I just got back from a trip to Kerala, my home state. After having lived in Delhi for the past 18 years, Kerala was heaven with its rivers, backwaters, sea and the lush greenery.
I have been part of the fashion industry for as long as I have been a journalist. So, right or wrong, I tend to look at the way people on the street are clothed with the same interest with which I look at models on a fashion runway. So, during my stay there, which I spent mostly in Thiruvananthapuram, Cochin and Palakkad, I looked at the way Keralites dressed.
No one really seems to care about the ‘style’ part of the clothing and the overriding factor seemed comfort. But as compared to most cities, people were neat and clean.
Men on the street either wore dhoti (mundu) and shirts or trousers-shirt. Women wore saris or set mundu (handwoven two piece sari) and young girls salwar kameezes or jeans with tops. Among this segment, I rarely saw anyone who could be described chic or sexy. Most seemed quite content with their ill-fitting jeans (something I felt real bad about). Most heads were drenched in pure coconut oil and as always, and when they walked past they left a trail of odour in the air. They just didn’t seem to care. But I also saw long pleated skirts worn with puffed sleeve blouses that looked quite nice.
I went to the Guruvayoor Krishna temple and saw some of the prettiest young ladies in their Kasav saris at 3 am in the long queue waiting to see the Lord. No doubt, those who wore those fabulous handloom cotton saris with the golden border (now comes even in silver) looked terrific. And they didn’t emanate coconut oil smell.
The hostess of a local Malayalam TV’s most popular music reality show looked real poor when it came to her dressing sense. Channels really need qualified fashion advisors. They seem to randomly source free clothes from local stores and this results in a no-fashion scenario. I remember one of the country’s leading hair and makeup expert Ambika Pillai telling me how badly they needed styling. With such a strong literacy rate, a bit more education on fashion will surely go a long way in making the God’s Own Country truly stylish!