With Bollywood and international stars gracing the red carpet in saris, take a look at its evolution and transition

With Bollywood and international stars gracing the red carpet in saris, take a look at its evolution and transition

We recently witnessed International fashion icons like Gigi Hadid and Zendaya break the internet when they walked the red carpet of the 2023 Nita Mukesh Ambani Cultural Centre (NMACC) gala that took place recently in Mumbai

NiveditaUpdated: Saturday, May 06, 2023, 08:34 PM IST
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“The West is waking up to the sari and the party has just started,” actor Tisca Chopra says, when asked how the sari is having its moment in the current fashion age with many international stars flaunting this six-yard wonder with panache. “I feel like India is having a moment. From RRR winning at the Oscars to the NMACC opening in Mumbai, to the Dior show, the sari in all its avatars is versatility personified. It can be modest or sexy or both at the same time,” she rightly says.

We recently witnessed International fashion icons like Gigi Hadid and Zendaya break the internet when they walked the red carpet of the 2023 Nita Mukesh Ambani Cultural Centre (NMACC) gala that took place recently in Mumbai. Especially flown in for the event, Gigi wore a Chikankari sari and a jewelled blouse designed by master Indian couturiers Abu Jani and Sandeep Khosla. While Zendaya stunned in a custom sari designed by Rahul Mishra.

Pic: AFP

Hadid’s sari, with a thigh-high slit on the side, was decked in intricate floral pattern embroidery, shimmering sequins, and broad golden patti borders decorated with taar, sequin, and bead embellishments. She styled the pre-draped ensemble with a jewelled blouse featuring gilded shoulders and a plunging neckline. Soon after their appearances, Gigi took to social media to praise the two designers for bestowing her with the honour of wearing the beauteous creation. She also gave credit to the women artisans who worked on the look.

On the other hand, Zendaya’s custom Rahul Mishra design was inspired by a look from his ‘Cosmos’ collection, which featured a sari with hand embroidery throughout (down to the bralette top comprised of 3D gold birds stitched together). The deep marine blue sari was the highlight of the day and Zendaya stole the show and hearts of her 174 million followers.

In the past, International celebrities like Pamela Anderson, Naomi Campbell, Paris Hilton, and Madonna have showed their love for this six-yard wonder as well.

Pic: Varinder Chawla

Acclaimed Indian designer Rina Dhaka, who designed one of the saris looks for Naomi Campbell, says the sari is not from today. “I have gone on to make many variations of it in my early work. From a stretched sari to some of the things which you see today as normal were not considered wearable then including the velvet saris and how the Kashmiris have made their own pashminas and Shahtush saris in the early works. So, yes, today’s fashion has so many inferences from the sari itself. From the dhoti skirt to the pant sari to the slit sari to gown saris, there are 100 new variations and versions of it and they are being worn as shown by the designers,” she explains.

Internationally, the sari had been part of costumes which has fascinated worldwide designers all over the world, Dhaka says. “This was also a source of perennial influence and how they have used it with the centre front pleats, the use of pallus has become a trend. Whether it is a mini skirt or a flowy long palla, everything about sari has become a kind of new trend and I think it will stay in the times to come.”

Nikhil Mehra, the CFO and Co-founder of designer brand Shantanu & Nikhil, too believes that India’s signature fashion statement has always been synonymous with the fluidity of drape in our ensembles.

“It has been calculated in various forms like a sari or dhoti and almost every culture has its own rendition of it. Over the years with the border sensibilities, the sari evolved into more contemporary silhouettes, whilst keeping the touch of heritage alive. As a brand, we, at Shantanu & Nikhil, have been known for our classic drape silhouette/ and have given the sari our own twist. Today, we take pride in our signature sari gown, which has the sensibilities of the iconic drape amalgamated with a dash of modernity,” Mehra shares.

Not just international celebrities, but even Indian stars are leaving no stone unturned to promote this six-yard wonder with utmost glory on the global red carpet. Ram Charan’s wife Upasana (Kamineni), who attended the Oscar presentations to support and cheer team RRR, was elegantly attired in a sustainable customised ivory silk sari. It was made using hand-woven silk, of spun fabric, created from recycled scraps by Hyderabad-based designer, Jayanti Reddy.

Filmmaker Guneet Monga, who bagged the Oscar for Best Documentary Short Subject for the film, The Elephant Whisperers, also made heads turn with her sartorial choice for the evening. Her pink Benarasi silk sari looked great while receiving the prestigious award. “Saris are so deeply rooted in Indian heritage that it was an obvious choice for me to wear them and represent India on a global stage. It was no brainier for me to choose sari as the medium to also carry a symbolic hint of elephants at the Oscars. I was proud to wear it! It is great to see that so many people wear saris on red carpets now,” she says.

Divya Dutta, a sari lover who often opts for the drape at international award functions including Cannes, takes pride in everyone who wears a sari — be it a national or international.

“During my growing up years, I saw women around me wear saris. I would always tell my mother that I love to see her in saris and I especially dress her up in those. I still wear my mother’s and nani’s saris. I think it’s one of the most complete dresses,” she says.

She also loves the fact that all over the world, people are experimenting with sari and drapes. “I am experimenting a lot and I wonder how many different ways you can drape a sari. I think the six-yard is weaving its magic all over the world with different kinds of blouses. I love experimenting with it more and I am glad and proud that it is worn all over the world with equal fervour,” concludes Divya.

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