Up, close and official

Written by Ravi Bajaj | Updated: Aug 17 2008, 09:43am hrs

History is repeating itself in the mens segment of the fashion industry. With Indian males turning increasingly adventurous in their sartorial tastes, this much-neglected area of formal dressing has once again merged into focus.

Last week at my weekly champagne brunch at China Kitchen a friend who also happens to be a major clotheshorse popped this question: why cant the bund gala suit be accepted as a corporate suit Hmmm.. Why not, I thought After all the bund-gala is accepted as a black tie qualifier even at the White House. Its the uniform for the Indian and the US Navy and boy, does it look regal or what! West has long accepted the bund-gala as a much more fashionable option than the conventional suit. Giorgio Armani deserves the credit for introducing it to the world as early as mid eighties and none of us Indian designers can contest that claim if he were to make one!

The bund-gala has been seen on the red carpets all over the world. Mega Hollywood stars have adorned it for the Oscars. So, if the West can take to it then why, here in India, it is treated as an option for a) politicians b) weddings and

c) chauffeurs d) hotel staff. Not necessarily in that order!

By the way, bund-gala is also called the Nehru jacket (although Pandit Nehru used to wear achkans/shervanis) and the Jodhpuri jacket. Without any argument, this is a form of jacket that was very much ours. I wonder why it cannot be more popular especially in the Indian corporate world Given that the conventional English suit is more international and, believe me you, no one worships a well-cut suit than yours truly, why should we give up on a perfectly good silhouette that reflects our heritage.

Not just that, a bund-gala suit also has some advantages. It does away with the need to wear a tie most Indians find it a bit suffocating anyways. Also, unlike popular belief the bund-gala jacket is not at all uncomfortable to wear. In fact, over the years several Indian designers have modified the collar to make it easy to wear over long hours. The fit has also changed from being fitted to a bit more relax. One can actually wear this suit to work through the year. For summers the fabrics can be tropical wool. Even linen looks very chic and elegant. Just like conventional suits these can be made out of a variety of designs of fabric: pin stripes, checks, plaids, and solids.

We also do a lot of them in silk jacquards for the weddings. Another version of a bund-gala is the elongated version. Its worn with trousers yet it gives a traditional look perfect for those who want to escape the sherwanis with kurta and pajamas.

A traditional bund-gala has been made in a five-button silhouette but from times to come it has been also varied with one button and double button option.

Over and above, a bund-gala can be worn in different ways. Its well suited with a tie over a shirt and can also be made casual and trendy by wearing the bund-gala jacket over jeans. One can put on a slim fit bund-gala shirt under the jacket. There is always the option of wearing the suit with no botheration of a tie as well.

We can also leave the bund-gala unbuttoned to give a relaxed look. Considering its varied nature, its time we allowed the bund-gala to penetrate through our corporate wardrobe.