Lucknow Chikankari ( Lakhnavi Chikankari): A timeless fashion statement of Indian Women

Lucknow Chikankari ( Lakhnavi Chikankari): A timeless  fashion statement of Indian Women

Lucknow Chikankari

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 “Chikan work is timeless. you can wear it for both formal and informal occasions” – Anita Dongre ( A  Leading Indian fashion designer)

Indian summers are a struggling time as the strong, smiling sunlight ( averaging  42 degrees plus Celsius) creates a difficult time for everyone. The feel and touch of fresh and soft cotton fabrics like muslin, adds a comfort zone to the fashion lovers. Traditional yet contoured with a modest contemporary twist, the ageless Lucknow chikankari, always comes to the cool rescue.

Lucknow Chikankari or Lakhnavi Chikankari is an expression of haute couture, combined with mirror work, muquaish and even zardozi, that has never gone out of fashion in our country and remains an all-time fashion statement for the Indian women. May Visit Chikan (embroidery) {Wikipedia} for reference reading.

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Lakhnavi Chikankari is an adorable age-old fine art of embroidery made with white untwisted yarn. It is typically done on viol, silk, cambric, georgette and terry cotton. Initially, designs are printed on the cloth with washable colours. At the same time, different stitches or embroidery work is undertaken with the help of a needle on delicate fabric. It is a typical cottage industrial activity, performed by skilled but experienced women artisans and workers.

One of the unique features of the Lucknow chikankari work is the stitches, it carries on the surface of the fabric or garments. Every stitch is done to its perfection, and the neatness in work remains unparallel elsewhere in the world. The delicate hand embroidery gives the final output a classic look, filled in richness and, that is what you pay for as a customer.

Lucknow Chikankari – A marvel of stitching and embroidery

Standard Chikan work has about thirty-two stitches. They are popular as    Makra, Mandarzi, Bulbulchashm, Tajmahal, Phooljali, Phanda,  Gol murri, Janjeera, Keel, Kangan and Dhania Patti.   Kapkapi, Karan Phool, Bijli,  Rozan,  Chameli,  Balda, Jora, Pachni, Hathkati are also equally famous representing the finest in needlecraft.

Lucknow Chikankari works involve a good amount of time and undertaken by the skilled work forces. Artisans work in this sector even have decades of experience and working for generations. Depending upon an individual pattern intricacy, it may sometime takes more than 15 days for the embroidery process alone. Ustad Faiyaaz Khan and Hasan Mirza Saheb are the renowned veteran  Chikan artisans from the city of Nawabs, and they have mentored many artisans of repute under them. The Geographical Indication Registry of India 2003 has already accorded Lucknow Chikankari the GI status in December 2008.


Lucknow Chikankari and the evolution of colours

Initially started as white-on-white embroidery work on muslin surface, Lucknow chikankari has evolved and embraced the use of colours through the passage of times. Today it is keeping up with the modern fashion trends. While white colour rules the roost, don’t get surprised if you come across colourful silk threads too tracing the motifs, bringing forth more versatility in its look and style.

Motifs – creating the essence of chikankari works

Floral patterns are the essence of lakhnavi chikankari works.  Floral designs coupled with stems,  and leaves, giving the design element an elegant touch. Other motifs style includes embellishments like Mukaish, Kamdani, Badla, bead and mirror work, thus giving it a more vibrant look. The floral design pattern represents a strong Persian influence prevalent during the day of the Mughals.

Image Source : Gaatha

The traditional muslin cloth for the Chikankari works now expanded into lighter fabrics like cotton, silk, chiffon, organza and net. This lightweight fabric variety not only makes the embroidery process more natural but also presents outstanding craftsmanship at the end of the day.

Lakhnavi Chikankari – Choicest Garments and Accessories

The  Lakhnavi Chikankari work is found on a wide range of choicest garments both for men and women. The men designer collection includes a varied range of chikan kurtas, classy chikankari shirts to fine embroidered chikankari sherwanis and exclusive kurta fabric materials.

High-end boutiques, malls and traditional markets in the city offer an exclusive chikan collection of exquisite embroidered chikan Kurtis, designer chikankari sarees. They Include georgette chikankari, pure faux chikan, cotton chikankari embroidered chikankari suits and chikan cotton tops) and beautifully decorated chikankari running lengths.

You can buy everything from a long kurta to a saree, Anarkali, palazzos and even a range of accessories, and some home décor accessories like lampshades covers, sofa cushion and table covers and bed covers.

Lakhnavi Chikankari –Endorsed by the designers, fashion icons and celebrities.

Image Sorce & Courtesy: AASHNI & CO Journal

India’s leading fashion designers of likes Mr Abu Jani and Mr Sandeep Khosla have taken a personal interest in promoting the traditional Lucknow chikankari works and positioning it as haute couture both in India and abroad. Famous Hollywood actress like Judi Dench,( of the James Bond movie fame), was wearing one of their majestic creations at the Oscar Award Ceremony in 2004. International pop sensation Madonna was wearing a chikankari-embroidered garment in her film, “The Next Big Thing” – again creations by Mr Abu Jani and Mr Sandeep Khosla.


Lakhnavi Chikankari –  the Bollywood Connection

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The fancy of the Bollywood Stars towards Lakhnavi Chikankari never goes unnoticed. They have given a new dimension to this traditional haute couture altogether. For the last few decades, the leading Bollywood star personalities have been gracing the fashion shows, retail and brand communication exercises in association with the leading Indian fashion designers.

Their participation in this traditional craft always keeps the buzz alive in the marketplace and setting the trends for the young fashion lovers aspiring to look stunning in Chikankari attires, just like their favourite celebrities.

In short, the style, colours, aura and presentation of Chikankari suits, sarees, garments always retain its originality and shows the type of persona, you are.  As a result, Lakhnavi Chikankari remains an all-time fashion statement for Indian women.  As stated by Sandeep Khosla “Chikankari is a craft that is very much current and simultaneously, eternal “.

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Images used in this post have been picked up from free images site. Due attributions/ image source have been presented wherever it is relevant. Images have been added only to make the reading more exciting. The publisher does not claim any ownership of any of these images at all.


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