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Sunday, January 24, 2021

Year of the Peacock

Santa Claus isn’t the only gentleman showing up in a velour suit

Written by Namrata Zakaria | December 24, 2014 1:20:03 am

Getting ready for his wife’s brother’s wedding last weekend, my banker cousin (who lives in Sydney, Australia) realised he hadn’t packed his formal shoes. He had his suit on when this dawned on him. Needless to say, his mother and wife were livid that they had to make a whistle-stop at the nearby Metro Shoes on their way to the party. But what they saw 15 minutes later had them truly fuming: the guy walked out wearing patent black shoes with a woven upper.

For the banker, who only owns business suits and basic ties (that’s what he wore that night too), this delightful pair of Derbys was his little experiment. But what he’s just stepping into is something the Indian male is celebrating with much hoo-hah. Men’s fashion has never been more flamboyant, coloured, risque and, well, brave. The guys are having fun with their clothes. And don’t you dare call them dandy.

Indian men have had much trial and error with their dressing styles in the last few years. But it’s remarkable how so many have adopted the velour jacket. I have to thank the always in-step Karan Johar for bringing this into our homes, wearing a new colour in almost every episode of his chat show last December. This December, men of all ages and personalities are playing with velour in gorgeous royal colours — claret, burgundy and teal. Festive dressing is truly in the mood to party.

I first saw a jacquard or brocade jacket on Ranveer Singh, but a few good men followed suit. This has become something many elegant men can carry off with a lot of dignity, provided the fabric has a shimmer and not a gloss. There are too many Indian wedding-wear makers who compromise with fabric even though they do a great job of pushing the envelope of style. But you can tell good quality from a mile away, even in the dim lighting of soirees.

I adored Sabyasachi’s floral printed suits, but I haven’t seen them on anybody at all. Indian men will wear a matching jacket-and-trouser set in pin-stripe, but hopefully 2015 will have them try floral or paisley. And hopefully these men will be very young and very lean, like Sabya’s bush-beard models.

Beards and man-buns: this high-school hippy look has every woman go weak in her knees. Me too, but my only problem with it is I can’t tell one gentleman from the other.

The tuxedo: ah, now that’s a trend that’s been the favourite in 2014. What was only worn by servers at the Taj Mahal hotel, the tuxedo is the penultimate in gentlemen’s dressing. Imran Khan, the impeccably dressed actor, shows up in the most lush range of tuxes. I can’t count how many men I’ve seen in the white jacket tux with fitted black trousers and they look just super. But a classic black jacket tux is something that separates the men from the boys — it makes even Colin Firth the epitome of Brit-chic. And allows you to play with vivid bow-ties.

For once, the most hedonistic week of the year will not have only the ladies in glittering dresses. Their men are determined to steal the show.

namratanow@gmail.com

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