Lucknow chikan work kurtis
Originally uploaded by lools.
Kurtis seem to be one fashion trend that is not going out of fashion anytime soon. From men and women, the young and old, simple Maharashtrian officegoers to snazzy, Sindhi party animals, everyone in Bombay is donning a kurtiover traditional churidhars, trendy parallel pants, skirts, pants, jeans, etc. The popularity of the kurti is, I think, due to the fact that it really allows a lovely Western/Ethnic look, comes in a variety of fabrics, styles and patterns and can be quite flattering to the Indian figure, if well styled.
The only kind of kurti that appeals to me is the one that has Lucknow chikan work. My mom used to wear these back in the 70s and has a favourite store at Opera House from where she has been sending me the most exquisite pieces that many of you may have seen me wearing around Manhattan. I accompanied her a few days back to check out the store first hand and see why it was so easy for her to splurge on every trip.
Lucknow Chikan International is the city's most famous purveyor of exclusive chikan garments for men, women and kids. They have a spanking new showroom on the first floor of Purshottam Building in Opera House. On display is a dazzling array of kurtis, salwar kameezes and sarees of different colours and patterns. Once you decide on a few materials and patterns, the firendly staff is more than happy to overwhelm you with lots of options. I was most drawn to the new pure silk kurtis with lovely ethnic motifs in gorgeous combination colours.
Chikanari is a type of Indian embroidery for which the craftswomen in Lucknow are best known for. Chikan comes from the Persian word "chakeen" which means rendering a delicate pattern to the fabric. Noorjehan, the beautiful wife of Mughal emperor Jehangir, is credited with introducing the craft to the region.
It is the simplicty, grace and elegance of the chikan embroidery that has allowed it to stand the test of time in terms of fashion trends. The floral and geometric designs lend the fabrics a wonderful versatlity to mix with various styles. Many other regions in India now produce chikan work but the centuries old craft handed down through generations of kaarigars in Lucknow have enabled the city to reign supreme in this crafts form.