Hindustantimes wants to start sending you push notifications. Click allow to subscribe

Tale of the time-travelling sharara

By Ismat Tahseen
Jun 05, 2024 05:16 PM IST

From royals to the big screen and red carpet, the Mughal-inspired shararas and ghararas are making a comeback.

Harking to the Mughal era and worn by the likes of Hindi film stars Madhubala and Meena Kumari, shararas and ghararas quickly became wardrobe classics due to hits like Pakeezah (1972) and Bahu Begum (1967). Comprising wide-legged pants, a tunic and dupatta, the ensemble gained greater popularity in the 1990s and recently, made for a stunning visual spectacle in the web series, Heeramandi. We ask royals and fashion designers what makes the garments the go-to for everything from red carpets to weddings.

SHARARAS vs GHARARAS: WHAT'S THE DIFFERENCE?

Meena Kumar in a sharara from the romantic classic Pakeezah (1972) and (R) Aditi Rao Hydari in a modern rendition of the sharara with a cape (Instagram)

Confused between a sharara and gharara? While a sharara is fitted at the waist and flows down freely without any joints, a gharara is fitted from the waist to the knees. The garments are also a showcase for traditional Indian embroidery from dori to mukaish and still hold a place of pride in royal families today.

A ROYAL WARDROBE

Explore Crickit, your go-to platform to catch the game, anytime, anywhere. Click here!

Nawabzadi Aaliya Sultana Babi from the royal family of Balasinor, tells us about her collection: “I have always worn shararas and ghararas and some are heirlooms, handed down from my dadis and nanis and I treasure them. There is also the farshi gharara, which is an elongated version which literally sweeps the floor. It’s still worn in Lucknow, Rampur and other places.” 

Nawabzadi Aaliya Sultana Babi in her beautiful sharara (Vinay Panjwani)
Explore Crickit, your go-to platform to catch the game, anytime, anywhere. Click here!

Aaliya shares how she’s done minor tweaks to suit the times, “I have tried to improvise with the size and changed the kurti or dupattas, but I maintained the core of it.”

For her, it’s a must-wear when it comes to wedding functions. She states, “I prefer a gharara over anything else and I wear it very often. At weddings, I have people comIng up to me to ask, ‘Kahan se liya?’, 'Which designer has made this?” and I smile as this is almost 70 years old,” she says.

Ayesha Raashid Ali from the Bhopal royal family calls the garments a labour of love. “Wearing clothes that have been worn by loved ones has a very special meaning especially when they’ve come from one’s mother or mother-in-law. I have received exquisite and beautiful pieces, some shararas and ghararas have been passed down through the generations. I have one that my great grandmother wore. It has work done by hand and must have taken hours. The karigars would work endlessly to create these masterpieces,” she explains.

How royals preserve heirloom shararasAaliya Sultana Babi shares her tips…

  • Do not dry-clean the outfits often. Instead, air them for a few days away from direct sunlight.
  • Store them in a muslin or cotton dupatta to ensure longevity.
  • Instead of naphthalene balls, use neem leaves or cloves to keep the garment fresh. Use a potli to avoid stains.
  • Keep the wrapped garment in a tijori or trunk.

MODERNISING A CLASSIC

In their modern, glam avatar, shararas and ghararas are being remixed with bralettes, noodle-strap and peplum kurtas, crop tops and even capes.

(L) Tarun Tahiliani went the sheer way in his After Hours, Festive Luxe Pret AW 2023 with a sculpted kurti and a sheer tulle panelled sharara and (R) a sharara saree from Rococo by Raghvi (Instagram)

Rococo designer Raghvi Lamba features sharara sarees that can be worn with a belt and peplum top while SVA by Sonam and Paras added a jaal crop top and an attached drape with sharara pants. Tarun Tahiliani went the sheer way in his After Hours, Festive Luxe Pret AW 2023 with a sculpted kurti and a sheer tulle panelled sharara.

Rakul Preet rocks a green sharara with sheesha and abhala bharat work (Instagram)

 

Also making a case for the royal garment were actors Alia Bhatt in a dusty pearl pink set from Seema Gujral and Rakul Preet Singh, who wore a shimmery green number with sheesha and abhala bharat work before her wedding to Jackky Bhagnani. Aaliya Sultana also makes her own tweaks to the outfits to suit the times. “I improvise with the size and changed the kurti or dupattas, but I maintained the essence of it,” she adds.

DESIGNER TIPS

Designer Arpita Mehta, feels that shararas and ghararas can be go to ensembles for any occasion. “These garments, with their rich history and cultural significance, have made a full resurgence in modern fashion, particularly for weddings and festive occasions. The appeal lies in their elegance and the way they evoke heritage. However, it’s important to note that not every gharara or sharara flatters every body type, so selecting the right style is crucial.”Arpita Mehta shares how to ace the look

1) Contemporise it right

Mehta suggests pairing the garments with a trendy blouse and a cape for a fresh, stylish element.

Another popular combination is wearing a gharara with a blouse and a dupatta for a balance of tradition and modernity.

2) Wear the right colours for the occasion

For daytime events, pastels such as blush pink, mint green and powder blue are perfect. Light colours convey a sense of serene elegance and lend some airiness.

For evening events, Mehta advises going for deep jewel tones like emerald green, royal blue and deep burgundy. These rich and vibrant colours create a striking and opulent appearance, making them perfect for the night-time.

SHARE THIS ARTICLE ON
Start 14 Days Free Trial Subscribe Now
OPEN APP