International fashion is still digging into the treasure trove that is India to seek fresh inspiration. The latest discovery seems to be the high-waisted British era gurkha shorts, also known as ‘Bombay Bloomers’. New-age versions have popped up in various international fashion shows, including the recent Milan Menswear Fashion Week.
The knee-length pants, staple attire of the gurkha regiment in pre-Independence India, were slightly flared, but designers who took the inspiration for Spring-Summer 2010 tapered the shorts at the hem and kept it a little longer.
The basic gurkha shorts were usually made of khaki twill, featuring a high waistband with side buckles. Now designers have given them colour as well as an updated, slimmer silhouette. At Pitti Uomo, the prestigious trade show for men’s clothing held in Florence, the Japanese-origin label Haversack had them. Nigel Cabourn, the English designer, was inspired by the photographs that his father took while serving under the East India Company in the 1940s. The shorts seemed omnipresent at the Milan Menswear Fashion Week, with labels like DSquared2, Emporio Armani, Moncler and Etro showing sequences in knee-length tapered gurkha pants.
India’s Rajesh Pratap Singh, who is participating in the Paris Menswear Fashion Week, agrees that the trend is a strong one for the summer of 2010. “Whether you call it ‘gurkha pants’ or ‘knee-length cropped pants’ is about individual choice,” says Singh, but he stresses that the ‘nomadic or adventurous’ look is big.