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Techno Corner

Kiran Bahl

Happy holidays. With Diwali and Eid just around the corner, it's so hard not to already get excited and filled with the holiday spirit. Holidays such as these and others are about spending quality time with your friends and family, even those whom you rarely see at all. Gather everyone around and enjoy each moment as if it was the last -- the best (and happiest) side of you will show each time. Let's also spend these social events with the latest in fashion for every family member.

Garba, during Navratri, is probably the most fun and talked- about social gathering in the year. With nine days of dancing, meeting friends old and new, and most important, praying for a happy and healthy life, we want to look our best, too, ladies! Garba lenghas, or chaniya-cholis, as they're better known as, are still in our basic and comfortable cotton, but now, some are being made with a crepe silk or chiffon material to appear more ‘formal.’ These look great, but stick with the cotton makes, especially if you plan on dancing. They breathe better, and contrary to popular belief, don't wrinkle as much after a long night. Sequins, mirrors and other ornaments hold better on this more durable fabric, too. The latest styles have the traditional and much-loved bandini work, but with different color combinations. For the more 'sober' types, navy blues, blacks and maroons are showing up with a twist on the bandini pattern. The bandini work is either contrasted with a completely different color or in such a pattern where it catches the eye instantly.

Bolder types will favor the infamous tie-dye combinations, including unruly colors together, such as lime green and navy blue, or red and fuchsia. They not only look unique, but they will certainly turn heads. Girls will look like little princesses this year in cotton and crepe outfits, but with more zigzag sequin/stone patterns versus just a ‘bandini look./

Turquoise, orange and pale yellow are on the top of the list of colors for girls, and suit mostly any complexion.

Men, we could never leave you out. This is just as important an event for you as is for the ladies. A lot of networking, catching-up and 'male bonding' can take place at such an event as garba, and looking your best is not an option; it is a must. Wearing a casual kurta pajama will no longer suffice. Spice the outfit up with bright and classic red/gold scarf or go all trendy in a black-laced one. Wear a sand silk (much lighter and breathable than the basic raw silks) kurta pajama, but again, have a sharp, contrasting scarf to clean up the look. Unlike last year, do not wrap your scarf around the neck in a circular shape. Keep the cloth free flowing around your neck, ends (preferably with tassels) hanging on either side. The look will equal a casual, yet distinguished feel. Boys, match up with dad and wear a kurta pajama, but copy the style completely and get yourselves a scarf too. You'll be the stars of the nights!

Now, on to our fancier, Diwali and Eid occasions. Only the best will do, and this season, it's all about the fabrics and the cuts of the fabric that could make or break your look. Ladies, focus on flowing lenghas with an A-line finish. These ballroom looks complete a formal look, whereas previously, the fishtail-hems did. The style now is more classic, traditional and subdued. Colors, such as lilac, sky blues and baby pinks are dominating runways, creating a softer, more feminine look to every outfit. Salwar kameezes are rapidly changing their styles are well. Gone are the flared, pathiala looks. Salwars are much more fitted, more clean and kameezes are still shorter (knee-length or higher), but with slits much higher up. Dupattas are becoming more ornate and fuller as well to match up to even the fanciest kameez. As autumn begins, sleeves are getting longer, and more custom fit, three-quarter sleeves are completely back in style, too.

Jewelry is easy this time. A set with a stone or bead look is very much ‘in,’ with matching bangles. There is no need to complicate your perfect outfit with out-of-place jewelry this time around ... Simple can get you far, you'll be surprised.

Men, stick with the oh-so-trendy (and sexy) jodhpuris. Every color will do, particularly the darker ones, such as navy blue and black. Whites and creams should be saved for wedding-wear or day events.

Once again, please enjoy this holiday season to the fullest. We wish you the best of everything, including happiness, health and prosperity. If you have any fashion and/or beauty questions or even advice, contact us at We'd love to hear from our readers. And, as always, remember to gro with style!

Kiran Bahl of Gro Styles, “An Indian Boutique,” 2035 E. Fowler Ave, Tampa, FL 33612, can be reached at (813) 843-9040 or (813) 903-8334.


Amita Patel was quite young when she began painting. She focused her entire energy on her passion for colors and their medium, in the process winning several prizes. At the age of 12, she was chosen as one of 20 first-prize winners in the UNICEF-sponsored international children’s drawing competition in Paris. Subsequently, her award-winning painting on the theme of a springtime festival was picked to commemorate the 25th year of UNICEF through a 1974 Indian stamp.

“I always wanted to be an artist,” says the Orlando resident. But she ended up pursuing something more rewarding monetarily – dress designing. In 1984, she opened Vulcal, an upscale women’s boutique in Baroda. It was a business that eventually brought her half way around the world from her native Baroda.

“I realized that many of my customers found it difficult to visit my boutique there as frequently as they would have liked to, because they now live in the United States,” she says. “The result of her realization was that she began to take her dress designs to her customers, rather than wait for them to come to her.

She continued to tour several U.S. cities regularly to market her designs and displayed her wares to Florida’s Indian community through shows and exhibitions. And it wasn’t before long that in 2003, she opened the 1,200-square-foot Vulcal Boutique on Orange Blossom Trail in Orlando.

But of course the heart and most of the original business is still in India, which she visits at least thrice a year. Back in Baroda, more than 70 employees work on the intricate embroidery of her dresses, some of which require painstaking manual skills. But the creation begins on Patel’s palette, where she carefully chooses colors, cuts and embroidery according to the design before the workers take over.

Patel is known for her designer saris, blouses, salwar-kameezes, ghagra-cholis and traditional shararas in cotton, silk and polyester. “I am very quality conscious,” she says. “New designs constantly come to my mind because I am an artist. I tell my customers to trust me and let me do my job. I like to take up a challenge.”

She won’t divulge names but says that Vulcal does supply designer clothing to wholesale stores in New Jersey and Chicago.

For more information, call Vulcal at (407) 718-4737 or click on

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