Those five yards of fabric have come a long way from being a daily wear for our grandmothers to making a stunning statement at the red carpets. Sapna Sarfare probes into the world of saris to know how to experiment with drapes like your favourite celebrities
Dictionary has several adjectives, but all fail when a woman walks down the street wearing a stunning sari. A beautiful woman in a gorgeous drape makes any man just go weak in the knees. And this humble sari is currently getting an international makeover. While actresses like Sonam Kapoor, Deepika Padukone, Vidya Balan, Kangana Ranaut and Aishwarya Rai brought saris to the red carpet, Indian women have been flaunting this attire for ages.
Designer Purva Pardeshi feels the humble sari is no more traditional with celebs wearing them frequently, but also playing with different fabrics. “One of my personal new favourites is digital print saris which looks resplendent without being OTT. As for styles and drapes, I stick to traditional.” Designer Rashi Kapoor agrees on this global recognition. “Sari’s evolution has made it easier, accessible and earns the hassle-free tag. In terms of print, polka dot has always been a rage for its quirky feel. Geometrical and florals have always been adored.” But designer Rinku Sobti senses that saris have come under the Western shadow resulting in reduced demand. “However, on the global front, women have been trying the drape. Hermès has made sari designs loosely inspired by Indian hues and themes. Designers now have started experimenting with the drapes; the prints more.”
Open any newspaper and notice actresses becoming forerunners in this trend. Rinku credits them for creating and promoting the sari fashion statement on various platforms. “What Sonam wore at Cannes or anything ethnic like nath at any International platform is a great step in itself. Carrying outfits that create a buzz is a must-try for anyone who follows fashion.” Purva too applauds Sonam for carrying off the t-shirt sari look with élan. “Recently she was spotted wearing the latest Masaba denim sari and it looked ravishing, yet wearable. Deepika never seems to disappoint in a sari. These actresses wear the saris in such a way that each one feels like doing the same and creating a different look, right from traditional to daily wear.”
Ethnic goes contemporary
“Saris are being worn with contrast colour blouses in simple fabrics, clean cut blouses, jackets, long jackets and kotis. They are being worn and draped in different styles with trousers, skirts and all different bottoms. Stitched and concept saris are also been made from these traditional saris, ready to wear and easy to drape and wear for any occasions,” says Purva. Saris, in Rinku’s words, come with the baggage of tradition. “But experiments have been done with the motifs and mixing and matching. Woman have also been trying different drapes and styles like Gujarati, Bengali, Mumtaz-style draped sari, Maharashtrian, mermaid or Rajrani or Pant style.”
Change is constant
Now recognise styles for different occasions. Rashi suggests, “While day time, team it with sneakers and a tee, adding some quirky daily look. One can also adopt the marathon way of draping sari for easier movement and fashion quotient. For formal occasions, team them with short and long embroidered jackets to camouflages bulges but retains elegance. We have teamed saris with crop tops and lace pants which have also been loved.”
Rinku states the truth that Indian women just admire the sass of saris. “For daily wear, drape the nivi style or seedha pallu (Gujarati style) or an open pallu style sari. For semi formal to formal gatherings, experiment with pant style or half sari or nivi style pleated very neatly would do a great justice.” She suggests Coorgi style to look trendy at weddings.
Purva considers two defining points for saris suitable for day wear. “First, they are light in colour and secondly, should preferably be cotton. For regular office, it is important to be neat. Printed silk and chiffon is the best choice.”
Purva’s suggestion for a stylish twist to old saris is getting trendy blouses stitched like the thigh-long front-slit blouses. “For some glam, get an embellished one. Or add ruffles to the hem of your long slit blouse. Statement pleats in a different and contrasting colour are seen in so many designer collections! Long sleeved blouses are a growing trend. Embroidery, lace, tulle and motifs on blouses sleeves really look beautiful paired with simple saris. Long trains on designer saris always look catchy at parties and weddings. For a simpler style, a subtle border is very graceful.
Be it a single-colour or foil printed georgette sari, subtle embellished borders make the latest saris all glam. Casual geometrical prints on chiffon or georgette saris make a stylish fashion statement. The best option to add oomph is to add some fringes and tassels at the end of the pallu or the whole border. Statement blouses with plain georgette, embroidered or Chanderi silk fabrics look really cool.” Her favourite is the dhoti style for traditional events, belted for a trendy party and androgynous sari pants style for formal events.
Rashi suggests pre-pleated saris with jackets for a Boho look. Rinku feels post 2010, sari has got a face lift. “With trends, one should have that confidence and sass to carry these neoteric styles.”
Not a task!
Rashi feels ladies now know how to have fun with clothes. “Embracing saris has brought about a revolution for the younger generation. Not only does it gives them a whiff of their tradition, but also allows adequate space to experiment. The results are stunning, innovative and age appropriate.”
Rinku reminds us of our moms draping saris. “It is every girl’s wish to drape a sari when she grows up. Sari is something which has been going on for generations and till date it fascinates us.”