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Films and fashion

Debate over ‘films followed life trends’ or ‘public followed films’ started around 1970s. In most cases, these were not followed as fashion. Rather, picking u p an odd something that a hero did in a film

Films and fashion

There always used to be a debate till not long ago whether films and filmstars inspired fashion in society or do they merely reflect fashion and trends in general.

Come to think of it, there has been no noticeable influence of films and filmstars on creating trends that the people followed except in certain phases. Initially in films, the men mostly followed western trends. Usually, they were dressed smartly in suits when it came to urban stories. Otherwise, Dhoti was the norm. And, majority of male urban population, by then, had adapted western garbs while women still stuck to sari. Even traditional Punjabi garb of women – the Shalwar Kameez – was still a long way away. Later, it came to be known as dress! If a woman was not wearing a sari, she was wearing a dress.

As for women, it was limited to a Sari whether she was romancing or playing a housewife. Tradition ruled. If there was an influence of Hollywood films, it was limited to male stars. All sorts of films were being made and a hero even donned a hat, which was not Indian. As it were, few followed filmstars when it came to trends in fashion. Society was too traditionally ingrained in customs.

So far, there was no debate on the people following fashion trends from films. There was a single trend that was common to filmstars as well as youth of the 1950s and '60s.

It is not sure who picked it from who. There was this hairstyle that actors like Dev Anand and Dilip Kumar sported, as did the men in the real life. This fashion must have been timebound since both the actors, Dilip Kumar and Dev Anand, changed eventually.

One would reckon that the debate over films followed life trends or whether public followed films started roughly around the 1970s. In most cases, these were not followed as fashion. Rather, picking up an odd something that a hero did in a particular film.

The best example here was the checked – rather, designer – hat that Dev Anand sported in his musical hit,

Jewel Thief. Actually, female stars inspired more fans to follow their hairstyles. The one that became a craze was filmstar Sadhna's Chinese Cut with the patch of hair falling on her forehead. The other female hairstyle was called bouffant, a fluffy hairstyle, which was dubbed Chidiya Ka Ghosla (bird's nest) in Hindi. The hat from Jewel Thief became such a rage that every next young lad was seen wearing it.

India did not have the system of franchise when it came to film fashion or memorabilia as it happens in the West. Hence, the Jewel Thief hat, which would have sold in lakhs, brought no profits to the production house.

Another product that drew attention was the Rajdoot mini motorbike used in the film Bobby. The bike was a hit as was the film. However, the craze for the bike did not last long due to technical reasons. The thing about bikes was that, they were popular with the college going youth but buying power rested with parents.

Imitating star fashion was back with superstar Rajesh Khanna. The actor established himself as such a legend as an icon of romance, that just about everything about him was an inspiration for his fans. Rajesh Khanna's costume designer devised a special kind of kurta for him because tucked-in shirts did not look good on him since he had big backside! The kurta he wore came to be known as the Guru kurta and became a rage. This was one fad that lasted for a long time.

While costumes and hairstyles did not always create trends, the stars' costume designers (as their tailors were known), as well as barbers (known as hair stylists) benefitted the most. Stylo, Kachins, Lifestyles, Bada Saab were the prominent costume designers.

Kachin's was the designer for Amitabh Bachchan. Usually, they preferred open collar shirt with a jacket for the hero. Costume designers were good at camouflaging the shortcomings of their stars. Bachchan, it was said (and seen), had a hugely drooping left shoulder. Kachins did well to pad it up.

The sari was replaced with shalwar kameez for female stars. Yet, it did not get through to the women of the world. Finally, it did, with the era of tight churidar and tastefully designed kurtas which helped accentuate a heroine's body. The mandatory chunni was done away with.

Now, there are no barriers between film fashion and real-life dressing. In fact, films reflect real-life fashion as that is more identifiable to the movie buffs. It is mostly about denims, jeans, hot pants and what have you. But, to break the monotony and provide some comic relief, we have Ranveer Singh and his outrageous dresses.

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