Ever since the advent of Hindi cinema in the 1930’s, Bollywood and fashion have been a joint force. The ’70s were nothing less than glorious, Bollywood ladies jived on the screen in bell-bottoms, big sunglasses and thick, exaggerated feline eyes!
It was in the late 1900s, a time when Naomi Campbell, Cindy Crawford were the supermodels reigning the runways. And the British divas, the Spice girls, were all the rage. Kurt Cobain was the lone vanguard of oversized, mismatched garbs.
‘Flares’ had been around for a long time. The origin of these wide-legged bell-shaped cuffs at the bottom of the pants dates back to the early 1900s when sailors in the American navy adopted the style, standardised uniforms did not exist as yet. Spreading like wildfire among the crowds, it was only later that we embraced them. Flared pants became a hit by the mid 1960’s. Sonny and Cher helped popularise the look in the US through their TV appearances!
Bollywood caught the wave a decade later. In the late 1960s, hippie culture grew out the US and spread across the world, including India. Zeenat Aman did Hare Rama Hare Krishna the same year she made her debut in the Hindi film industry. The counter-culture drew recrimination, Dev Anand too shared a similar predicament – Hare Rama Hare Krishna was a deeply conservative movie. Seductively working a marijuana pipe, those plunging necklines and mouthy bell-bottoms, Zeenat Aman became Bollywood’s boldest.
It’s a misconception, however, that all hippies wore flares, flares are not their “evil” legacy. Fashion universe’s much loved fad ironically did not make its debut on the enthusiastic red carpets nor were they born in grandeur on the runways. No longer put off by the stigma, no longer deemed as clothing for “dangerous radicals”, designers dug deep into fashion history and brought them back! Today, flares and its various archetypes have mooted as an alternative to skinny jeans that saw a weak rise, be it Hollywood or Bollywood, men or women, your favourite celebrities have taken a hold too tight on this trend.
It would take a while for flares to fizzle out! And probably, that’s never happening!