Through every decade, every year, fashion designing in Bollywood has remained vibrant, setting ever new standards, starting new trends. Always a major vitalising factor in Bollywood films, fashion designer’s have often surpassed themselves in keeping pace with changing styles and trends. Now, Bollywood’s fashion designers have started making quite a distinctive mark on the international fashion scene as well, with Indian creations being widely appreciated at world premiers, prestigious international film festivals likes the one at Cannes, and of course Oscar ceremonies. India’s exceptionally rich and variegated textile heritage along with abundant raw material availability has without doubt played an essential role in the rnage of styles that have emerged over the years.
In the 1950’s, yester year actresses like Madhubala, Meena Kumari, Nargis and many others were dressed in sarees and short sleeve blouses, while actors like Dev Anand, Dilip Kumar and others too wore the simply designed clothes that were in vogue during that period. The 1970’s saw the era of Anarkali suits and the Disco Age. Male actors like Rajesh Khanna, Amitabh Bachchan, and Vinod Khanna preferred western attire with fitted blazers. The 1980’s saw a change in the development of fashion at Bollywood. While heroines like Rekha, Sridevi, Shabana Azmi and many others, were seen usually wearing sarees in plain colours. fitted jeans were the new trend followed by stars like Sanjay Dutt, Sunny Deol, Rishi Kapoor. Not to forget the white pants with white shoes presented by Jeetendra, a style which gained considerable popularity among the public. The movies which gained noticeably through their on-screen fashion statements were Umrao Jaan, Mr. India, Maine Pyar Kiya, Chaalbaaz etc.
Today, Bollywood has become one of the leading the trend setters for fashion in India, with many people copying and wearing the outfits which feature in films. Several fashion designers in Bollywood have made it big and are sought after as much as Bollywood stars.
Manish Malhotra, for example. He has become one of the top notch fashion designers in Bollywood. Acclaimed as a leading Bollywood fashion designer, his signature cuts and designs have found many takers. His clients in Bollywood include Shah Rukh Khan, Kajol, Urmila, Kareena Kapoor, Aishwarya Rai Bachchan and Priyanka Chopra. His creativity and designing expertise is on display in films such as “Raja Hindustani”, “Dilwale Dulhaniya Le Jayenge”, “Kuch Kuch Hota Hai” and “Kaho Naa Pyaar Hai”.
Neeta Lulla is a very well known fashion designer who has gained acclaim in India as well as overseas. She has won many awards for her designs, including the Screen Awards, Zee Cine Awards and the National Film Awards. Her clients in Bollywood include Aishwarys Rai Bachchan, Juhi Chawla, Hema Malini, Sridevi and Isha Kopikkar. Her trend setting designs can be in a number of films such as “Jodha Akbar”, “Hum Dil De Chuke Sanam” and “Devdas”.
Surily Goel’s Bollywood career as a Bollywood fashion designer began when she designed clothes for Preity Zinta for “Salaam Namaste”. Her clients in Bollywood include Preity Zinta, Mallaika Arora Khan and Soniya Mehra. Her creations made an impact in movies like “Salaam Namaste”, “Ta Ra Rum Pum”, “Saawariya and Blue”.
Sabyasachi Mukherjee, known for his different elegant styles, is much sought after today. His styles and outfits are very different from those of other fashion designers. His clients in Bollywood include Vidya Balan, Aishwarya Rai Bachchan and Rani Mukherjee. His designs were seen in movies like “Black”, “Paa”, and “Ravan”.
Vikram Phadnis is also amongst the most sought after fashion designers in Bollywood. A choreographer, he soon realised he had a talent for fashion designing and made a switch that was widely welcomed. His clients in Bollywood include Lara Dutta, John Abraham, Sushmita Sen, Aishwarya Rai Bachchan, Bipasha Basu, Priyanka Chopra, Katrina Kaif, Salman Khan and Amrita Arora. His designs can be in movies like “Bhootnath”, “Mujhse Shadi Karogi”, “Salaam-e-Ishq” and many more.
With so many talented fashion designers occupying centre stage at Bollywood, fashion designing, once associated mainly with Hollywood is now very much an integral part of Bollywood. The public now expects not just good films from Bollywood, but ever new fashion creations and statements as well.