SARI matters SARI matters
Chiffons and georgettes seem to be giving the Kanchipurams a run for their money
Photo: Sandeep Saxena
IF A list were to be compiled of the things that have withstood the test of time and fashion, the sari, five-and-a-half metres of flowing fabric, would definitely feature on the list. Pronounced the most graceful outfit for a woman, the sari has endured because it lends itself to innovation and re-invention. After all, there are five-and-a-half metres of fabric to experiment. The new avatar of the sari far is glitzier and definitely more glamorous. If in the past, the only formal events on the social calendar of women were weddings, today they have extended to other events that qualify as casual, semi-formal, formal and then `the occasions.' And there is a sari for each of these occasions.
Walk into the sari section of a shop like Parthas, and you will find customers making a beeline for counters that stock embroidered georgettes and chiffons. Says a shop assistant: "Women prefer these saris to the heavier ones. These are dressy, glamorous and much lighter."
Chiffons, georgettes and crepes have taken the place of the heavier Kanchipuram saris even where formal wear is concerned.
What is in
"These saris lend themselves to innovation, be it different kinds of embroideries or use of stones, crystals or sequins. Where a Kanchipuram sari is concerned, you can only do so much," says Sheela James of Czarina.
Sheela says that chiffon, georgette and crepe saris with jaal embroidery, badla, antique work, mokaish, zardozi embellished with crystals, kundan sequins and stones are a rage. Besides the softer silks, tissue saris are also popular. Kanchipuram saris that have various kinds of work on them and are embellished with embroidery are available. These, however, are not as popular as the lighter silks. The colours too are different. Chiffons and georgettes come in more hues and look brighter too.
The preference for lighter silks extends to bridal wear as well. If in the past, a bride's trousseau comprised only of Kanchipuram saris, today elaborately embroidered chiffons, georgettes and crepes dominate.
The brides that opt for Kanchipuram saris embellish it with embroidery and crystals.
"The problem is that if you buy a heavy silk sari, you can wear it only on rare occasions. However, if you buy a lighter silk sari, you can wear it often. It makes sense if you look at the economics of it as well. You can get a gorgeous chiffon sari at half the price of a Kanchipuram sari," says Sudha Suresh of Ashima.
Accent on exclusivity
Says Sheela James: "When I started out 20 years ago, my clients came to me asking for saris that were replicas of what other people wore. Today it is just the opposite. The accent is on exclusivity and that is where these saris score; you will not find two similar looking saris."
But not if it is one worn by a film star or an actor in one of the many saas-bahu sagas on television.
"I have clients who come to me specifically for a sari like the one worn by an actress to an award function or worn by an actress on Sony or Star Plus," says Sudha Suresh.
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