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  Beauty & Fashion

August 2012

Jolly Good Brolly!

Pratyusha Sen
 
The granddaddy designs in black or blue are now exactly that, the granddads of umbrellas. They have given way to a modern generation of designer brollies, which are perfect for making a style statement.
While jewels, clutches and other knick knacks have their own place in setting trends, there’s another item which has recently gained popularity as a high end accessory. We are talking about the umbrella. The ubiquitous brolly which has been used for centuries to protect mankind from sun or rain has been reinvented into a quirky must have with every fashionista.

Children’s picks with cat/Mickey Mouse ears, butterflies and cartoon prints are not the only varieties in colourful canopies. The granddaddy designs in black or blue are now exactly that, the granddads of umbrellas. They have given way to a modern generation of designer brollies, which are perfect for making a style statement. Compact umbrellas have been around for several decades now. And in the last decade or so, the trend of solid coloured ones has evolved and umbrella manufacturers have started incorporating prints in their designs.

But, prints too no longer cut it with discerning customers. Walk into any umbrella shop these days and the amount of silks, laces, crystals and glitter equal that seen at a wedding party. Crystal embellished patterns are the latest rage in sun protection. Stick-on-crystal is used on printed or plain cloth to create interesting effects or designs. Glitter instead of crystals is another option available.

Lace brollies, or parasols last seen at Victorian garden parties, are making a comeback too. Granted the delicate lace and trim is no match against the monsoon lashings, but considering that rains last in our country for an average two to four months only while harsh sunshine is prevalent almost the entire year, the dainty sun shades are a just investment. More traditional designs in umbrellas come in the form of Kantha work, Gujarati mirror work or appliquéd patterns.

Bridal collection parasols, a novelty launched by a few select manufacturers, are tailor-made to complement a bride’s trousseau. The base material is of Benarasi or other bridal silk, which is then decked up with zari or zardozi work. The resulting products are a huge hit with brides, especially in those parts of the country where culture demands that brides’ trousseau include an umbrella.

For men, the choices are restricted, but that does not mean they should feel totally left out. Transparent umbrellas hold good for men as well as women, while prints can include your favourite sports. Choose a football themed umbrella or one that displays a cricket pitch. If cars or gadgets are your thing, then go for those prints instead. Or maybe your protection against natural elements can act as a canvas to display your favourite piece of artwork or the skyline of a city of your choice. The adventurous lot can opt for an LED umbrella. These battery-operated contraptions are fitted with LED bulbs that light up once the umbrella is unfurled and safety runners ensure that the user is not electrocuted. The LED lights up the road so you avoid stepping on puddles and also acts as a signal to oncoming traffic. Very handy if you are walking along on a dark rainy night!

With so many options to choose from, the modern day Mary Poppins have it so much better!
Umbrella Basics
  • Silver coated umbrellas are a must for effective sun protection.
  • If warding off the rains is your issue, invest in a bubble umbrella. The inverted bowl shape of the bubble umbrella keeps off the rain far more effectively than the traditional wide ones.
  • Compact umbrellas tend to fold outwards easily. So, if you reside in a windy area it is best to stick to nonfolding varieties.
  • A steel frame lasts longer. But, be sure to wipe the frame and grease it regularly to prevent rusting.