Jacquard fabrics are among the most regal looking materials in the fashion industry, both Indian and Western. Light and airy in the base material, it has raised patterns and designs that are woven into the fabric as opposed to embroidery on it or prints. The name of the fabric takes after its inventor, Joseph Marie Jacquard. The base of the jacquard fabric can be created using a variety of thread types i.e. silk, cotton, rayon among others. The pattern on the fabric is usually created in softer threads known as Resham, which is similar in texture and appearance to silk. Overall, the creation of a Jacquard fabric is a detailed process that uses a special kind of loom. However, Jacquard weaving is not limited to one particular kind of loom but can be integrated to get a Jacquard fabric as the end product. In ethnic fashion, it has been used extensively to create sarees, layered salwar kameez and layered lehenga choli sets. It is preferred by women from around the country for special occasions such as informal parties, because of the lightweight, subtle work on the fabric.
Jacquard fabric designs are some of the most intricate and versatile in the textile industry. There is no restriction on the kind of patterns that can be woven into the fabric. However, there are some patterns that are more popular than others, such as floral, abstract, damasks and geometric designs. While the patterns can be created using threads of any color, right from contrasting shades to metallic hues, many designers also prefer using the same colored thread as the base for the design. Since the nature of the fabric is such that the pattern is slightly raised from the base fabric, it appears to be of a deeper shade than the actual color of the base. Women from around the country have shown a preference for Jacquard fabrics in all hues, right from contrasts that are usually sought out by assertive women, to similar-hued ones by those who have a preference for understated elegance and grace. Metallic embroidery is preferred for special occasions.
Jacquard silk is one of the most popular varieties of this fabric. Essentially it makes use of a silk base on which the patterns and embroideries are created. One of the biggest reasons for the popularity of this variant over others is the smoothness of the base fabric coupled with embroidery that is graceful, elegant and intricate. The preference for silk jacquard fabric can be seen in the high purchases of sarees and lehenga choli sets in this material, although salwar kameez such as calf length salwar, anarkali style and churidar kameez are also highly sought after. As a single layer of this fabric, in and of itself, is light and non-voluminous, women with petit figures prefer layered lehenga cholis or anarkali suits. Curvaceous women on the other hand prefer a single layer of the fabric as it has a form-fitting drape and tends to hug the curves of the wearer. Jacquard silk fabric highlights all the right points on the body, making it one of the favorites of women from around the country. Offering one of the most luscious drapes, Jacquard silk is favored for parties and informal events during the wedding season such as cocktail party, mehendi ceremonies and the like.
One of the lesser recognized but equally popular and exquisite type is the cotton jacquard fabric. This material has a coarser look to it as opposed to the buttery softness and smooth feel of the silk variant. It has a lot more texture to it and is often used by women as a base material for workplace ethnic formal wear. The embroidery on the fabric is also done using a coarser, thicker thread, thus adding heaviness to the ensemble.
Styling a Jacquard Fabric Garment
One styling tip that is easy to implement is the donning of heavy jewelry items, although heavy does not imply costume jewelry materials like beads and baubles. As the fabric itself is light and silken, it needs a little glimmer and glitter. Meenakari jewelry pieces as well as ethnic semi-precious jewelry items go very well with jacquard. One needs to ensure that the piece stands out from the garment, and it is therefore advisable to purchase a piece that contrasts with the color of the outfit. While metallic jewelry is one of the more convenient options, rustic gold necklaces and earrings are more preferable over modern, lighter jewelry types. It is even more preferable if the gold jewelry piece is embellished with colored stones.
Since jacquard is used most often in India in ethnic wear, designer bindis are also a great accessory to garments like formal salwar kameez or sarees. One can choose a design that complements that of the fabric. Women can also choose the small black circular bindi for a more toned down, sober look.