Yards of delight
A mix of tradition and modernity. That's the new-age saree for you, writes K. JESHI.
THE SAREE has often been described as one of the most exquisite and elegant garments to have adorned the Indian woman. Who can forget Mrs. Indira Gandhi's smart silk sarees, which complemented her dynamic personality and created a flutter at home and abroad?
This ubiquitous five-and-a-half-meter flowing garment has flummoxed some and left many an uninitiated wearer exasperated by the intricacy that goes into the styles of draping it.
History has it that Raja Ravi Varma, the distinguished 19th century painter, toured the entire sub-continent in search of the ideal female-wear. He wanted to clothe the various goddesses he had been commissioned to paint in the best attire. His choice was the yard saree and most of the goddesses he painted sport the saree.
However, the wardrobe of working women has changed beyond recognition now. Depending on where you work, you can find jeans and a plunge-neck top, a fashionably cut salwar-kameez or trendy denims. But, the saree still has its place in the wardrobe. In spite of the new dress code in the realm of fashion, the traditional saree holds its place.
"There is a shift in taste when it comes to choice of sarees. Earlier, durability and longevity were given importance and the choice was heavy silk. What matters now is the comfort factor, variety and affordability," Radhika Prithivi, Director of Tharakaram Silk House, says.
Most youngsters settle for wearable designs in light crepe silk or chiffon that fall well on the wearer. But, is it still an occasional buy? "Not necessarily. Youngsters just drop in any time and select from the exhaustive variety of dupion, tussar, Gadwals (pure cotton with silk border and pallu) and Patolas. The range begins at Rs.150 and goes up to Rs.50, 000," B. Ashok, Proprietor of Mahaveers, says.
And, the colour choices? The lightest purples, the coolest mauves, the trendiest lemons, appealing pastels and the softest damask rose.
"The passion for sarees is always there. Though youngsters prefer salwar kameez or jeans for their regular wear, they want to indulge in sarees once in a way to treat themselves," Radhika adds.
Yards of woven wonder and splendour - these are the epithets used for the saree, which has over the years emerged as a style statement. Sarees (original - Chira in Sanskrit, cloth) come in varied lengths. The traditional attire can turn into a working dress or party wear based on the drape.
Indo-Western patterns are created using embroidery and hand painting on georgette, Italian crepe and chiffon to bring about that element of newness. But, how welcome are fusion sarees? While one category wants to explore genuine, but expensive georgette, crepes and chiffons, the other category wants to go in for something that would look good and is also inexpensive. "Youngsters come under the second category and they like to select from synthetic sarees, lazer georgettes, art chiffon and French crepe," Radhika adds.
They want to redefine the conventional look with a fashionable fusion. Say, of Kancheepuram and Benarasi silk. "Designer sarees with heavy embellishments like bead work and sequin work is their pick and they are willing to spend from Rs. 1, 000 onwards," Vinita Saraogi, Director of Vinitas Xclusive Bridal Collection, says. A combination of zardosi work, mughlai work and thread work in vibrant blues, magentas, orange and maroon also move fast.
If you're fond of `The Drape' but bored of wearing traditional patterns, try something new and get prepared for the compliments.
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