhotis are even pre-stitched to facilitate easy wearing. It has become a common practice for other family members to get outfits similar to the groom's. "We made 27 similar outfits for an NRI party which was performing a marriage in the interior of Andhra Pradesh," says Jethwani. "In some instances, the families fly down the designer to couture the outfits," says Shashank.Sometimes families bring design books and magazines and ask for designs to be replicated. Besides ethnic wear men go in for the regular suits or designer suits, trousers and shirts to be worn on other occasions.

What is increasingly gaining ground is the advice sought by grooms on what to wear. Opinions are taken on shades, fabrics, styles according to Jagdeep Shokeen and Shashank. In most cases these days, the grooms' attires are coordinated with those of the brides. "For instance, for the mehndi ceremony the groom wears green kurta-pyjama (with a long or short jacket) as the bride wears green," says Jethwani. The new showroom of Kalanjali provides ample space for bride and groom to sit and select their clothes. "The idea is to offer one single store for the groom and bride to shop," says Ch. Sailaja, Managing Director Kalanjali.

The fabrics normally used for the ensembles are silk, brocade, heavy crepes, jamevars, muga silk, tussar, polynosics (polyester-viscose) and other blends like polyester silk. In most of the boutiques the outfits can be picked up off the shelves (if the sizes are readily available) or could be made to order.

Kalanjali and Meena Bazaar stock readymades of well-known brands like Denis Parkar and Rod. The ensembles are embellished with embroidery (zardozi and other stitches), sequins, Swarovski, colour stones and fine detailing (like pin-tucks) besides buttons. Shashank uses Swarovski crystals which are particularly manufactured for him at Austria. Raymonds and Shopper's Shop have a line of designer wedding wear. "Most of them are made on order with embroidery if required after the fabric is selected," says Y.K. Patel of Raymonds Retail Shop, Model House Punjagutta. As far as colours go cream and gold are the most popular in ethnic wear. For all wannabe grooms stoles are a must these days thanks to K3G. The stoles are available in crushed crepes bandhinis, silks and crochet. Most boutiques and outlets dress a man completely - from head to foot - in other words from the turban to the dress and mojris (jhootis which can be picked off the shelves or made to order).

The prices of the outfits vary according to the fabrics and embellishments. On an average, about three outfits would cost about Rs. 35,000 (minimum). However, there are reasonably priced, elegant outfits available at Kalanjali and Meena Bazaar.

Today's fashion conscious man wants to look smart, chic and elegant. The prerequisites for that well-groomed look are taste and expenditure.

If the modern man is spending money why not let him spend for the important day in his life. If brides can spend to look their best so too can the grooms.

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