The Beatles in an adapted version of Nehru Jacket
India has a rich heritage in textiles, a hugely decorated royal era and a cultural pedigree that has evolved through the centuries. The home grown Indian fashion industry is thriving and charming the West with many popular Indian designers selling in famed stores like the Selfridges, Harrods and more. Many Indian sartorial inventions have inspired reputable luxurious fashion brands.
The Classic Nehru Jacket
The jacket owes it popularity to former Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru who wore the closed collar tailored jacket in all public appearances since 1940s to 1960s. Incidentally, Prime Minister Nehru never really took credit for this fashion invention.
The Europeans and Americans began to like the garment during 1960s when it came to be known as the Nehru Jacket. Thanks to the iconic English band Beatles who wore these jackets during one of their musical tours and the Nehru Jacket’s popularity soared like never before. Later of course, many luxurious fashion brands like Marc Jacobs, Canali adapted the humble Nehru Jacket in many styles.
Indian Prime Minister Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru. Source: AFP
Italian luxury brand Canali launched the Nawab Collection inspired by India and Nehru Jackets Source: luxpresso.com
Ikat is a home grown Indian dying technique that is used to create geometric patterned fabrics, in which threads are dyed before being woven into a fabric. Many leading fashion brands and designers have adopted Ikat prints in their prêt and couture collection. Many Ikat designs are referred as tribal prints in leading fashion magazines.
Ikat textiles are said to have originated in Andhra Pradesh state of India Source: matatraders.com
Designer Vera Wang’s Spring Summer 2013 was inspired by India’s Ikat designs
Jessica Alba in Ikat pants at a fashion event
The Jodhpurs are long pants which are flared near hips and thighs and have a snug fit starting from calf to ankle. These were worn by Jodhpur’s Maharajah Pratap Singh and his polo team. The trousers made riding much easier and protected the calf and knee from rubbing. The Maharajah first got these tailored in 1890 and the riding trousers became popular in the United Kingdom as the Maharajah and his team won many polo matches. The Jodhpur pants were better than English breeches which ended at mid calf and had to be worn with tall riding boots. Wearing ankle length Jodhpur pants meant that tall expensive riding boots were no longer needed. Premium Savile Row tailors soon started producing an adapted version of the Jodhpur pants.
Jacqueline Kennedy and Maharani Gayatri Devi with the Jodhpur polo team. Image source: thebeautygypsy.com
Queen Elizabeth II in Jodhpurs in 1939
Jodhpurs from Ralph Lauren. Image Source: ralphlauren.com