Fashion: Creating a Whole New Look for Leggings

Leggings are back—but not the kind that might trigger a bad "Flashdance" flashback. Some Indian brands are using unconventional materials and cuts to reinvent the wardrobe staple. The trend began in 2006 with American Apparel's metallic version, and underwent a cross-cultural revision at Lakmé Fashion Week in Mumbai in October. The talented designer Nikasha remakes the traditional Indian churidhar, tight-fitting ruched trousers, in semi-sheer cotton leggings that add to its sex appeal—especially when it's paired with an updated sleeveless kurta tunic ($252; Salt follows a similar formula with sheer leggings but substitutes a Western-silhouetted, scoop-necked purple silk dress ($62; salt@salttextiles .com). Couturewala makes stretch leggings in metallic gold with a subtle snakeskin print ($270; 91-98-3003-3754). And Priyanka Verma & Ravindra Mohan present skintight black leggings that offer a faint, colorful scattering of neo-paisley sequined embroidery ($122; 91-99-1195-3960). These designers translate their native sensibilities into a style that the rest of the world can understand, extending leggings' life cycle by at least another season.