Designers are allowing their creativity full play these days. Be it western clothes, fusion wear, or ethnic wear – every kind of accoutrement is looking different. Even traditional clothes like sarees, salwar kameez, suits, lehengas, and dupattas are getting a new look with designers experimenting with colors, mix of embellishments, materials being used, motifs, and cuts. This has resulted in apparel looking radically different while staying true to its roots. This is especially true of anarkali suits and lehengas. Traditionally dupattas have been embellished. However, the manner it is being done now will make you sit up and take notice.

Marrying Tradition to Modernity


Phulkari is an embroidery tradition of Punjab, which is distinguished by the brilliance of the colors used as well as the silk thread used to stitch. Geometric designs, flowers, and leaves were used on clothes, particularly the dupattas, which were to be part of the trousseau of the bride. What is new about phulkari dupatta designs now is that they encompass birds, animals, human figures, the sun, moon, the objects of everyday use, and everything found on the earth. The art of Phulkari lies in the manipulation of patterns, colors, and the length of darn stitches.

What is striking about Phulkari is that shading is done with the horizontal, diagonal and vertical stitches instead of changing the shade of the thread’s color. Earlier khadi or similar homespun material was used. Nowadays, georgette, chiffon, crepe, and silks like tussar are being used to create Phulkari dupattas. Sun- shade pattern, coriander design, jasmine picture, and rainbow pattern are the most popular patterns of Phulkari.

Be Different

A tussar silk dupatta makes even a simple salwar kameez suit look singular. While some of them have a brocade border, others have exquisite work done on them by way of embroidery interspersed with tiny pearls or other gemstones like opal and jade. Yet others have traditional motifs or mirror work done on them. The ones which are outstanding are the ones with kantha stitch done on them in silk threads of different hues of green, pink, brown, magenta, ivory, orange, yellow, and red.

Nakshi kantha embroidery might be interspersed with gold or silver brocade net in leafy designs. However, brilliantly colored threads are used on materials that are ivory or fawns colored or are some similarly neutral color. Bright pinks, golden yellows, or deep reds need only a well-designed border, may be in a contrasting color like purple or royal blue, to avoid looking over the top. You want to look stunning, not gaudy.