The Lengha is the attire of South Asian women that is distinct, sexy, ceremonial and highly recognised for its ethnicity.
The Lengha is very popular in Bollywood
The Lengha (also known as Ghagra Choli) is one of the most popular South-Asian outfits on the market and also proven to be very popular with South-Asian brides. This “skirt and top” outfit made a mark in early BC for the Royal Mughal women and Indian queens at the time.
There are four main fittings, which are available in the Lengha (lehnga or lehenga), which are: A-cut, straight cut, Umbrella cut and fish cut. The Lengha is marketed into different types of occasion, bridal, party and designer. These styles are worn according to the occasion.
Party and designer Lenghas are usually worn for wedding parties, mendhi nights and any other celebration. You can have any colour in these outfits and you can alter the dress style. You can also choose how heavy you want the embroidery or how light you want it on these types of Lengha. Younger women usually like to alter the Choli, which is the a midriff-baring blouse aspect of the costume, to their acquired taste like having a halterneck style or sleeveless.
Bridal Lengha is usually worn (hence the name) by brides. The embroidery on this style usually would be heavier and colours such as maroon, red and gold would be worn. These colours are classed as traditional bridal colours especially red as it signifies the status of an Indian bride and also the fact that most brides do still like to keep an element of tradition. Rani Mukherjee in Kabhi Alvida Naa Kehna dazzled in red crepe silk Lengha along with gold Zardosi embroidery on the blouse.
The materials that the Lengha can be generally be made in are crepe, net and satin (satin probably being a more traditional choice). The richer materials are silk and brocade (a favourite with the Mughal King Akhbar). Brocade is a richly fabric and known for its thickness. You can make a heavy Lengha on this material because this material will support the weight of heavy embroidery. Whereas, silk is known for its comfort throughout the whole year and due to its consistency as a natural fibre, can be dyed in many colours.
Various embroideries are used on Lenghas to give them that extra dazzle. Common ones are bead and crystal work, Swarovski crystals, Zardosi (gold and silver thread work) and “sitara” (sequence work) has proved to be very popular embroidery amongst many.
The Lengha is very popular in Bollywood and with Bollywood actresses for that matter. For example, Preity Zinta wore that gorgeous lime green silk straight skirt with sequins, crystal embroidery along with orange georgette duppatta and hot pink crepe silk kurta top in the movie Veer Zara. Nehia Dupia danced away in Chup Chup Ke, in a green net Lengha with green, gold and yellow crystals and sequins, fully with a sleeved choli and an open tie back. Whilst Aishwarya Rai catwalked into the Cannes Film Festival 2002 with a hot pink organza backless top (with tiebacks) with multi colour sequins and Zardosi embroidery on the skirt with matching duppatta.
The influence of this particular South Asian fashion is spreading across to the West. A coat was designed by an Indian designer for Dame Judi Dench which consisted of gold and silver embroidery for an Oscars night!
Prices vary for the Lengha costume. It all depends on what material is used and the weight of the embroidery. A party and designer Lenghas can start from £200 upwards. Bridal Lenghas tend to be more expensive due to the fact that they will be more heavier in embroidery and well, let’s face it every bride wants to look like a million dollars on their big day! They can start anything from £400 upwards.
The Lengha is a valued piece of fashion, which is recognised by many across the threads of South Asian fashion and beyond. This masterpiece can be worn according to occasion, it’s a versatile, sexy, chique and gorgeous costume that can be altered in anyway to suit your needs. A perfect element of South Asian fashion that can make you look special every step of the way!
Check out our special Lengha gallery below to give you an insight into this wonderful delight of South Asian fashion. Enjoy!
The beautiful stars and remarkable talents of Pakistan come together at the Lux Style Awards on July 29, 2016. We have the full winners list.