The first choice of every girl especially an Indian bride, Lehenga is not just an outfit that enhances a woman’s beauty but it’s also a symbol of culture and India’s long-lived tradition. From the Mughal era to the modern-day ghagra choli, it has undergone several changes without losing its essence and popularity.
Have a look at the evolution of lehenga through the ages and know how they were styled earlier.
Origin Of Lehenga
Although the history of this three-piece attire began from the Mughal era, there was evidence of people wearing this ancient outfit in the 1st century AD. It was then called Antriya, a bottom outfit that with multiple drapes and was paired with a chest band called stanapatta. The upper half of this attire was called uttariya.
Antriya was a regular garment for both men and women in those days. It later evolved into stitched lehenga and also served as a ground for dhoti and lungi. And not just Antriya, stanapatta became blouse whereas Uttariya transformed to dupatta.
Earlier, Mughal women were used to wear pajma, peshwaj, and dupatta which are somewhat similar to kurta and churidar salwar. With the arrival of the Mughals in India, several changes occur including the exchange of tradition and culture. One of the major ones was the modification of their attire.
Antriya got modified with the addition of patka, an additional piece of white cloth to add volume to the lehenga. This style continued till the 19th century and became popular not just among the royals, but also among lower and middle-class women too.
Touch of North India
By the end of the 19th century, the empire began to diminish but the tradition was followed up by the North Indians who took lehenga to a different level. Choice of fabrics and length started defining the classes and status of women.
Tribal women kept the length shorter whereas ankle-length lehenga was common among married women. Cotton and khadi fabric were common among lower-class women. It was the period when this outfit became a customary choice for the occasion.
Women from different states opt for different ways to style dupatta, even embroidery on the outfit became a way to enhance its beauty.
Lehenga During Independence Movement
Till now, the garment was very popular among women irrespective of their class, but with the rise of voices of female freedom fighters popularity of the lehenga declined. Only those living in the rural areas continued wearing it and those involved or associated with larger cities opt for sarees.
Soon saree became a new favorite and earned the title of the everyday outfit of the Indian woman.
It made a comeback in the 1990s with the Bollywood movies that showcase the beauty of Indian outfits as a wedding outfit. Besides movies, fashion shows have contributed much in bringing back their lost identity and popularizing them among everyone.
Lehenga fusion with a different traditional outfit has further raised its demands. From A-line to Fish cut, there are now ample varieties and choices that are becoming the favorite of fashion freaks.
Even though they have come so far in terms of designs and styling, this colorful attire would always find a place in everyone’s wardrobe.