KARACHI: From what we see of Indian soaps, a suhaagan (married woman) is identified by her three possessions without which she is incomplete. Adorning her hair with vermillion sindoor (powder), sporting a mangalsutra around the neck and dressing in a vibrant sari is a marital trademark for an Indian woman.
Sari, the Indian national dress and emblem of style, is sported by Pakistani women on various occasions ranging from weddings to formal gatherings. And it seems that the blouses are getting trendier; from bustier to off-shoulder, the shifting fashion trends have given extravagance to sari blouses which are heavily adorned with embellishments, ribbons and embroidered laces. Renowned Pakistani designer Umar Sayeed reveals that there are, “1001 ways of draping a sari”. He further adds, “The different style, the elegant look, the magical way of carrying it, all gives one a distinctive idea for wearing a sari. Every woman, no matter what age or shape, will look good in it!”
Giving each blouse a unique look is what matters to Sayeed. He feels that he doesn’t go for to creating capped sleeves on a blouse, but likes to see his clients wearing a blouse with “three-quarter sleeves, with a deep neckline and a low back.”
Many Pakistani women love wearing saris, including publicist Tehmina Khaled, for who wearing saris is a passion. She jubiliantly states that, “I don’t wear shalwaar-kameez anymore to weddings; my wardrobe is filled with saris!” She adds that, “Just as Pakistanis love to be innovative with shalwaar-kameez, Indians love to innovate when it comes to the sari’s blouse.”
Khaled also elucidates that wearing a sari runs in her genes as her mother used to wear the outfit as a young girl in a convent in Bangladesh. Saris are timeless and Khaled adds that, “From the 70’s styled bow which was tied as a knot in the front of the blouse, the fashion trends for 2010-2011 show that the bow has now moved to the back of the blouse.”
Khaled says that she is inspired by young Indian fashion designer and politician Shaina NC, ‘the Queen of Drapes’, who has said that there are over 50 ways of wearing a sari. “She has come up with innovative ways of wearing a sari to make the outfit look traditional, as well as to make it look like a gown with a sexy western feel to it.”
Like Shaina NC, Khaled believes that a well-designed and properly stitched blouse can enhance the overall look of the sari. “A blouse should have prime importance. A simple sari can look extremely elegant and can portray an entirely new look when the blouse is stitched creatively. The entire look of the sari can change with the style of the blouse, which can make a sari traditional, funky or elegant.”
Published in The Express Tribune, August 29th, 2011.