Why should festive wear weigh you down? At a lush wellness resort in the Western Ghats, we showcase our picks of this season’s most buoyant, breezy ‘lehngas’. Put on those sneakers and run free
Photographs: Sahil Behal Styling: Akshita Singh Location: Dharana by Shillim
If you have attended your fair share of big fat Indian weddings, there’s a chance you have come across a bride who wore a lehnga so cumbersome that she could barely move.
A popular piece of clothing in Indian bridal and festive wear across north and west India, the idea of the embellished ankle-length skirt—usually worn with a choli (blouse) and dupatta (long scarf)—has metamorphosed over time. Traditionally crafted from embroidered brocade or silk, designers have been experimenting with its construction and surface ornamentation to give the silhouette a fuller shape or flare. This means lehngas are weighed down by heavy embroidery and embellishments. It is not uncommon for one that costs in the region of ₹2-10 lakh to be worn with a crinoline or tulle underskirt. The result? Immobility.
With the minimalist trend gaining popularity, designers are increasingly bridging the gap between traditional craftsmanship techniques and modern textile engineering to offer lehngas that let the wearer move, run and dance.
At the India Couture Week this July, Tarun Tahiliani’s couture collection Bloom featured lightweight lehngas designed for the bride “who prefers dancing away the night in their wedding ensembles". “We want you to wear this again, with a plain shirt, a turtleneck, something simple—why should you not?" said Tahiliani.
Anita Dongre’s couture collection Jaipur Love also featured many options for lightweight lehngas. Over a call, Dongre clarifies that the lightweight lehnga trend isn’t new for her. “Ever since I founded the brand eight years ago, I have been creating lightweight lehngas for the modern Indian bride to feel comfortable and move around in. The brand’s patrons buy clothes to last beyond their wedding days because they are sustainable consumers," she says.
As the festivities roll in, we showcase our picks of this season’s most buoyant, breezy lehngas. Since it’s all about feeling good, our models, Suzanne and Scarlet, run free—with breaks for tea— in a lush wellness resort nestled in the Western Ghats.
Traditions evolve, and we encourage you to pair your lehngas with denim jackets, sneakers and structured tops. And to run wild and free.
Models:Suzanne Baker/Anima Creative Management, and Scarlet Raphael Achangadan/Feat.Artists