Monday, March 7, 2011

Made in India (my first article...)

Available now in India Global. 

How do you describe a sari? It is essentially 6 yards of sheer grace that can be transformed into so many interesting variations. Evolving from its initial purpose of simplicity and practicality, it has become an item that represents timeless elegance, but is more integrally the costume that represents a pan Indian culture, world over. Unfold this iconic garment and its beauty will narrate a story of heritage and culture.

Tying the metaphorical knot of unity, the sari breaks down the hierarchal barriers that exist amongst the different castes, cultures and religions across India. Each sari has a story to tell. Whether it unfolds within the weaves, is depicted through the drape, or embellished in its embroidery. It is perhaps one of the sole objects that despite differences and conflicts, it is unanimously present throughout all the regions of India.  

Despite religion and caste by birth, any true sari lover’s wardrobe would ideally include one form all the different regions of India. Whether it is a luxurious Benaresi silk sari, an opulent gota from Rajasthan, or beautiful chikan from Lucknow, the textures and embroidery boast of a distinct flavour from state to state.

Likewise, so does the art of draping. There are over 100 draping techniques, each which retains the inherit principle of pleating, while leaving the pallu free to experiment with. We often underestimate the intelligence of these techniques to have been created for aesthetic beauty alone. However, the purpose of each stemmed centuries ago from the practical requirements of the average woman who needed to do everything from working to homemaking in an efficient, modest yet distinctly feminine garment.
Conventionally, the most common method is wrapping the sari around the waist, making pleats in the front and draping the palu over the left shoulder. The Maharahstra style totally defies tradition by wrapping the sari between the legs in a sort of lungi fashion. The Gujarati style, also known as the seedha pallu, in a more conservative manner drapes the pallu from the back over the right shoulder. 

For the more fashion savvy wearer, here are some tips to stay stylish this wedding season:

  • Fashionable blouse is as important as the sari. Don’t be shy to try different cuts and prints.
  • Experiment mixing textures: e.g. a pearl blouse with a lace sari.
  •  Play around with contrasting bold prints and bright colours.
  • Accessorise! Work the shape of your sari by adding an ethnic belt to complete the look.

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