In praise of the humble Kolhapuri | india | Hindustan Times
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In praise of the humble Kolhapuri

They're seen everywhere - from the ramps to the streets. Dhvani Merchant on Kolhapur's lucky mascot.

india Updated: Jan 30, 2008 17:42 IST
Dhvani Merchant

They're seen everywhere - from the ramps to the streets. Every self respecting Maharastrian owns one, while others sport them for their coolness quotient.

Both Cameron Diaz and Prince Charles own a pair. Yes, it is the Kolhapuri chappal. There was a time when relatives used to send Mumbaikars handmade Kolhapuri made in Kolhapur.

While a lot of people claim their love affair with the humble Kolhapuri started in Mahableshwar and Matheran, the fact remains that it has now made its way to the fashionistas of the big city.

Transitional
Sure, the omnipresent Kolhapuri chappal has undergone numerous transitions from its original avatar. Safe to say that it's been twisted to suit the Mumbai palette. Like once, they were available only in leather in light beige or brown with gold trimmings. But today, women are sporting them in different funky colours such as fuchsia and lime green, flat or with heels, and with silver and gold trimmings.

Something for everyone
They are an equal rage off the street, or even inside an expensive shoe store. A pair can be brought off the streets for around Rs 250 which makes them accessible to everyone. While the major shoe stores may retail them for a lot more.

The ones with heels add a nice Indian touch to a salwar kameez or saree. The flat ones still remain a favourite with the young college girls as they pair up fabulously with a pair of denims and tee.

While kolhapuris are preferred for their style, its comfort quotient is also very high. They are comfortable for people with a deep arch, normal arch and even flat feet.

Style quotient
They look casual and smart with jeans and shorts for men while women can wear them with anything and get away with it. However men's kolhapuris have still retained their original flavour minus the gold/silver trimmings. In case you want to retrace it to the original avatar, the dabbawalas can still be spotted wearing the original Kolhapuri.