We have always felt that our designers have a more developed aesthetic and an increasingly multi-dimensional approach to cut and craft, but when it comes to the sari, we have a lot to learn from our neighbours.
If you thought the sari was still simply a traditional silhouette, prepare yourself to be amazed by the twists and spins inserted into this timeless classic style by the new age of Indian designers. They showcased at Lakmê India and at Wills Lifestyle India Fashion Weeks, held back-to-back this month. The diversity of cultures and ethnicities that make up the sub-continent gave way to a surge of innovative techniques, some of which we quite admire.
Let’s start with the classic Indian Banarasi sari. Gaurang Shah’s shiny black-and-gold brocade with the reverse pallu was a sensational showstopper worn by Bollywood actor Chitrangada Singh. The designer used only traditional elements yet managed to infuse a current feel to the finished product.
Yogesh Chaudhry, Vikram Phadnis, Anushka Khanna
Ever think of pairing your sari with a belt, furthermore an obi belt? After seeing the works of Anushka Khanna, Yogesh Chaudhry and Vikram Phadnis, we are quite in favour of the style. There is no outfit that the right belt can’t improve upon.
Ashdeen, Shruti Sancheti, Dev R Nil
To package an intellectual look, sari designers like Aarti Vijay Gupta, Shruti Sancheti and Ashdeen, successfully paired the drape with various versions of a full-sleeved jacket instead of the standard blouse.
Tarun Tahiliani, Aarti Vijay Gupta, Akaaro by Gaurav Jai Gupta
The result was sleek, crisp, and sophisticated. Akaaro by Gaurav Jai Gupta incorporated a waistcoat layer while Tarun Tahiliani and Dev R Nil used an open bolero for a younger working woman look. The pallu twirled back around the neck like a scarf was a stroke of genius.
Sougat Paul, Shivan and Narresh, Kiran Uttam Ghosh
We first fell in love with the short dhoti version of the sari when we saw Masaba Gupta design it for Sonam Kapoor. The trend has caught on and there were newer exciting versions of the cut displayed by Sougat Paul’s Soup, whose tangerine pleated skirt and belted sea green top version without the pallu brought new meaning to the phrase sari. Kiran Uttam Ghosh combined the belt and the short sari over a fitted skirt, while Shivan and Narresh gave birth to the modest bikini sari that could be the new ‘LBD’. Tarun Tahiliani innovatively draped an overlapping traditional chunri sari over dhoti style pants with the bolero jacket for a complete authentic Indian fusion look.
Farah & Firdos
Long blouses are a trend to keep, not just for an edgy twist but also for classic formals, as demonstrated by Farah & Firdos with a gorgeous emerald and gold maple leaf brocade lehnga style sari with a cropped midriff one-shoulder blouse.
Debarun, Agnimitra Paul, Naeem Khan, Farah & Firdos, Agnimitra Paul
There were some intricately complicated statement twists, handkerchief drapes, and scarf knots by designers Agnimitra Paul, Farah & Firdos, Be You by Debarun, and our personal favourite, Naeem Khan. These worked beautifully with the graphic prints that adorned them. If these styles could be stitched as ready-to-wear, we would love to see them reproduced at home.
Masaba Gupta for Satya Paul, Tarun Tahiliani
Masaba Gupta introduced suspenders to the sari drape using layered palazzo pants for Satya Paul, keeping true to her quirky style. At the Lakme off-site show, Tarun Tahiliani worked with a white Roman de-constructed goddess-like draped sari held in place with a chunky ethnic belt.
Now you can safely say that a sari befits any occasion, from a wild weekend party to a quintessential wedding!
Published in The Express Tribune, March 30th, 2013.
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