What do fictional characters of Hollywood, Ernst Stavro Blofeld, Karl Stromberg and Kamal Khan from James Bond movies, have in common with Narendra Modi, the Prime Minister of India?
The Modi Jacket, of course!
Narendra Modi has created ripples in the world of fashion by favouring the bandi jacket which has now been nicknamed Modi jacket.
The origin of the bandi jacket can be traced back to the Mughal emperors of India where the courtier’s choga became the garment of the rich and the upper crust of society. It was the preferred dress of the courtiers in the royal court and stood for aristocracy and power. In those days, these garments were richly crafted and were probably exquisitely embroidered with gold and silver threads and embellished with precious gems.
Thus to the emperor’s subjects, these garments became a symbol of elegance, affluence and power.
In later times it changed form into the formal sherwani, achkan, bandhgala and finally the bandi.
The forerunner of the bandiin the 20th century was a hip length coat with a Mandarin collar which was originally a part of court dress in Northern India. This collar is a short stand up collar that does not turn down and does not have a lapel. This was nicknamed the Nehru Jacket after Jawaharlal Nehru, the first prime minister of India.
The bandh galaor bandi jacket is a traditional sleeveless Indian jacket which closes round the neck when it is buttoned up. It is a shorter version of the Nehru jacket and commonly worn by politicians to promote a traditional look.
The bandi can be worn at both formal and informal occasions. It can be teamed with full or half sleeved shirts over trousers or jeans. Alternatively it can give a unique and elegant look when combined with a designer kurta pajama set, thus suiting both Indian and Western wardrobes. The material used is linen,khadi and silk for summer wear and woollen material for winter.
Earlier bandis were in sober colors such as grey and black but now they are available in all colors even mustard, lilac and grass green among other unconventional colors. Red bandis can be teamed with white, cream and even dark colored shirts to present a sophisticated as well as cultured look, incorporating tradition with a modern outlook.
Tommy Hilfiger introduced a collection of bandis, with their signature look of monogrammed buttons, classic stripe lining and contrast stitching, to celebrate their 10th anniversary. The objective was to create a fashionable new trend in men’s wear called the ‘preppy bandi’.This was probably the first time the Modi Jacket appeared in the international scene of male trendsetters.
Just for the reader’s information, a few years ago, all 42 heads of state and government attending the 3rd India-Africa Forum Summit, from Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi to his South African counterpart Jacob Zuma, attended a special dinner wearing the same Modi jacket, specially designed by government agencies.
Even the Japanese Prime Minister, Shinzo Abe, has been seen patronising the Modi Jacket.
Therefore it is interesting to note the adoption of the Modi Jacket by the power dressers of the world namely the leaders of society, the politicians, businessmen, industrialists as well as luminaries in the cultural sphere.
The Modi Jacket, thus, has become very popular among a varied cross section of the world’s connoisseurs by making a unique mark in the world of fashion.
It is an established fact that America is among the front runners in the field of fashion, thus the Modi Jacket has made its appearance in the American high society circles of power dressers. Earlier leading tailoring establishments had tie ups with Hong Kong for suits, now they have links with India to supply Modi Jackets. This is for all the patrons who have a progressive attitude and are open to change.