Theres a frenzy of last-minute activity in the pandals, the dhaak beats have sounded and Calcutta seems to have transformed into a city of lights. The magic of the Pujas has begun to unfold.
If the Pujas have much to do with what you wear, then youve surely been hunting down some designerwear to take you through the next five days, right?
How about taking your cues from the citys top designers and checking out how they intend to dress up when Durga comes calling? As can be expected, they are putting their best foot forward and we caught up with some of them at their aesthetic best. Cool, quirky and yet never far from the traditional, the style gurus have been weaving in their signature touches into their own Puja wardrobes.
They have quite a line-up of ensembles planned: from urban chic to always-in-vogue traditional wear. Theyre trend-spotting for you as well, with some useful advice on what your wardrobe should include during the festive days.
Its the first day of the Pujas and the look is essentially non-ethnic. Designer Abhishek Dutta suggests that you go for a casual and relaxed look if youre planning an evening out with friends. Going OTT (thats over-the-top) is seriously out. So girls, pick smart, knee-high or calf-length dresses in happy colours like grape, tangerine orange, coral pink or ivory. Embroidery is a definite no-no. Accessorise with a chunky bracelet and keep make-up to the minimum. Summer jackets or high-collared jackets paired with denims or slim pants are in for men. Go for contrast colours but nothing too flashy.
Dutta, who doesnt personally like to wear bling, has settled for a chilled-out look for himself. Hes going for a grey, high-collar linen jacket with black channel seams on the shoulders and run-stitch detailing. Ive used a pair of leather strips instead of buttons to hold the jacket, he says. Hes completing the look with grey, herringbone slim-fit trousers and, to add a touch of colour to the ensemble, a bright red laser-cut scarf. My double-layered moccasins are a matching red too, he says.
One fashionable day down and four more to go. With the festivities picking up momentum, its time to turn to the subtle yet chic Indo-western wear. Designer duo Dev R Nil suggests that you take recourse to the old times and classic styles — traditional weaves in saris, and kurtas worn with wide, loose pyjamas. Instead of sticking to the traditional reds and whites, play with unconventional colours like peach, coral and turquoise. And it doesnt matter if you hit the club in traditional clothes — its the Pujas after all!
Dev has chosen a black cotton kurta with tribal appliqué patterns in white. Hes teamed this with a pair of black linen palazzo pants and black patent leather shoes. I like the look as its very classic and stylish, he says.
Nil has donned an ombre-and-olive kurta in cotton silk, with appliqué work detailing. The olive tone is offset with classic, off-white woollen harem pants. Nil says: The look is traditional, yet very trendy. Im also wearing a pair of grey suede chappals from our collection that are comfortable and stylish.
The celebrations are reaching a crescendo and Agnimitra Paul suggests a gorgeous look for Ashtami evening. Bring on the kanchivarams, ikkats, patnis and patolas and pair them with retro blouses, perhaps in polka-dotted brocade with full or quarter-sleeves and collars. The colour palette should be in bright shades like emerald or olive green, grey, purple, rose pink or canary yellow. Go for chandelier earrings, chunky rings and wear your hair in a low bun. Men can go for angrakha linen kurtas with light embroidery paired with printed dhotis and check or striped Jawahar coats (lookalikes of the waistcoast that Nehru made famous).
Paul chooses a conventional off-white-and-vermilion colour palette for the auspicious Ashtami morning but adds a quirky touch to her sari. The red net sari has a bright vermilion-and-green zardozi border, while the pallu is in off-white tissue-georgette with multi-coloured zardozi booties.
She says: Ive experimented with the jacket blouse. It looks like a regular sari blouse from the front but is like a long jacket at the back. Its embellished with zardozi work. The look is completed with a sindur bindi and traditional gold jewellery.
The festival is coming to a close and youve experimented with a range of looks. For Jaya Misra, fusion never goes out of style, as she recommends simple jackets with long, flowing skirts and anarkalis, accessorised with costume jewellery including balis, jhumkas and chunky rings. She recommends that you pick bright shades such as red, orange and fuchsia.
Come Nabami and Misra will step out in a chiffon skirt in nude tones with a gold zari and crochet-lace border. Since its minimalist and light, shes teamed it with a red velvet bustier and long, panelled jacket in heavy tissue. The jacket is heavily embellished with Swarovski crystals and multi-coloured, chunky stones and its net sleeves are worked with velvet cutwork. Im going with Swarovski-studded red stilettos, a big diamond-and-sea pearl cocktail ring thats my own creation and a gold nath for a dramatic effect.
Its the last day of the revelries and the mood is a touch sober. Shantanu Goenka suggests that you bring the classic and contemporary into your look. He recommends clothes that you can mix and match, with just a hint of the festive and the traditional. For instance, you can pair a bandhgala or a waistcoat with denims as well as a pair of breeches. Rimi Nayak, on the other hand, recommends long, flowing silhouettes that complement your figure. Simple designs and basic colours are very in, she says.
Goenkas going with a pair of black, stretch-cotton breeches paired with a black tee and a vintage, red jamevar waistcoat with a built-up neckline (its without collars). The jamevar weave is beautiful, whether youre wearing it with a pair of jeans or breeches, he says. Black leather mules that complement the outfit complete the ensemble.
Nayak has chosen to go with a collared navy blue crepe kurta, draped in her signature garbow style (thats essentially a flowing garb). It has bright yellow piping, which breaks the solid blue tone of the kurta and is paired with a yellow net churidar to complete the fusion feel. A pair of heavy diamond earrings along with a diamond bracelet and cocktail ring is perfect for this look, she says.