NEW DELHI — Twirling lehengas and floor-sweeping anarkalis continue to attract would-be brides. But the dhoti skirt, a silhouette that reflects both traditional and contemporary aesthetics, is also becoming a hot favorite this wedding season in India, especially for pre-wedding celebrations, say designers.

A dhoti is typically worn by Indian men, and, over the years, designers have fused it with western silhouettes to bring out the now globally popular dhoti pants. A dhoti skirt, for women, is an interpretation which has found prominence as of late.

Designer Anita Dongre has launched her latest bridal collection, “The Wedding Diaries,” an album of memories of the modern-day bride. While the bespoke bridal couture looks feature lehengas, gowns and anarkalis, there is also a pink dhoti skirt to be paired with a bandi (crop top).

“A dhoti skirt is a fresh approach to classic skirts with its draped silhouette. This traditional yet funky option is extremely versatile and can be worn with a short tunic, crop top, bandi or even a trendy asymmetrical jacket,” Dongre told IANS.

Dongre, who will be presenting the collection at The Vogue Wedding Show in partnership with the Taj Group, to be held from Aug. 7 to Aug. 9 at the Taj Palace, New Delhi, also shared that though the trend is versatile and can be carried off by women of any age group, “women between the 22 and 28 age bracket have mainly been seen sporting this trend, more so in Mumbai across all professions.”

National Award-winning costume designer and stylist Niharika Khan also agrees that people are “willing to experiment” and that the dhoti skirt is a good option.

“You can style it with a cape or jacket. You can wear it with a chunni on top and a choli. There’s a lot of fun and play you can have and still look feminine in it,” said Khan, who designed costumes for Yash Raj Films’ “Band Baaja Baaraat.”

Fashion designer Anju Modi believes that nowadays unisex concepts in fashion are gaining ground, and dhoti skirts “too fall into this bracket.”

“It is a silhouette that reflects both the traditional and contemporary aesthetics. It’s sexy, comfortable ... and I feel that it is the personality that should be better matched to pull off such a strong and standout look,” added the designer, who has worked on the costumes for Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s “Bajirao Mastani.”

“On a lighter note, till now it’s all about who is wearing the pants in the house, but it will now also be who is wearing the dhoti,” she quipped.

According to Modi, any woman with a “confident demeanor can easily slip into dhoti skirts, irrespective of the region they live in or their profession.”

Anaita Shroff Adajania, fashion director, Vogue India, has also given a thumbs up to the trend.

“It’s a fun take on the skirt, works well with a kurta for a light mehendi or lunch. Its streamline silhouette adds length to your look. Add quirky jewelry to keep the boho mood alive,” suggests Adajania.

As the designers have given the green signal to the look, even some young would-be brides are happy to incorporate it in their wedding ceremonies, as indicated by a random survey done by IANS.

Ranjita Singh, 24, said: “Wearing dupattas can be annoying at times, so a dhoti skirt with a traditional top is fun and goes well with the wedding ceremonies. Maybe not on the wedding day but on sangeet or mehendi day or pre-wedding parties would be fun.”

Another bride-to-be, Leena Manchanda, 28, said she found Sonam Kapoor’s dhoti look in the “Abhi Toh Party Shuru Hui Hai” song from “Khoobsurat” suitable if someone wanted to make a unique style statement at an event when all eyes are on you.

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