Dr. Rajshri Shastri
Bhopal has always been a fashion conscious and one of the best dressed cities
Bhopal, the capital of the central Indian State of Madhya Pradesh, was also the capital of the erstwhile Bhopal State that was ruled by the Nawabs and the legendary Begums till its accession to the Indian Union after Independence. The Muslim culture had dominated the apparel choices in this historic city for a long time.
The “burqua” or the traditional veil of the Muslim womenfolk was in vogue and still is in parts of old Bhopal. It is worn either as the typical black robe or the modern universalized veil that comes with laces and in all kinds of sober pastel colours.
One can still see the elite women of Bhopal, who are no less modern in outlook than their counterparts across the developed world, sporting the traditional chikankari, embroidered zardosi, sequin suits and dupattas.
CHIKANKARI, the delicate Lakhnavi embroidery, has remained a big craze among the fashion conscious young ladies of Bhopal. The Chikankari has now evolved keeping the changing fashion in view and the modern Chikan embroidery now has bigger knots.
The age-old sari also remains the favourite fabric to drape the female body and accentuate the personality in Bhopal just as anywhere else around the globe. Draping of a sari is an art that lends grace and beauty to a woman and the women in Bhopal do excel in the art of wearing the sari complemented with matching and designer blouses. Fashionable ladies are going for spaghetti, off shoulder blouses. Chiffons, crepes, cotton, handloom and silks (during winters) remain their favourite choice of fabrics. Of course, linen saris are the latest craze. Heavy gold embroidery has also made a huge comeback, especially during the winter season.
The young generation of girls in Bhopal do not lag behind those in any other part of the world when it comes to fashion. Fashion also has become synonymous with chasing costly and exclusive brands. Fashion for most means maintaining pace with changing styles. One can spot girls and young ladies everywhere, in colleges, shopping arcades, eating joints, restaurants and discos sporting branded t-shirts, jeans, ethnic jewellery, matching accessories (bags, purses, belts, and footwear). Seems everyone wants to look like a Bollywood star or carry the look of their favourite celebrity.
It is an automatic corollary, because of the demand for branded apparel, major clothing chains like Marks & Spencer and H&M have opened their retail outlets in Bhopal.
These days, it is normal to see girls confidently moving around in ripped jeans, noodle tops, busters, capris, minis and tights. They certainly remain oblivious of the whistling roadside Romeos and prefer to shrug them off their pretty shoulders. Their choice of hairstyles also has come a long way from hanging plaits to very short nice prom looks, laser cuts and soft curls. The girls are also going for coloured streaks in silver, gold and burgundy as more and more of them are trying to look chic and trendy.
Truly the fashion conscious Bhopal women now represent the changing attitudes. In this global village the high flyers are setting the trend and women across the board are finding new ways to express themselves. From Burqua to minis and from salwars to jeans, the choice is endless and the canvas is huge when it comes to the different hues of fashion. Obviously in the 21st Century, Bhopal is keeping pace with fashion.