Bollywood needs own sense of style, say designers
Bollywood fashion has become a lot less garish and more sophisticated these days, but designers say it still lacks its own unique style.
Fashion furore in India's movie industry, the world's largest by ticket sales, started in the mid-1990s as filmmakers started roping in designers to create a unique look for their cast.
The outfits soon became the rage among fans keen to copy their favourite superstars, whose own dress sense has evolved from gawdy, sequin-spangled numbers to Gucci and Prada chic.
"Bollywood's fashion sense has improved by leaps and bounds," said top Bollywood designer Manish Malhotra. "There is a style revolution in Bollywood and it can only improve for the better."
Outrageous outfits are out, added designer Narendra Kumar.
"Gone are the times when clothes were unsophisticated and ornate," said Kumar. "Even on screen our stars want to wear clothes that can be worn on the streets."
"Exposure was necessary for our stars to realise what kind of clothes were in fashion in the West," explained designer Vikram Phadnis. "Now our actors know exactly what to wear and when to wear what."
Luxury designer wear is now all the rage in Bollywood, as more stars attend international film festivals and interact with their Hollywood counterparts.
But some Indian designers say their stars still pale when compared to the glamour of Hollywood actors.
"Hollywood is in a different level altogether," said Kumar. "You have to realise that our industry's fashion evolution started only a decade back and it is impossible to match Hollywood in such a short time frame."
So how can Bollywood actors stand out in the crowd? Some designers suggest by staying true to their own heritage.
"Most of our actors do not have the body type to wear Western outfits and the same is with Hollywood stars who do not look all that good when they wear Indian clothes," said designer Wendell Rodricks.
"I don't know why our actors should try to look like them. We have a diverse culture. We have hundreds of outfits to offer than what the West can produce. We should be proud of who we are and not try to imitate."