Palazzo pizzazz

Palazzo pants as featured in the Fall/Winer line of Abraham & Thakore. Photo: Sandeep Saxena  

More than anything, trousers have been a barometer of people's changing whims and, occasionally, needs. Bell-bottoms, pleated pants, flat-front pants, pedal-pushers, capris, shorts, boy shorts, boyfriend jeans, low-waist jeans, drop-crotch pants, zouave pants, slacks, breeches, jodhpurs, leggings, jeggings… With permutations and combinations in length, cut, fit and width, whatever could be achieved has been. We're not sure if that's what Rod Stewart meant when he said, “…your career fluctuates all the time, up and down, like a pair of trousers.”

Specifically referring to women's wear, palazzo pants are this season's hot new silhouette. It must come as a sigh of relief for people not taken in by the ugliness of last season's zuoave pants and, before that, the sexy (albeit mildly claustrophobic) leg of a pair of skinny jeans. Palazzo pants derive from ‘palazzo', loosely the Italian term for ‘palace', probably referring to the feeling of luxury that emanates from having swathes of fabric moving around you.

Following fashion's rule of what goes around comes around, palazzo pants are a throwback to the 1970s. Its antecedents could be many things — the bell-bottoms of the Hippie era or the gaucho pants (calf-length pants with flared legs) that the legendary Yves Saint-Laurent introduced as part of his efforts to introduce androgyny in fashion.

Internationally, Spring/ Summer 2011 lines started the reinvention of palazzo pants this time around. While they came in pretty florals at Dolce & Gabbana, Fendi's was a more grown-up version in solids. A line where palazzo pants comprised a prominent part, however, was the Spring/ Summer 2011 line of New York designer Richard Chai. The designer, previously known for his work at Marc by Marc Jocobs, stuck to minimalism in a beige-charcoal-nude palette, and gave the most apt preview of what the season would be in terms of floaty palazzos.

Closer home, the palazzo pants emerged the most prominent entrant in the recently concluded Wills Lifestyle India Fashion Week's Fall/ Winter 2011 edition in the Capital. Everyone from Tarun Tahiliani, Niki Mahajan and Kavita Bhartia to Abraham & Thakore, Anand Kabra, Sonam Dubal, Manish Malhotra and Sabyasachi gave us their own variants. A difference more of context and pairing than of form. So, while crepe wool palazzo pants formed part of an Orient-themed collection at Tarun Tahiliani, Niki Mahajan rendered them in chiffon. Abraham & Thakore gave us a version that stood halfway between zuoave pants and palazzo pants. Manish Malhotra, in a collection that sought to draw attention to the embroidery techniques of Kashmir, in a clever pairing, put together asymmetrical anarkalis with palazzo pants, lending the former a modern, resort feel. For high-street shoppers in Delhi, there are stores like Zara (for summery floral ones). The just-presented Cruise 2011-12 collection by Chanel at Cannes reinforced that, at least for a season or two, the palazzo pants are here to stay. Other upcoming resort lines will tell you.

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Printable version | Sep 21, 2021 11:41:02 AM |

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