Bollywood fashion has always been a source of inspiration to hordes of budding fashionistas.
It comes as no surprise then that festive outfits, and everyday wear in India is sometimes Bollywood inspired clothing - a kurta that Deepika wore or a skirt that Kareena flitted around in.
Today, the Bollywood inspired clothing market is so huge and popular that there are small time designers and tailors who come up with replicas of famous Bollywood costumes within days of the movie’s release. While these trends change by the week with the change in the movies, there are many memorable and famous Bollywood costumes that have sparked off lasting fashion trends.
This is especially true of the films made post 90’s which had a dedicated fashion designer who put together the clothes for the movie. In this post we take a look at some of the clothes that have stood the test of time and been an inspiration to many a trends that are still recognisable, thanks to the popularity they enjoyed during their time.
The dresses that Kajol wore in Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge stand testimony to how simple Bollywood fashion was in the movies of that generation. The memory of Kajol in a full length sleeveless maxi dress paired with a crochet top, wavy hair and geeky glasses is something that is fresh in many heads even today. What we love about her look in the movie is that it is practical and perfect for journeys without compromising on style. As soon as the movie came out, there were plenty of Bollywood inspired clothing makers who churned out similar sleeveless dresses that could be paired with solid tees for a nerdy yet adorable look.
Kuch Kuch Hota Hai was a landmark in Bollywood fashion for it brought to the silver screen many international clothing brands. But the reason we mention it here is due to the magic that Manish Malhotra created with Kajol’s outfits. Talk about transformation from the tomboy next door to the gorgeous diva! Plain chiffon sarees paired with lace blouses meant that Kajol was looking demure and like a million bucks - a stark contrast to her tomboyish style in the first half. Scene after scene we saw her in both pastels and bright chiffons and it came as no surprise that this style created a lot of buzz in the Bollywood inspired clothing market.
If the Bollywood inspired clothing market during the 90s was as big as it is today, then we are sure that Madhuri Dixit’s aubergine colour saree from Hum Aapke Hain Kaun would have grossed as much as the movie did - such was the popularity of the outfit. The almost backless blouse that was the focal point of the song ‘Didi Tera Devar’ was all the rage among women after the movie came out. While some may scoff at the loud colour and design, we think that this brand of Bollywood fashion celebrates all things Indian and all things wedding - colour, bling and cheer - and they will never go out of style.
Around the time when Manish Malhotra made a foray into mainstream cinema with Rangeela, movies did not really have a dedicated fashion designer. He almost redefined Bollywood fashion with his work in Rangeela, so much that Filmfare created a new category to award the best Bollywood fashion designer from that year onwards. The movie transformed Urmila Matondkar into an overnight sensation and inspired women all over the country to wear knotted tops, miniskirts and hot pants - a trend that was previously simmering in the sidelines but never had a mass appeal.
One more feather in Bollywood fashion designer Manish Malhotra’s cap - Karisma Kapoor’s outfits in Dil Toh Pagal Hai for they were trendsetters in their own right. In functional dance clothing - lycra leggings, sports bras, tank tops, hot shorts and boots - Karisma oozed sex appeal without looking tacky. The sports luxe outfits that she donned in the movie were way ahead of their time and we see fashion magazines still talking about this trend. This Bollywood inspired clothing trend brought what was considered ‘gym clothing’ into mainstream fashion that was much coveted by young women across the country.
You have the world’s most beautiful woman, a setting in a colourful village in Rajasthan and plenty of songs and dances - what more do you need to create epic Bollywood fashion trends? Styled by Neeta Lulla in traditional outfits mirroring India’s rich craft heritage, Aishwarya’s sarees, ghaghras and deep cut cholis went on to become a national favourite after the release of the movie and can be counted among the most famous Bollywood costumes ever. We are big fans of the Bandhini sarees and the mirror work cholis that Aishwarya wore and carried so elegantly in the movie.
Soon after the release of Bunty aur Babli, the clothing market was flooded with replicas of the famous Bollywood costume sported by Rani all through the movie. Vibrant collared kurtas paired with patiala pyjamas and matching dupattas, with the look completed with oxidised silver jewellery and a jhola bag - this ensemble was a huge hit with women across the country for its sheer wearability and similarity to the ubiquitous salwar-kameez.
Jab We Met was a movie with a famous Bollywood costume that comprised of harem pants teamed with t-shirts. Now this is quite an unconventional combination and a pleasant departure from regular Bollywood characters that are often steeped in glamour and picture perfect style. Kareena’s look in the movie has been an inspiration to many young girls, making this famous Bollywood costume a trend that was embraced when they wanted to break norms.
If there was a movie that set standards in Bollywood fashion, then that would be Cocktail. Usually there are one or two famous Bollywood costumes that stand out in a movie but this one movie had so many striking outfits worn by all the protagonists that it would be very hard for us to pick one. Bollywood fashion stylist Anaita Shroff styled Deepika Padukone to perfection to portray the glamorous and sexy wild child to the T. Short skirts, skimpy tops, messy hair, blingy dresses and oodles of confidence meant that Deepika was looking very on point throughout the movie. The movie also brought Aztec prints to fashion and they went on to dominate everything from clothes to accessories.
English Vinglish was not just Sridevi’s comeback movie but it also generated a lot of interest in sarees. While the saree has been the go-to outfit in Bollywood to create an aura of glamour and extravagance, this movie celebrated silk and cotton sarees with an everyday appeal. We loved watching Sridevi portray a regular woman of supreme strength, holding her own in a foreign country in India’s traditional attire. Sridevi’s sarees sparked a renewed interest in block printed sarees going to prove that women will forever want to wear Bollywood inspired clothing in a bid to look like the onscreen divas they idolise.
If you notice, most of the outfits that made it to our list have been those from before the internet boom. Now that technology provides easy access to the latest Bollywood fashion, both on and off-screen, all one has to do is to send a picture to one’s dressmaker via email and social media and within no time you have your own Bollywood inspired outfit. The problem with such ample choice is that a single movie does not get the opportunity to establish a lasting fashion trend unless it features clothing so exceptional that the whole country makes a beeline for it. Whether this is a good sign for Bollywood fashion or not, it is too early to say. As for now, we can celebrate the fact that these are good times for fashion in general.
Image credit: youthconnect, pinterest, filmfare, deepikadewan, indiatoday, dailymailuk, indiansarees.us, dressesdesignsdecors, fashionlady, rediff