Monday, October 19, 2009

Blending Tradition With Chic

It’s that time of the year again. The festival of lights, gifts, and everything new is right around the corner. All the players in the consumer durables segment are out to woo the spending public. Innovative, colorful, appealing advertisements have started popping up everywhere!

Leading brands have all launched their respective Diwali collections. Clothes, jewellery, electronics, vehicles, chocolates—you name it—everything is being sold with special discounts or bunched together with lucrative offers. There is so much on offer that it becomes difficult for you to choose just the ‘right’ gift or the ‘right’ things for your own indulgence!

‘Shop till you drop’ seems to be the mantra this season. If you are contemplating getting some new jewellery for yourself or someone you love, it might be a good idea to put that on top of your shopping list as, like every year, gold prices are set to soar and touch new heights.

According to Hemant of S L Shet Jewellers, “Branded jewellery and gold coins are in demand during Diwali. Antique jewellery especially the kind with ‘temple work’ is also a favourite though it is more on the expensive side”.

He added that sales usually pick up a couple of days ahead of Diwali. “Many in the Gujarati community choose to buy gold coins on ‘Dhanteras’ as this is considered very auspicious”, says Hemant.

Beauty salons don’t lag behind either. Many of them come up with attractive offers during the festival seasons and Diwali is no exception. Says Roma Nayak of the Lakme Salon, “We usually offer special packages around Diwali, but as of now they have not been introduced this year. Whenever there are such offers, our clients benefit a lot”.

When it comes to giving or receiving gifts, many people now prefer gift vouchers. Gift vouchers can be obtained from leading establishments as well as some private banks in the country. Also known as gift cards, the advantage is that one does not have to spend time worrying over what to choose for a gift.

Since most stores in India do not issue gift receipts which make exchanging duplicate gifts easier, the recipient is also saved from being stuck with two similar gifts!

“Gift vouchers are a good option because they allow the recipient to buy whatever he/she likes. I would rather give gift vouchers of banks which can be used at many merchant establishments”, says Manohar Kamath, an entrepreneur.

However, if he had to buy a gift for someone, Manohar says that he would do so keeping in mind the receiver’s likes and dislikes instead of being swayed by discounts or festive offers.

“I am planning to buy crockery, kurtas, and salwar suits to gift this Diwali. I am going to buy myself a nice sari or a salwar suit also”, says Sarika Sharma, who does not believe in giving gift vouchers.

Traditional outfits with heavy Western influences are in vogue this season in both men’s and women’s wear. For functions like the Diwali puja, saris remain a favourite, especially the ‘concept sari’ better-known as the ‘readymade sari’, closely followed by embellished kurtis teamed with leggings.

Swarovski crystals are being used in abundance all around; be it on kurtas, cholis, or in jewellery.

In the men’s segment kurtas and churidars in silk or blended silk and cotton are the hot favourites with the accent being on accessories—embroidered belts, and ethnic mojris. Though pastel shades are the reigning favourites a splash of colour can be added to the outfit with a bright chunari around the neck.

Apparel merchants in the city are stocking up on the latest fashions and can feel the pulse of their customers. Says Shailesh Jain of Mayuri, “Fancy saris are in great demand this season; especially those which are tissue-based. The ‘patli pallu’ is also back now”.

A price range of Rs 1500 – Rs 5000 is preferred by most of his customers. Jain adds, “We also have a 10-20 percent discount sale upto the 31st of this month and sales are expected to pick up soon as this offer has just begun”.

All in all, ‘traditional, yet classy’ seems to be the theme for this Diwali.

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