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Fashion: Life in a Retro Retro fashion
Deepika Padukone at Cannes in retro fashion. Photo courtesy: Deepika Padukone Instagram

Fashion: Life in a Retro

India Blooms News Service | @indiablooms | 09 Oct 2023, 11:10 am

Sometimes ‘going back’ makes for happier times with liberal doses of nostalgia.  The  current trend of Retro fashion is a reflection of that sentiment, says Anju Munshi

Nostalgia is a common emotion. ‘Those were the days’- you often reminisce with misty eyes, never mind that there were elements of unhappiness or difficulties that you had experienced at that certain period.  Psychologists point out that falling back on nostalgia is a means to tackle a currently stressful time. It is a common human tendency as people generally tend to filter out  more unpleasant memories and like to retain the happier ones.

The current obsession with Retro fashion- in apparels, lifestyle statements, movies, etc. could have a lot to do with this tendency of harking back to times past. Take the recent hit film Rocky aur Rani ki Prem Kahani. Director Karan Johar liberally uses songs of the roaring 60s in Bollywood to build the mature love story between Dharmendra and Shabana Azmi.

In fashion, he goes back to the chiffon sarees that heroines wore in that period even in the coldest Kashmiri landscape- as Alia Bhatt does fleeting across in designer retro fashion sarees, (note that not in a single scene she wears a salwar suit or a pair of jeans though she belongs to the urban elite of Delhi).

Bhatt with her chiffon saris and low-cut sleeveless blouses recalls an era when Sadhana and Sharmila Tagore draped themselves with sarees with matching sleeveless blouses.

‘The saree is a retro wear, but the blouse is contemporary with a low neck and a front knot creating an instant appeal’, says a movie buff, who loves replicating the filmi attires by showing them to her tailor.

“Styles and fashions of the past are back in our lives,” agrees Shrabani Basu of Soundarya, a fashion house and a modelling centre, Kolkata. ‘‘To resurrect things from the past from our existing wardrobe which we have inherited as family heirlooms, like capes, mufflers, caps and old saree blouses with long sleeves and high necks, is a big challenge. It requires confidence and a firm belief and the films help us establish it till it becomes a trend.”

The definition of retro is anything that evokes a fashion trend of yesteryears. The contemporary scene in the world of fashion in our fast-changing cultural milieu and overall, in our living and lifestyle, is an interesting amalgamation.

Sarees today are also worn with jackets, Kurtis,  Tshirts, et al. From an attire that wasn’t seen as a very progressive and fashionable one by the current generation to being a show- stopper is a reincarnation of the good old six yarder.

Gayatri Desai, a young homemaker, observes that make-up too has become a retold story of the 60s: “Kajal lines now stick out beyond the eyelids, making the eyes look winged.”

Remember Mumtaz, Sharmila Tagore, Helen, etc. of the 60s and 70s when this eye make-up was the raze? 

Kavita Ahuja, a documentary filmmaker, finds that besides the  winged eyeliner,  other  popular wardrobe statements from that period, polka dots and zebra lines are back in vogue too. ‘The men in the 60s through the 70s had flared pants called ‘bell bottoms’ and big collars called ‘dog collars’; they also wore floral shirts. All these  are worn with equal aplomb today and is a testimony to the fact that yesterday is here once more.”

Palazzos and co-ords with big patterns are also in today, thereby taking us back to the bell bottom days .

As for accessories, colourful beads, flowers in the hair,  thick chokers,  scarves, hair bands, dangler earrings or big round baalis in typical Zeenat Aman style, are also back.

Oversized sunglasses and mock spectacles with different coloured frames is another trend.

“Today such glasses are a rage. They are not expensive as there is no power added as recommended by an optician but are simply worn as a fashion statement,” says an avid beautician and a socialite.

The shimmery outfits worn by erstwhile actors who enacted disco scenes are back with Sharukh Khan in Jawan, his soon-to-be released movie.

Old  wine in a new bottle?

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