From the sari revolution and henna tattoos to the lehenga going couture — India has been on Hollywood’s mind for a while, and the inspiration continues. Often in news for her wacky fashion choices, pop queen Lady Gaga decided to go the desi route recently on a night out in New York City. Complete with a maang teeka, haath phool, nath and her own take on a sari drape, the singer looked like she was heading for a Bollywood-themed party.
“Gaga was never the diva to play it safe. She transcends the pop icon route by re-inventing herself at every event. While the world takes a stereotypical take on how Indian jewellery and drapes are supposed to be worn, Gaga’s brilliance shines through,” says designer Anand Bhushan. On the other hand, designer Nikhil Thampi says, “I was a fan of her over-the-top looks, but I guess it was a fad. This look of Gaga, for me, is not pleasing. But I respect her for being so experimental.”
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And, she’s not the only one. At the Woodstock-styled Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival held a few months back in the US, fashion divas Selena Gomez, Kendall Jenner and Vanessa Hudgens championed hipster-chic, from bindis to ikat print kaftans. “These influences are re-iteration of the fact that global markets have opened up. There’s access to different cultures now via e-commerce and social media, and accessories like maang teekas are now available at high-street stores too,” says designer Farah Sanjana.
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Some, however, believe that Indian influence should not be clichéd. “Indian influence is exciting if it’s re-interpreted. Fashion inspired by an understanding of India merely as a land of maharajas and Bollywood is creating a parody of the culture. In that sense, Gaga looks more like a character rather than someone inspired by India,” says designer Nachiket Barve.
While model Kendall Jenner opted for an elaborate nath at a music fest in California, Selena Gomez showed off her sari, bindi and ethnic jewellery on Instagram account on a visit to Nepal. Artist Iggy Azalea also made news with her Bollywood-themed video, Bounce, in which she dressed up as a desi bride.