Its soft feel against the skin and its gossamer, lightweight quality is what sets mulmul or muslin apart from its counterparts. Ideal for the hot Indian summer, it was the country’s favorite fabric way back before Independence. It later lost popularity with the influx of western fashion trends and synthetic fabrics. Today, as more and more people are moving towards homegrown and sustainable textiles, mulmul is being seen in a new light.
It was designer Rohit Bal who put mulmul on the wedding checklist when he showcased his bridal collection in the fabric in 2013. Then early last year, Harper’s Bazaar India’s initiative put mulmul on fashion runways where 8 designers championed it through modern day silhouettes.
Khara Kapas (meaning ‘pure cotton’), is a design studio started by stylist-cum-designer Shilpi Yadav, which creates clean cuts and relaxed silhouettes in pure handloom fabrics and earthy tones. We talked to her about her relationship with the fabric and how you can style it for everyday
Her earliest memory of using mul
My earliest memory of mul has to be of draping my mom’s mul saree in front of the mirror and feeling the soft fabric against my skin. I love the touch and feel of the fabric. Since my dad was in the army, our family travelled and experienced Indian diversity in the true sense. We’ve stayed in the most humid, dry and arid regions of the country and adapted to it by experimenting with fabrics best suited for the climate. My mother is a huge fan of mul and that got passed on to me! When I started my own label, mul was my first fabric choice. I love the simplicity of the fabric, and I was sure that no other fabric could come close to mul when it comes to comfort clothing.
On mul being the ideal fabric for Indian summer
Mul fabric is airy and breathable, a sensual treat for summers, especially in India. It absorbs moisture and stays cool. Its easy-breezy silhouette can be very flattering for Indian women. Mul has an inherent romantic and whimsical quality about it due to its lightness and neutral colour palette in which it is naturally available.
Mul is layering friendly and doesn’t look bulky even with multiple layers. In fact, it adds to the character of an outfit. Drapes and layering work very well with mul giving a dramatic and romantic feel to the whole ensemble.
Classic mule pieces every woman should have
An ivory mul kurta is a must-have in your closet! The versatile piece can be teamed with pants, skirts, culottes or palazzos in bright colors to keep your style quotient high. I think kurtas, both long and short, in mul, are an absolute must-have. Basic mul tops that can be teamed with anything and everything are also a great way to stay cool and trendy.
On updating one’s wardrobe with mul
I think a mul maxi can be the new addition to every woman’s wardrobe. Flowy and relaxed, maxis come in different cuts and styles to flatter the Indian body type. Mul dresses of varying lengths are a good way to beat the heat. Throw in silver accents to complete the look.
Ultra-chic mul culottes teamed with pastel colored blouses or tops are a sure shot way of grabbing eyeballs.
A few styling tips for incorporating mul as workwear. Mul tops in neutral colors that can be teamed with formal trousers or full flared skirts are a great way to beat the heat and keep cool.
Mul calf-length dresses teamed with the right footwear can make a great workwear look. You can also experiment with printed pants in mul for some color and comfort.
On the fabric’s maintenance
If it’s a dyed mul fabric, it is important to dry-clean the garment the first couple of times to let the color settle in. Later, it can be gently hand-washed in cold water with a mild detergent. Always wash and dry the fabric inside out. Keep the fabric away from direct sunlight.
Finally, the one investment piece that every woman should buy from her label is their festive line in mulmul, which is their USP. “We have some beautiful shararas and ghagra sets in mulmul, finished with gota work, that are perfect for summer weddings,” concludes the designer.