Mirror work is a very creative handicraft which originally originated in Persia and was brought to India in the 13th century by Marco Polo. Embroidery was already prevailing among the locals when he brought the art to India, but the artisans modified the simple embroidery technique by incorporating mirrors into their designs.
This art is quite popular within certain states of India such as Gujarat, Rajasthan and Haryana. It comprises of embroidering pieces of glass into fabric using a combination of stitches such as cross, satin and button-hole stitch. The pieces of mirrors are held in place by forming a framework of stitches. This form of embroidery is very colourful with a mélange of bright colours such as green, yellow and red.
The process involves setting little mirror discs and then weaving with silk threads around them. The colour of the base fabric is usually dark so as to bring out the design. The motifs are inspired by nature and mostly include petals, flowers or creepers. Since it is a local art, if you visit any of the states where they practice it, you will be fascinated to see how they incorporate it in their daily life in the form of mirror embroidered clothes, bed sheets, cushion covers etc. According to an age old belief, the mirrors on the clothes prevent the wearer from evil spirits and ward off any evil eye.
This art form has gained popularity and many well renowned designers have given the traditional outfits which are not so glamorous, an ultra modern twist to meet contemporary demands. Be it outfits or accessories, mirror work has definitely made its mark.
You can incorporate some mirror in your wedding décor or gifts. How about having some mirror embroidered cushions for your mehendi function or small mirrored jewellery boxes…we think it is a great thing to do if you have a traditional theme!
Mirror work bib necklaces have made it to the run way. They look chic and dainty and can be worn at pre-wedding function such as mehendi. Also Indian designers are coming up with innovative creations such as mirror work inspired cocktail dresses. We think they are very stylish for a post wedding brunch or you can don it at your honeymoon.
Malini Ramani presented a range of outfits inspired by this art at the Wills Lifestyle India Fashion Week S/S’12. She showcased jumpsuits and halter dresses with scalloped thread embroidery and mirror-work on off-white fabric. We simply loved her range.. so classy yet so traditional!