Originating from Lahore, Pakistan and dating back to the Mughan Era, the Anarkali is an elegant 3 piece suit made up of a long, frock-style top, a slim-fitted bottom that is usually covered by the top, and a dupatta.
Anarkali suits owe their name to the fictional courtesan, Anarkali, a courtesan of the court of the Mughal Emperor Akbar, who had an illicit relationship with his son. According to legend, Salim, the son of the great Mughal emperor Akbar and who later became Emperor Jahangir, fell in love with a beautiful courtesan as a young prince. Anarkali, whose title means “pomegranate blossom” (a title bestowed for her beauty) was famed for her dancing skills as well as her great beauty. It is believed that her original name was Nadira or Sharf-un-Nisa. She was supposedly buried alive between two walls by the Mughal emperor Akbar for having the illicit relationship. Today, you can find the possible tomb of Anarkali in Lahore.
While this story has enamored historians and lay people, the Anarkali dress lives on.
Below are some styles of the Anarkali in different fabrics to show you how elegant these gowns can be.