Traditional Indian dresses — suits, lehengas and saris — have been taken over by velvet, be it in the form of appliques or trimmings in borders. Bollywood stars, such as Aishwarya Rai Bachchan, Rani Mukherji, Madhuri Dixit and Urmila Matondkar have been seen putting their traditional foot forward, with a dash of velvet. “Velvet has always been used traditionally in lehengas, capes and shoes. Embroidery comes out beautifully in velvet,” says designer Rina Dhaka.
“Velvet trimmings have become popular this season. I have got calls from people in Dubai after they saw Aishwarya wear the kalidars with velvet work on it. People want the one-inch velvet border on a net sari or dupatta more than ever,” says designer Manish Malhotra.
There are various type of velvet available in the market — polyester, viscose and silk. Silk velvet is the most lustrous and expensive, but designers say viscose gives a similar effect at a lesser price. “Burnt-out velvet is gaining popularity too. It is a silk georgette fabric with little lycra and velvet embossing on it,” says designer Reynu Taandon.
Designer Raakesh Agarvwal says, “A suit or lehenga with a prominent thick velvet border suits tall people. The one-inch border doesn’t make it blingy or garish.”
While some prefer full velvet sherwani's and jackets with kundan work, there are seasonal limitations to it. Taandon says, “The fall of a full velvet suit or lehenga is never that elegant.”