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Designer Raghavendra Rathore on Bandhgalas for Women and Reviving the Iconic Outfit

The classic bandhgala is no more a privilege just for the men. A collection of bandhgalas for women, crafted by Raghavendra Rathore, has left women in awe of the iconic ensemble.

Mugdha Kapoor Safaya |

Updated:March 9, 2018, 9:25 AM IST
Designer Raghavendra Rathore on Bandhgalas for Women and Reviving the Iconic Outfit
(Photo: (left to right) Women bandhgalas created by designer Raghavendra Rathore/ Designer Raghavendra Rathore.)
Internationally renowned fashion designer Raghavendra Rathore (RR), who brought back the classic bandhgala into men's wardrobes, is a versatile artist known for his exquisite collections, unique designs and distinctive take on traditional attires. His eponymous label, launched in the '90s, specializes in men's bespoke, ready-to-wear ensembles and accessories.

The RR brand's trademark 'Jodhpuri Bandhgala' -- carefully crafted, 'traditional, royal attire' for men-- evolved, nurtured and revived by the brand over the years, is loved by consumers both in India and abroad. A patent of brand Raghavendra Rathore, the Jodhpuri Bandhgala is not just a go-to outfit for men to sport during festive occasions but is also considered 'a prized possession' by many. However, the bandhgala is no longer a privilege just for the men. A collection of bandhgalas for women, crafted by Rathore, has left females in complete awe of the iconic ensemble.

Describing the timeless bandhgala, designer Raghavendra Raghavendra, in an email-exchange with said, "It is an epitome of opulence captured by the amalgamation of conventional and contemporary clothing."

Speaking about creating a bandhgala collection for women, the designer said, "The fact that this piece of menswear has gradually transformed into an entire collection of women’s bandhgalas for all occasions, today, is a testimony to the fact that it (jodhpuri bandhgala) transcends trends and creates a niche for itself in the fashion world."

(Photo: Creations by Raghavendra Rathore) (Photo: Creations by Raghavendra Rathore)

Talking about what prompted him to come up with bandhgala designs for women and if he thought it would redefine womenswear, Rathore said, "The brand has always worked closely with a structured look under the Raghavendra Rathore Jodhpur womenswear hemisphere. The bandhgala in its new avatar has been presented for evening wear, primarily receptions, parties and red carpet clothing for the film industry. While the response has been phenomenal, our aim is to keep our collections modest and bespoke."

When asked if the bandhgalas for women were given the same treatment as men's and the challenges he faced during the process, the designer said, "For us, womenswear has always been at the forefront, offering a plethora of options, and with a garment as versatile as the bandhgala, we had a clear idea of what we wanted to create. However, our biggest challenge was to take the traditional form of the bandhgala and translate it into modern-day clothing, ensuring that it created a seamless blend, especially with the tunics and dresses. While the basic idea of the bandhgala remains intact for the women, too, the major difference lies in the flowy shapes and silhouettes which lend a more feminine elegance to the outfit. The embroidery and embellishments, too, are bolder as compared to the menswear."

About the techniques, colours, fabrics, silhouettes and embellishments used for women bandhgalas, Rathore said, "Techniques of putting together the bandhgala for both, men and women, is more or less the same. However, the art of creating the bandhgala for women completely depends on the fabric. Hence, the essence of the ensemble is the selection of colour and the choice of fabric. In addition to a sharp, tailored cut, warm shades with soft, subtle hints of embroidery and minimalistic embellishments, worked on by skilled weavers and craftsmen at the RR Foundation, adds an element of allure to this iconic piece of clothing."

(Photo: Creations by Raghavendra Rathore) (Photo: Creations by Raghavendra Rathore)

Since in India, the quintessential outfit for any bride is a beautiful, red lehenga, we asked Rathore if his bridal bandhgalas will manage to find a place in a bridal wardrobe/trousseau, to which he responded, "The sacred Indian wedding has two dynamics that one comes to rely on -- the first being highly ethnic and the second, which has a more sophisticated outlook. For example, ethnic could be the wedding ceremony attire and sophisticated outfits could be a preferred choice for receptions, giving enough space to single line bandhgala designs accompanied by intricate embroidery, evoking the richness of the bridal outfit."

On the sidelines of this conversation, we also spoke to Rathore about the men's bandhgalas, how he managed to revive the classic, age-old outfit and took it to another level by taking it global. On this, the designer said, "Embracing the new way to represent the iconic bandhgala, the Raghavendra Rathore Jodhpur brand has embarked on a journey to bring tremendous value to this relic of an outfit, inspired by a lineage of 1200 years, an embodiment of the RR ethos. This has further facilitated in building a distinguished, classic yet tailored men's look, unique to the brand, emulating timeless elegance, making it a versatile product of global repute and recognition."

(Photo: Creations by Raghavendra Rathore) (Photo: Creations by Raghavendra Rathore)

Talking about how he has managed to keep the 'jodhpuri bandhgala' relevant over the years, maintained the old world regalia and still kept it relevant in the modern times, he said, "That’s the beauty of the bandhgala. It is a timeless classic which has an eternal charm when adorned. Passed on over decades, the bandhgala has synthesized beautifully with western wear and is an epitome of Indo-Western tailored suits. Apart from a few variations in cuts, fabrics and embroidery, it is an ideal outfit for all men and will continue to be a la mode."

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| Edited by: Mugdha Kapoor Safaya
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