If you thought Indian politicians lack that fashion éclat, then here’s some good news. The Nehru jacket, worn by India’s first prime minister, Jawaharlal Nehru, has been listed amongst the top 10 global political fashion statements of all times by the Time magazine.
The magazine, in its current edition, listed the Nehru jacket with other famous trends such as American politician Sarah Palin’s reading glasses and Cuban communist leader Fidel Castro’s track suit.
The closed neck, hip length coat style jacket, which was first popularised by Nehru in 1940’s and 50’s, has been an iconic fashion choice by men of all age groups in India for decades now. The Indian design fraternity is happy with the recognition.
"The Nehru Jacket is our answer to the tuxedo. It’s just more elegant and sexier," says designer Malini Ramani. The jacket is also wowing the current crop of Bollywood stars. Actors such as Sanjay Dutt, Aamir Khan, Ranbir Kapoor and Saif Ali Khan have been spotted donning the outfit in the recent past. Designer Anita Dongre says, "Nehru jacket is a classic. It’s just not the Indian celebs who are in awe of it; the west is equally influenced by the trend."
While music band, The Beatles, wore Nehru jackets for their famous Shea Stadium performance in US in 1965, actors Steven Seagal and Samuel L Jackson are some of the other personalities who are often noticed wearing it.
Last year, in December, at the Chanel pre-fall 2012-Paris-Bombay show in Paris, designer Karl Lagerfeld showcased his interpretations of the Nehru jacket on both male and female models. "Nehru jacket is a popular global trend now. It provides the easiest and the most elegant solution to formal dressing by doing away with the shirt and tie," says designer David Abraham. "While the jacket was worn in neutrals like black and grey earlier, now, the younger generation is experimenting with it in various hues," says designer Ritu Beri.
More on the iconic jacket
The famous Nehru jacket comes from "the northern Indian achkan, a closed-neck, coat like garment usually considered a court dress for Indian nobility. It was when the jacket was marketed to Western audiences that it took the ‘Nehru’ title, the Prime Minister having popularised its style in public appearances during his tenure.
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